The Films of 2018


Obviously, this review is a little late.  I could say many things about that.  There’s something like 66 reviews in here for the movies I saw in 2018, so obviously that takes a while.  But then again, I’ve probably delivered more reviews on time before.  Maybe it’s because there were movies that I still wanted to see and I was catching up on them right up until the day before I’m posting this, but that’s not true either.  It’s probably mostly video games and procrastination.  But let’s not live in the past, shall we?  And let’s not delay any further!  Let’s get to my review of all the movies of 2018

 

JANUARY

INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY

Strangely, I would say that I enjoyed Insidious: The Last Key.  I say that this is strange because I recently picked it up from RedBox and a ways into the movie I realized I had already seen it and completely forgot.  I also couldn’t remember where it sits in the timeline of the other movies because I also couldn’t remember most of them.  It seems I can come to the conclusion with them that they’re fun in the moment, but ultimately forgettable.  It’s probably a bit unreasonable on my part to expect logic out of a ghost movie, but this movie has a couple of notable lapses.  Such as the fact that the psychic lady claims she will never forget the look on her mother’s face when she died…even though we saw it and she was possessed at the time AND facing in the opposite direction.  Also, what is the point of the psychic lady when she isn’t able to see what the two regular nerdy dudes in the truck can see with just a camera?  Lin Shaye is a good actress though; she just isn’t always given a lot to work with.    But the movie is a fun enough time; it’s just not much more than that

 

THE COMMUTER

The Commuter is probably exactly what you imagine it to be.  Assuming you even paid attention to it long enough to imagine anything about it.  And those people are right as well.  It’s completely forgettable, entirely skippable, but if you see it, it’s fine.  It’s nothing special, but it gets the job done, and is enough fun along the way.  It’s got some twists and turns, many of them pretty obvious, a few of them less so.  The action is decent enough for a fun time rental though, and you could do much worse.

 

FEBRUARY

WINCHESTER

I believe I opened my review of Winchester by calling it “boring and underwhelming.”  I’m sticking with that.  And since I did a video review of this movie, I’ll probably just link you to that and not waste too much time but to say it was boring, it was not scary, the performances were lackluster, and a lot of it didn’t even bother to stick to its own mythology, like how ghosts were locked in their rooms with 13 nails but they could just push those out if they felt like it.  Also, the main character tries to fight ghosts with a hammer.  And also the logic of the ghosts for why they’re haunting these people was completely ridiculous.  You made the gun, so I hate you.  Not the person that fired the gun or the people that made my inferior gun, nor the politicians controlling the war you were killed in.  Just the manufacturers.  Don’t bother with this movie.

 

THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX

The Cloverfield Paradox was fairly beaten up by the critics.  Having been a fan of the previous 2 Cloverfield movies, what I had heard of this one kept me from bothering to watch it even though it was available to stream on a service I was already paying for.  Well I eventually got around to it and I’ve decided that they were a bit harsh.  It is the worst Cloverfield movie so far, sure, but it’s perfectly enjoyable.  I would say that as a Cloverfield movie, it’s more satisfying than 10 Cloverfield Lane just because it actually feels like it has something to do with the Cloverfield monster whereas the other movie only had it as a backdrop at the very end.  Lane was a much better movie, but at least this has something to do with the series.  It’s also exciting enough as a sci-fi movie in general to be worth the watch.

 

FIFTY SHADES FREED

I think a Fifty Shades movie has bottomed out my list for the last 3 years.  Well the writer never got better.  It also seems that she has short-term memory problems, which is why every problem seems like it needs to be resolved in the scene in which it originated.  And then sex happens, like it’s the blank page between chapters.  Which is how I imagine it was written.  Someone is following us?  Lose them 2 minutes later…then sex in the car.  Have an argument?  Well, you’ll get over it.  And then we’ll have sex.  Hey!  We found your birth mother’s grave!  Let stand in the rain over it for a bit, go home, and then obviously sex.  And that’s how we’ll end our movie!  Like the scenes added anything or had any point!  But you know what I think the worst thing is about the Fifty Shades?  Worse than the horrible writing and lackluster acting?  That these movies actually make me bored of sex.

 

PETER RABBIT

I confess that I watched Peter Rabbit fully expecting to be adding to my worst movies list, so I was extremely disappointed to find that it was actually fairly pleasant.  How awful, right?  Well this jerk of a movie had the gall to be a solid kid’s movie.  It’s cute, fairly well-acted, has a great cast, and was even fairly funny.  It’s not a movie I would recommend for an adult to just watch on their own, but I think adults will have a good enough time watching it with their kids.

 

BLACK PANTHER

I enjoyed Black Panther a great deal, but it felt like it didn’t resonate with me quite as much as it did with the critics.  It had great action and a fantastic cast, and actually added social commentary to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which I don’t think I was ever expecting.  And all of those are great and wonderful things, but the general story of the movie just felt a little cookie cutter to me.  It just felt like a fairly basic origin story, even though technically he was already Black Panther, but he gets his powers taken away so he can REorigin story.  So great movie, progressive movie; all of these things are true.  But it’s not the best Marvel movie ever.  Hell, it’s not even the best one this year.

 

GAME NIGHT

Game Night was a fairly basic comedy, but it was an enjoyable experience.  It’s an interesting premise for a movie and a story with some nice twists and an excellent cast to elevate it.  More importantly than that, it’s a comedy and I laughed a couple times watching it, and that’s what’s supposed to happen.  A solid watch when all was said and done.

 

ANNIHILATION

Annihilation was pretty much what I expected based on the commercials.  It looked really pretty, but slightly less pretty than Natalie Portman.  …And that was about all I expected.  But there was a little more to it than that.  It was also pretty smart, or at least I assume it was because I don’t feel like I actually understood what the movie was all about, but I did feel like I enjoyed it anyway.  Comprehension is overrated anyway.  You could also say it’s very empowering to women because the group of scientists that went in were all ladies, but then again the first thing they did when one of them was attacked by a creature was put their guns down on the floor and run over to wrestle the attacked woman away from a giant alligator with their hands.  But it did have very interesting visuals and some very awful creatures, like that beast that could imitate human screams.  That was a nightmare.

 

MARCH

RED SPARROW

Most people seemed to expect a lot out of Red Sparrow.  I suppose I did too.  Jennifer Lawrence as a badass spy?  How could you go wrong?  Well, I don’t know that I’d go as far as to say they went “wrong”, per se, but they didn’t go right.  They went towards sexy spy thriller, and I guess they pulled off sexy in so much as they cast Jennifer Lawrence and she got naked.  As a guy, I would say that counts.  Other than that, the story had some twists and turns I didn’t see coming and then it was a lot of Jennifer Lawrence getting her ass beat.  So if you’re into that sort of thing…

 

DEATH WISH

Death Wish was a fine action movie that I have almost entirely forgotten already.  I assume that means it was great.  It was a pretty basic action movie with some cool kills occasionally, but the only real surprise in the movie is that Vincent D’Onofrio didn’t turn out to be the bad guy.  That guy is either always the bad guy or turns out to be the bad guy.

 

A WRINKLE IN TIME

I had no idea what was happening at most points of this movie.  What was it about?  Why was Oprah gigantic and poorly rendered?  Why do they keep calling this little boy by his full name every single time they talk to him or refer to him?  Why are these kids so excited by riding on the back of dragon Reese Witherspoon that their first thought is that they should jump up and down until one plummets to their death?  Why do I do this to myself?  Well I do it for you, readers and watchers.  This is all your fault!  I don’t want to totally crap all over this movie, so I will say that it was fairly visually impressive, but that was about all it had going for it.

 

THE HURRICANE HEIST

I was aware of Hurricane Heist but it felt like one of those Asylum ripoff movies like Atlantic Rim or Transmorphers.  It wasn’t quite that bad though, but it was equally as pointless.  If you want to know what the movie is, know that it’s a meteorologist fighting bank robbers with hurricane-propelled hubcaps.  …That is not a joke.  And that one sentence will probably tell you everything you need to know to make an assumption about the movie.  But it’s kind of fun in its silliness and it’s graphics were better than an Asylum movie (if you can forgive them putting a skull in the hurricane, just to let the audience know it’s bad) and the worst part of the movie is the main character’s accent.  I don’t know if it was real or fake, but it got on my nerves

 

TOMB RAIDER

I was a bit surprised by the reception for the new Tomb Raider movie.  Video game movies in general tend to take a beating.  Their stories don’t tend to be impressive to film critics and fans of the games are usually let down that they weren’t able to compress 60 hours of gameplay into a 2 hour movie that fulfills their expectations.  I thought the new Tomb Raider did pretty well.  It felt like they turned the first Tomb Raider reboot game into a movie pretty accurately, sometimes even feeling like they took scenes straight out of the game for the movie.  It was the more grounded Lara Croft I enjoyed in the reboot games and Alicia Vikander was perfect for the role.  It wasn’t the best movie, but it was certainly the best Tomb Raider movie, and I guess I hoped it’d do better because I hope they make another one with Vikander.  Time will tell, I suppose.

 

PACIFIC RIM UPRISING

Pacific Rim was pretty cool.  I guess we should make another one.  Uprising does it’s best to recapture a bit of what Pacific Rim had, but it just felt like a bit of a rehash.  It wasn’t anything new and wasn’t as fun as its predecessor, but you could do much worse.  If you wanted a little bit more from Pacific Rim…well, I’d probably actually recommend you just rewatch the first one because it does most things much better.  But you could also watch the sequel instead.

 

READY PLAYER ONE

I have only vague memories of Ready Player One and I can’t find my notes about it.  Also, I own the movie but can’t inspire myself to watch it again as a refresher.  That probably doesn’t bode well for the movie.  But I did buy it, so who knows?  What I can say I remember was that the story wasn’t terribly thrilling, but at least it had some good visuals and some fun ideas in it, and of course I was most likely the target audience with how many movie, video game, and pop culture references they try to cram into the movie.  But in the end it felt more like they were trying to yell, “HEY KIDS!  Remember these awesome things?!  Well we’re awesome too, right?!  You’ll remember us together forever!”  …But no, not really.  Back to the Future is awesome; you just have a DeLorean.  It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t have a lot of substance.  I’d say it’s a nice popcorn flick to shut your brain off to and watch all the pretty colors.  HEY!  Is that Chucky!?

 

APRIL

A QUIET PLACE

I was very impressed with A Quiet Place.  At first I heard that Jim from The Office was making a horror movie with his wife and felt pretty skeptical about how that would turn out.  I finally relented to it when it reached Redbox.  I already felt pretty confident in Krasinski and Blunt as actors, but how would Krasinski do as also a writer and director.  Turns out pretty damned well.  The story is well enough, but the actual good stuff in this movie comes with how it’s made.  They do so well with the sound design in the movie that it’s actually very jarring when something makes a sound in the movie, which makes you feel like the people in the movie.  Both of us REALLY want it to be quiet.  Probably the people in the movie a little more than the viewer.  The stakes for us is being startled, but they get eaten.  I took very few negative thoughts away from this movie.  One was a fairly common one with me that I feel that in the movie (as I tend to feel in life in general) that the adults would be so much better off without the kids.  The other one is on the parents because if you live in a world where you can’t make a single sound without risking horrible death, then you need to use a condom, master the pull out, or freaking abstain from sex so you don’t go knocking up your lady.  Kids are problem enough, but no way are you keeping things perfectly silent through both childbirth and infancy with that thing.  Keep it in your pants!

 

BLOCKERS

Blockers is a perfectly solid comedy.  It spends the majority of its time being extremely immature, having most of its jokes revolving around dicks, poop, vomit, and the like.  But later in the movie it does show that it has a bit of a brain in how it deals with the issue of why it always seems to be the case that parents are so vehement that their kids not do exactly what most of them did when it comes to exploring their sexuality.  Sadly, I probably side too much with the parents though, and I occasionally found it uncomfortable to watch what at least we were supposed to believe were high school girls talking about gettin’ some dick.  All three of the main parents held up their ends of the bargain in the movie though, but I was particularly interested in Geraldine Viswanathan, who played John Cena’s daughter.  I felt she was the funniest one in the movie.  Solid movie, though.

 

RAMPAGE

As I mentioned with Tomb Raider, bringing the story of a video game into a movie is a tricky thing.  But what do you do if that game really has not story?  As best I can recall, the closest thing to a story the Rampage games ever had was that giant monsters like to punch buildings until they fall down, go boom.  So I guess Rampage the movie captured that perfectly.  That’s about what the story was here too.  Also, the Rock’s there, which more often than not is a plus as far as I’m concerned.  I’m also not one to act like I’m in any way above a nice, brainless blockbuster.  Rampage is plenty fun enough as a mindless way to kill 2 hours and a tub of popcorn.

 

TRUTH OR DARE

I’m struggling to remember much of anything about Truth or Dare.  I saw it a while ago and feel like I just thought it was fine.  The idea of a deadly, paranormally enhanced game of Truth or Dare is interesting enough, if not just a bit silly of a premise that somehow demons just love playing this game so much but they wanna spice it up with some killing.  It also makes me wonder if the porn version of this movie is a haunted game of Fuck, Marry, Kill.  But all things considered, it was fairly well done.  The possessed faces walked a very fine line between spooky and goofy and laughable, but it didn’t take that much away from things.

 

I FEEL PRETTY

I enjoy Amy Schumer most of the time and I was quite fond of Trainwreck, but I Feel Pretty didn’t do much for me.  It just seemed ridiculous in a lot of places, even if you ignore the premise of the movie that comes straight from almost every cartoon from my childhood.  You know the one.  Character gets some head trauma and completely changes their personality until they get hit again and revert, occasionally learning a lesson about themselves.  But beyond that, maybe I’m blessed to have just not encountered it myself, but a lot of the people seemed a little too blatant about their feelings about slightly bigger people, especially in their place of work.  People would loudly ask their coworker in the back if they have plus sizes and, without asking, retail employees would approach people and let them know that bigger sizes are online.  Maybe it happens, but those people probably don’t have jobs there very long.  I also wondered how successful guys are flirting with models while being complete shits to the bigger gal they are talking with.  I would guess not very.  But pretty much all of the main cast of this movie is good and likeable, and the movie has a good message about liking yourself, but if you’re going to be ridiculous you could at least use it to be funny, and this movie wasn’t funny enough.

 

SUPER TROOPERS 2

I really enjoyed the first Super Troopers movie and was tentatively hopeful when I heard they were making a second one.  I was let down.  I’m not sure what exactly it was that disappointed me though.  The jokes felt roughly similar to the first one, so was the problem that I’ve seen too many of their jokes before, or was it that I’ve matured past the point of enjoying this in the more than a decade that separated the two movies while the Broken Lizard crew has not?  I don’t know, but I do know that Super Troopers 2 wasn’t really my cup of tea.

 

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR

I absolutely loved Infinity War; I saw it multiple times in the theaters, and then I watched it numerous times later on at home.  I kind of wanna watch it again right now!  Infinity War is so damned impressive in how well the Russo’s were able to juggle not only the numerous stars that all deserved at least a piece of a storyline, but also the multiple storylines themselves.  It never felt like it was too much or that any character didn’t get enough to do, and the movie always felt like it was moving forward and never really felt like it was in a lull.  And of course, there’s the ending, which frankly blew my mind and left me speechless for a while after the movie.  The characters were all as great as they always were, with Thanos being the standout.  He was awesome and also had very clear purpose that you could almost understand in a twisted way.  It makes sense what he’s trying to do, even if no one wants to be the one to pull the trigger.  And the CG was so good on him that, along with Brolin’s performance capture, you could be forgiven for forgetting he wasn’t really there.  There were only two issues I can remember leaving this moment with.  The first being how resentful the movie left me to Peter Quill for the most boneheaded lack of forethought ever.  I get it: he was in a bad place, but you also ruined EVERYTHING and accomplished nothing by doing it.  The second problem is a problem I’m still dealing with to this day, almost a year after its release: That I’ve had to wait this long (and longer still) for the conclusion!  Ant-Man didn’t give me enough to keep me going!  But if you’re going to have a problem with a movie, this is probably the one they want you to have.

 

MAY

DEADPOOL 2

Deadpool 2 suffered slightly from the high bar set by its predecessor.  The first one was so funny and surprising and good, but this one wasn’t going to be able to be as surprising because the first one happened already.  It also wanted to make a lot of jokes referencing jokes from the first movie, but they didn’t feel as funny because we had seen them before.  But they certainly had their share of new stuff: they had a pretty good story, they had Ryan Reynolds in all his glory, and they added Josh Brolin and Zazie Beetz, who were both fantastic.  The only other issues I took with the movie was what happened with some other new characters in X-Factor who, shall we say, didn’t get much screen time, and also with what happened at the end of the movie which essentially wiped out the entire plot advancement of the movie.

I feel like I should also add that (upon my mother’s recommendation) I watched Once Upon a Deadpool, the PG-13 recut of the movie.  I would not have considered watching this under normal circumstances.  I saw the full version, why would I watch the one where someone went in and poorly replaced the F-word with “funk?”  But this was so much more than that.  I gotta say: this may be the version to watch.  I don’t think you’re missing too much, and this version just adds a bunch of stuff.  It felt faster paced than the original, probably because they had to cut out chunks of scenes of people sitting around making dick jokes, and they added a bunch of great new jokes making fun of the fact that they went PG-13.  And the stuff with Fred Savage was killer.  “Marvel licensed by Fox is like the Beatles produced by Nickelback?”  Brilliant.  If you enjoyed Deadpool, don’t skip out on this version thinking they took out all the goods.  They probably added more good stuff than they removed.

 

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY

Solo was … fine.  That sounds okay, but as a Star Wars fan, I’m automatically predisposed to give a Star Wars movie the benefit of the doubt and knock it up a few points for just being Star Wars related, so I wonder what that means about the movie itself.  And in a situation like this, it’s also possible that the movie could suffer from my fandom since it wasn’t the same people I was a fan of.  And there were no lightsabers that I can recall.  But the movie didn’t really add or subtract anything from the series for me.  I didn’t hate it, but I could’ve done without it.  At least the cast was all pretty good.  I was happy with Donald Glover, and Alden Ehrenreich did about as well as he could, but he wasn’t Harrison Ford.  Overall, Solo sits in the hierarchy about where it sits in the chronology; just above the prequels, but behind most everything else.

 

JUNE

UPGRADE

Upgrade was better that it had any right to be.  I expected that I’d enjoy it because I enjoy dumb action movies, but this action movie was actually kinda smart.  I just expected Death Wish with a robot brained guy, which it was, but also had some unexpected twists to the story, especially a big one at the end that I didn’t see coming at all.  It was pretty well-acted too, but more importantly in the case of this movie, it had some great fights and some really brutal action that I really dug.  Check this movie out.

 

OCEAN’S 8

I was never a big fan of any of the Oceans movies.  They just didn’t do anything for me.  So what would happen if they did what to me felt like roughly the same thing but with a cast that was mostly female?  …Not change anything too much really.  I guess it was a little bit easier on the eyes, maybe.

 

HEREDITARY

I wrote a full review for Hereditary back in October if you want to see all the opinions on it, although I’m not even fully sure I’ve yet come to grips with said opinions.  Basically I decided that the movie was unsettling, and I’d probably lean towards saying it was scary, but I also thought it was a little confusing and the performances were a little over the top at times.  It’s such a polarizing movie though, so everyone else’s opinions could go either way.

 

HOTEL ARTEMIS

Going into it, I assumed Hotel Artemis was going to essentially be “You know that hotel from John Wick?  You think we can make a whole movie out of that?”  And that’s basically what it was, but they pulled it off fairly well.  It was kinda funny, somewhat interesting, had some decent action, and a ridiculous cast.  It’s far from a must see movie, but it’s a solid watch.

 

INCREDIBLES 2

I think the most difficult part of reviewing Incredibles 2 is in comparing it to the original.  The original gets a bit of an edge for starting it all and introducing us to the characters, but I think I prefer the sequel, where we already know the characters and get to spend more time with the whole family and not just mostly the parents.  Jack-Jack is too cute and fun to spend so much time in the background!  The story was not dissimilar to the original.  I would say the big reveal of the movie was not terribly surprising, but I also suppose that not everything needs to be.  All that really matters is that it’s every bit as good and as fun as the original, if not slightly more so.

 

TAG

Tag was a perfectly acceptable comedy with a couple of laughs and a kind of sweet ending.  The concept of it seems ridiculous until you find out that it’s based on a real game of tag some grown adults have been playing for decades and I think are still playing today.  THAT is ridiculous.  Making a movie about it just makes more sense knowing that.  Damned good cast too.  It’s certainly a missable movie, but you could do worse.

 

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM

It’s just more of the same every time, isn’t it?  People just saying, “Look, I know it worked out poorly last time, but I think we could make an even better, more killing-er dinosaur!”  Am I talking about the Jurassic Park franchise or what the people in the movie would be saying?  I don’t even know anymore.  I really can’t say that I hated the movie, but it is starting to make me aware of the fact that they’re pretty much the same movie every time.  The likeability of Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard can only take these movies so far when they get progressively more stupid.

 

JULY

THE FIRST PURGE

I constantly claim that I’m not a fan of the Purge films, yet I believe I’ve seen every single one.  One of those things will have to change eventually, and after seeing this one I imagine it’ll be the latter rather than the former.  It’s not that I think they’re poorly made movies; it’s just that they never really feel different and they don’t resonate with me at all.  I also tend to forget them immediately afterwards.  This one is (obviously) about how the Purge started.  That’s about the only thing that felt slightly different.  Otherwise the story is basic and the character motivations don’t really add up to me.  Like the holier than thou protestor girl that won’t agree to hang out with the drug dealer on Purge night even though he seems like a nice guy AND has an army to protect them and isn’t asking for anything in return.  Or Marisa Tomei’s character who is angry that the government is faking it to make it look like the Purge is successful even though SHE is the one who suggested the Purge in the first place.  But I guess I’d say if you are the kind of person that enjoys these movies, this is another one.  Not really for me though.

 

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP

Ant-Man 2 was a fantastic and fun movie, but it was put in a difficult place.  I’m not saying that it was hurt by comparison to Infinity War because I wasn’t really drawing that comparison.  The problem for me was that Infinity War ended on such a mind-blowing cliffhanger that I still need a resolution to in a big bad way, so I was definitely thirsty for it just a few months removed.  Ant-Man 2 did not progress the events of Infinity War except for a little bit in the post-credit sequences, nor was it trying to.  It was trying to tell its own, fun, self-contained, more personal story, and it did that.  But I need resolution to Infinity War so bad that every movie I see is going to be tainted by that.  So if I’m going to knock Peter Rabbit a few points for not progressing Infinity War, I’m certainly going to do that to a Marvel movie.  Fun movie though, when you get past that.

 

SKYSCRAPER

Skyscraper is probably better than most people expected it to be, but how good were most people expecting it to be?  The story doesn’t really amount to much more than Die Hard with a bigger building and John McClane is starting from outside the building, but it’s a big dumb action movie so I wasn’t expecting much more than that.  I will say that there was no reason that I could see that The Rock needed to have only one leg, and I don’t even think they ever used it to make the joke about a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.  The action wasn’t the most mind-blowing thing ever, but The Rock can add points to any movie and at least make it work.  And it does.  Fun popcorn movie if you don’t have much else to watch.

 

THE EQUALIZER 2

Going into the Sequelizer, my biggest concern was that I would have to remember anything about the first one.  I didn’t, but I felt like I was fine without remembering.  The story didn’t seem to rely on the first one.  There wasn’t much of a story anyway really.  Kind of basic action movie stuff, a surprise bad guy I saw coming from a mile away, but the action was pretty good and it was an enjoyable watch.  I also think there’s probably going to be a time when Denzel Washington is too old to be believable as an action star, but that time has not yet come.  He’s like black Liam Neeson.

 

UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB

Unfriended: Dark Web was a pretty solid horror movie with a fairly underwhelming twist at the end, but not really underwhelming enough to ruin the rest of the experience.  Interesting concept and some decent uses of the webcam horror.  I couldn’t really get beyond the idea that the guy who owned the murder laptop was apparently a super hacker computer maestro but he also forgets his laptop in a cyber café and has all his passwords saved on it.  That part was explained in the end, but I still spent the rest of the movie irritated by it, and of course I felt the ending was a bit weak anyway.  I also didn’t really get the choice that had to be made at the end.  Look, I love my mom, and I also don’t want to seem callous or anything, but if you have to choose who lives and your choices are 1) mom dying of cancer and 2) the young, healthy woman you love, that doesn’t seem like that hard of a choice.  I’m sure your mom would even agree with you.  I mean, definitely feel bad about it later, of course…

 

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT

I had a bit of a rocky start with Mission: Impossible-Fallout.  I went to see it in theaters when it first came out and the screen went black a third of the way in.  Apparently, the bulb burnt out on the projector and they wouldn’t be able to restart the movie.  The theater told us, “This kind of thing happens,” to which I thought, “…Really?  I’ve seen an awful lot of movies in my 35 years and this would make a grand total of one times.”  But I got a free ticket and intended to see it again and just never got around to it.  Then it came out on DVD and I felt obligated to buy it even though I didn’t really know if it was good.   And then after seeing it, I’d say it’s roughly the same as every other Mission: Impossible movie.  The IMF needs to stop a bad guy, all the other governments think the IMF is to blame, the IMF needs to overcome both to win.  And there’s probably a double agent too.  Maybe give Ethan Hunt the benefit of the doubt every once and a while.  But another thing it shares with the other Mission: Impossible movies is that it’s pretty good.  Lots of good action and spectacular moments.  You’ll have fun, even if you won’t be surprised.

 

AUGUST

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN

I don’t recall being a terribly big fan of Winnie the Pooh in my youth and didn’t really feel any inspiration to see Christopher Robin, but as the end of the year approaches, I find myself relaxing on my standards when I visit Redbox machines.  All that being said, I found I was pretty charmed by the movie after a little while.  It was pretty relentlessly adorable and sweet once it got going.  I wouldn’t call it a must-see movie for adults, but as something to watch with kids, it’s certainly endearing.

 

THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME

I don’t know if I would dump The Spy Who Dumped Me per se.  I wouldn’t kick it out of bed because Mila Kunis is in it and who would ever kick her out of bed, but I also don’t know if I would necessarily pursue it.  It’s fine.  I didn’t hate it, but I don’t really recall laughing at it, and I am inclined to believe that things that involve Kate McKinnon will make me laugh at some point.

 

THE MEG

The Meg had no right to be as fun and entertaining as it was.  And it seemed to be intentionally so, unlike the Sharknado type movies I believed it to be going in.  Now don’t get me wrong; I chose my words very carefully there.  It’s not a “good” movie.  It’s a fun and entertaining movie.  Big dumb action at its finest, and it’s fully aware that it’s dumb and makes good use of that for some funny moments.  It also has a really strong cast, and uses people like Jason Statham and Rainn Wilson for exactly what they’re good at, but also lets Bingbing Li show some sides I’ve never seen of her.  I think I’ve only ever seen her play a Femme Fatale type character, but she also pulled off comedy and a little bit of dramatic acting very well.  I recommend you check out The Meg for a rental.

 

BLACKKKLANSMAN

I was not expecting to go into a Spike Lee movie about the KKK and have fun while learning, but somehow I did.  Blackkklansman captured an interesting real life story and turned it into an interesting plot.  And they even managed to make it funny even though it probably shouldn’t technically have been with how sadly close to home it can feel.  I can’t think of a performance that wasn’t great either, and I was particularly happy to see Paul Walter Hauser in the movie, who really stole the show in I, Tonya.  Definitely a movie to check out.

 

SLENDER MAN

A movie about an internet meme.  Like a horror Grumpy Cat.  How well could anyone have expected that to go?  Slender Man starts off as a group of teenage girls talking about dicks and stuff, and then the movie itself turns into a whole bag of dicks.  It tries to steal from The Ring with its creepy flashing images, but the best that is able to muster is reminding me of a better horror movie.  Its story was weak, the performances only required screaming, and it just wasn’t scary.  It wasn’t particularly well done either, like a scene in a dark house where a music sting told me something scary happened, but I had to rewind and rewatch 3 times before I noticed a shadow move a pixel in the background.  They probably could’ve turned Slender Man into a decent movie, but it feels like they rushed it out as fast as they could to capitalize on the myth before kids forgot all about it and moved on to eating Tide Pods.  I would say Tide Pods are probably more satisfying though.

 

ALPHA

Alpha was a solid movie about a lost cave boy who makes friends with a doggie and then teaches his tribe how to make friends with doggies too.  As someone that likes dogs more than people, I was personally rooting for the dog for most of the movie.  If what was best for the dog happened to work out for this boy, cool.  The movie has a feel good outcome, is well-acted, mostly by once-Nightcrawler Kodi Smit-McPhee, and the movie looks great.  It’s not a movie anyone necessarily needs to see, but it’s a solid watch.

 

MILE 22

Mile 22 is a fairly standard action movie.  A bit of twists and turns to the story, but nothing you couldn’t see coming if you didn’t shut your brain off to the movie beforehand.  But in this kind of movie, it’s generally recommended to shut your brain off and not think too much about what you’re watching.  Watch people punch people, shoot people, blow people up.  The movie will deliver fairly well on that.  And Lauren Cohan is hot, so it’s got that going for it.  Iko Uwais is generally good for some solid fight scenes too.  Mark Wahlberg’s character was pretty annoying to me with his rubber band thing and his generally abrasive personality, but it wasn’t enough to ruin it.  If you’re not in the mood for action, this movie has nothing else for you, but it can scratch an itch if it needs to.

 

THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS

I wouldn’t say I was expecting much from Happytime Murders.  It had plenty of things going for it.  The world of a seedy underbelly of the normally happy puppet world has a lot of potential, and the cast is pretty excellent.  I’ve never really been crazy about Melissa McCarthy, but she has the ability to hold a comedy if the writing is there.  But Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, Elizabeth Banks, and Michael McDonald I do tend to enjoy more often than not, and even they couldn’t make this movie work.  Dirty puppets can work for a comedy (I’ve seen Avenue Q), but vulgar for the sake of vulgar isn’t really enough for me.  You can skip this move.  See Avenue Q instead, if you can.

 

SEARCHING

Searching was a pleasant surprise.  The method of execution they chose for the movie (everything being shown through a computer) can strain believability and put a strain on the audience.  Why and how were all of these things being filmed?  And why am I watching a computer screen for this long and it’s not porn and videos of people hurting themselves attempting something stupid?  But, they were able to make it work with a well-written story (with a couple twists at the end I didn’t see coming), and some great performances, especially John Cho, who slowly came unhinged as the movie went along and gave the best performance I’ve ever seen from him.  There were a few things I took issue with, such as suggesting that Margot may still have run away because they found $2,500 in her car…which was in a lake.  ‘Cause you know how you run away and make sure you have some seed money and get rid of your car so no one can find you and then DOH!  My money was in there!  Boy is my face red!  But that’s me nitpicking a movie I enjoyed, so you don’t let that stop you from checking it out.

 

SEPTEMBER

THE NUN

Another movie I already did a video review of, I enjoyed The Nun.  I enjoy most of the Conjuring series.  They’re not technically the best movies, but it was solid.  It wasn’t the same atmospheric spookiness of a lot of the other Conjuring movies; it was almost the ghost equivalent of an action movie, ramping the jump scares to 11 in the beginning and acting almost like a zombie movie.  The movie had good performances as well, though it seemed like an odd decision to cast Vera Farmiga’s sister in the role as they would look so much alike but seemingly have no connection to each other in the mythos of the movie.  Maybe future movies will explain that, but this one didn’t.  I’ll be sure to find out though because this movie was enjoyable enough that I’ll be seeing whatever comes next as well.

 

PEPPERMINT

I like a badass chick.  I have two pets named after them (Ripley and Leia).  I would be so down for a movie like Peppermint…if it were good.  Peppermint was just passable at best.  There were a lot of frustrating writing choices, such as the cops thinking it was more important to hunt down the woman that wants justice as opposed to the gang that guns down an innocent woman and her family.  Or the news station that needs the police to make a statement on vigilante justice.  My guess is they are against it.  And the mob boss that doesn’t order all of his gang members to surround themselves with little girls since they’re obviously this lady’s kryptonite.  So basically, this movie really wants to be lady Batman.  …Or Batman if the shooter had killed Bruce and Thomas and Martha was the one that survived…  And she was cool with killing and guns…  Okay, that comparison missed the mark a bit.  So did this movie.  Riley wasn’t nearly badass enough and the story needed work.  It wouldn’t hurt to see it, but just go watch Aliens.

 

THE PREDATOR

It’s going to become difficult for young people to understand how the Predator has become as iconic as it has when it’s percentile of good movies is so low.  6 movies, one good one, one passable one.  And this was one of the other four.  The Predator uses a dismembered arm to fake a soldier giving a thumbs up!  Fuck you, movie!  I’m gonna use a dismembered arm to give this movie a thumbs down…and then jam it up their asses.

 

OCTOBER

VENOM

Try as I might and want as I did, I found myself unable to connect with Venom.  I really like Venom as a character, but I feel like I don’t know him very well as a character as I haven’t followed his story much outside of his interactions with Spider-Man.  The Venom I know wasn’t as much of a comedic character as this one tried to be.  He would never threaten someone with a long story about how they’d look like a “turd” after he ate their limbs.  He probably would’ve just eaten their limbs.  I also don’t think the Venom I know would be concerned about the fact that Eddie is making him “look bad.”  I like Tom Hardy a lot, but his portrayal of Eddie Brock really worked my nerves.  He’s an asshole who screws up his life and blames everyone else.  It wasn’t Drake’s fault that you lost everything.  You stole information from your girlfriend and you just had to be an Edge Lord when interviewing him which lost you your job.  It may be a little to blame on your boss for sending you in the first place.  At that point, I had only known Eddie for a few minutes and I knew exactly how that interview was gonna go.  The action wasn’t that great either.  If you thought it was hard to tell what was happening in Transformers when chunks of metal were smashing into each other, wait till you see two slightly different color blobs of goo smashing into each other as a fight scene.  I didn’t really enjoy Venom, but I do hope they make more because I think they have the elements to make a good Venom movie here, but they just weren’t able to.  But really, the best part of the movie was the Into the Spider-Verse clip in the credits.

 

A STAR IS BORN

I feel like my viewing of A Star is Born benefited from going into the movie clean.  I knew about the previous versions of the movie in a very basic sense but never saw them.  The idea I had about them was that it was this love story of a musician that starts the career of another musician he falls in love with and they get too big and then their relationship sours.  That kind of happens, but that wasn’t the surprise at the end of the movie I didn’t see coming, which allowed the movie to really shock me when it happened.  Granted, I would’ve preferred it was a little more clear what exactly Bradley Cooper was doing in that garage because I was only able to figure it out from people talking about it later and looking it up on Wikipedia, but that’s really the only gripe I had with this movie.  I don’t know how much credit you can give the story here because I don’t know how much it took from the other versions, but I really enjoyed it.  The music was also great, inspiring me to pick up the soundtrack later.  Every performance in the movie was also fantastic.  Bradley Cooper was great and seemed like he was doing a Sam Elliott impression for a lot of the movie, then Sam Elliott himself shows up and gives an even better Sam Elliott impression, but also the best performance I’ve seen of him.  Granted, I think I’ve only really seen him in Roadhouse and Ghost Rider, but this was great too.  And of course, I had never really seen Lady Gaga act before, but she is damned good at that too.  Most of the time I’ve known of Lady Gaga I’ve tried to write her off for her poppy songs and gimmicky persona, but over the years as she’s peeled that stuff away I’ve begrudgingly had to admit that she’s got damned good singing chops and now she apparently can act as well.  I guess I’ll just have to give in and admit that the lady is talented.  A Star is Born is a great love story that will warm and break your heart, and the songs are flat out quality.  Definitely recommend this movie.

 

HALLOWEEN

Slasher films (including many of the ones in the Halloween family) are often a source of mockery for me.  And they’re often quite deserving.  So when this year’s Halloween movie came out and decided to wipe away the other Halloween movies from canon, you’d think I’d agree with them.  And mostly I would, but I feel like people in this town would take Michael Myers more seriously if his body count was 47 instead of 6.  But I was pleasantly surprised by this movie.  It was damned enjoyable.  Or as enjoyable as you can say a slasher film is.  A lot of people were brutally murdered, so I don’t wanna act like I enjoyed it too much.  Story was somewhat simple but with the current of Jamie Lee Curtis’ PTSD giving it a little more meat.  Jamie Lee Curtis was great, as was Andi Matichak.  Judy Greer wasn’t very likeable for most of the movie, and at the end I was about to get real mad at her for the cliché shit her character was about to pull, but then she swerved so hard and turned that moment into a moment of supreme radness that totally redeemed her character.  If you dig on a horror movie, check this one out.  And try to tell me that Greer moment didn’t make the whole movie worthwhile.  You’ll know the one.

 

NOVEMBER

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

Though I would say I enjoyed Bohemian Rhapsody, I was also very surprised by how many awards it was taking home.  The story was fine, but wasn’t impressive.  I certainly didn’t have any criticism for the fact that they changed the timeline of some of the real life events.  It wasn’t a documentary, so changing how things happened slightly for more satisfying movie moments is perfectly acceptable to me.  But the movie itself was just enjoyable, not mind-blowing.  I give proper credit to Rami Malek’s performance, but really the true success of the movie was how much watching the movie drove me into a Queen craze afterwards.  After seeing the movie, I had to go watch their epic Live Aid performance as well as the Freddie Mercury tribute concert, and I’ve also had the soundtrack for Bohemian Rhapsody practically on loop in my car since I saw it, and before seeing the movie I only had a passing knowledge of Queen, essentially including Bohemian Rhapsody (which I found from Wayne’s World), Don’t Stop Me Now (which I found from Shaun of the Dead), and We Are the Champions (which I found everywhere).  But really, that credit should be given to Queen more than the movie.

 

THE GRINCH

I’ve always been fine with the Grinch.  At least the original. It was essential holiday viewing in my childhood, but not so much anymore.  The Jim Carrey version was one I enjoyed because Jim Carrey was in it, but not something I feel the need to rewatch often.  And then they came out with another one.  I would’ve skipped it altogether had it not been for the involvement of Scott Mosier of Smodcast fame.  I’ve been following Mosier’s career as it tied into Kevin Smith’s for many years and was interested to see what his directing debut would look like.  And it was good.  The world didn’t really need another Grinch, but it’s funnier than the original and kids today might be more interested in this movie visually than the original, so it might be something the kids would like.  At least more than the adults who will probably turn their noses up at it for not being the one they saw when they were kids.  So this isn’t really a movie you need to go out and watch, but it’s fine, and your kids will probably like it.  If there are major criticisms to be levelled against it, the rap version of You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch by Tyler the Creator was painful to hear.  At least they let Welcome Christmas be in the movie without it being a Nicki Minaj remix.

 

OVERLORD

I had originally put Overlord on my list of movies to watch for the year, but decided it was low priority and never got around to it.  But the benefit of the tardiness of this review came as I had not finished the review yet by the time this movie came to RedBox.  I was surprised that this movie was much more enjoyable than it appeared.  It really just seemed like it was a basic war movie crossed with a basic horror movie, when it turned out to be a good version of both of those things put together.  And, much like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, they’re two great tastes that taste great together.  The story is basic and they had a couple missed opportunities, like when a character is gravely wounded and the bad guy says, “How does it feel?” and the good guy responds, “Not so fuckin’ great.”  I haven’t really bothered to think on it, but you could definitely have worked out a better, badass response than that.  Since he was stabbed by a hook, he could say, “I love it.  I think I’m addicted to it.  I’m really hooked on it.”  …That wasn’t great either, but I put no thought into it.  And I’m not being paid a lot to write it.  …Or being paid at all.  The cast was also great.  Euron Greyjoy was in it, as was the dude from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but the one who had most of my attention was Wyatt Russell.  Hot damn that guy has a lot of his dad (Kurt) in him.  I feel like I would not hate a reboot or sequel to Escape from New York with him taking over for his dad.  I’d call him “Snake.”  The movie didn’t really go for scares too much as it was really more of a gory, zombie-esque war movie, but it did that gore very well.  I definitely recommend you give this movie a shot.  It’s fun times.

 

FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD

Fantastic Beasts 2 answers all the prayers I had left unfulfilled from the Harry Potter series.  And by that I mean that I always wished Voldemort’s snake was actually a hot Asian lady.  Thankfully, this movie made that happen for me.  It didn’t deliver much else other than that though.  It wasn’t bad or even a bummer, but it was probably one of the worst in the franchise and just didn’t feel magical enough.  I know that’s a joke a lot of people would go for, but I’ve written a bunch of these so give me a break.  It really feels more like a filler movie.  We’re not being introduced to the world because the first one did that, but it’s not the last one either so it’s really just trying to keep us on the hook until we get there.  I guess you could say it succeeded in that because this didn’t talk me out of seeing the next one, but it didn’t blow me away either.  I guess I have to stick around to see Grindelwald get what’s coming to him.  I mean, they had him kill a dragon doggie and a baby in his first 2 appearances.  Just in case you were wondering if he was a bad guy or not.

 

BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS

I had not heard of the Ballad of Buster Scruggs until the two hosts of the Just 2 Pals podcast (the only form of entertainment I know of that’s as bad at posting content as I am) recommended it to me.  And I would say for the most part, I was happy to find the movie.  I like a good western and this was one of them, and I enjoyed the greater majority of the stories, but not knowing anything about the movie beforehand, I went in not quite realizing that I might not want to bother getting attached to anyone.  I guess that was my biggest problem with it.  Being that the movie was 6 mini-stories, none of them could be terribly long, and since they weren’t connected that was all the time you’d get to spend with the characters you were just starting to like.  Going through each one, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs was fun and Buster did some pretty awesome things.  Near Algodones didn’t resonate with me much beyond Stephen Root.  Meal Ticket didn’t do much for me.  All Gold Canyon was pretty good, but maybe took a little too long.  The Gal Who Got Rattled was probably my favorite even though it was a real bummer, but I enjoyed seeing Zoe Kazan again after loving The Big Sick so much.  The Mortal Remains was just kind of there for me, but I liked how they did it.  I guess one of the biggest things to take away from this is that the stories are all at least interesting and the cast was pretty crazy.  It’s at least worth a watch.

 

RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET

I enjoyed Wreck it Ralph quite a bit, but felt like Ralph Breaks the Internet didn’t blow me away as much as I was hoping for.  I enjoyed it, but it didn’t blow my mind.  It was fun, it was funny at times, it was a little bit heart-warming, and it delivers on what we expect.  I would say that Vanelope is painfully adorable and that I would probably want a movie that’s a little more her and a little less Ralph.  And I absolutely loved all the stuff they did with the other Disney Princesses, especially since they got almost all of their original voice actors to return.  And that they also included Star Wars and Marvel, including the man himself, Stan Lee.  How could I possibly hate a movie that had Stan Lee in it?!  …Well I couldn’t.  I just wasn’t in love with it.

 

CREED II

When I first heard about Creed 2, the premise seemed a little corny.  Like Rocky Babies.  The offspring of Drago and Creed have to recreate the fight from Rocky 4.  So this is essentially Rocky 4-2, but that name is confusing so I understand why they went with this one instead.  The movie turned out more enjoyable than that.  I would say it’s not an entirely surprising movie though.  Their first encounter happens just before the halfway point of the film so you can probably guess how it goes, but then Adonis is gonna have to chase chickens or something so the outcome of the rematch will be different.  But something about how they put these movies together works and gets the audience invested, even if it’s a little formulaic and predictable.  The cast of the movie made me really happy.  You would know going in that Stallone and Lundgren came back, but I was happy to see Brigitte Nielsen and Milo Ventimiglia also return.  Michael B. Jordan carries the movie, and that man is just infuriating.  He’s handsome, he’s in amazing shape, and he’s actually a damned good actor.  How dare he take all the things?!  It did make me laugh when he came to the realization that he lost the first fight because he was scared he couldn’t do what his father couldn’t do.  I would’ve said, “You already did!  You survived the fight with a Drago!  Daddy didn’t do that!”  But Creed 2 was able to keep the Rocky franchise going strong.  I don’t necessarily hope they keep making these because I don’t know where else they could take it, but if they do make another, I’d give it a shot too.

 

ROBIN HOOD

It would be unfair for me to say that Robin Hood was “bad.”  It certainly wasn’t good, and it was really dumb, but I didn’t hate the experience really.  It was pretty much just like King Arthur with Charlie Hunnam in that it took an old legend and added new style action scenes to it.  And most of the things they added to it seemed like they were just stealing from better movies.  Robin Hood was basically told to be Batman by being Bruce Wayne in the day and The Hood at night.  Early in the movie, Robin goes to war and they tried to make it a war movie in Robin Hood times.  Like Black Hood Down or Zero Dark Loxley.  They also took Morgan Freeman’s character from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, made him Little John, and also made him a badass.  And they had arrow Gatling guns and arrow bazookas…  So obviously, it was dumb, it was silly, and it had no reason to exist, but it was fun enough to squeak by.

 

DECEMBER

SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE

I find it somewhat painful to say this and that’s why you should all take it very seriously: this is quite possibly the best Spider-Man movie to date.  Tom Holland’s Homecoming is probably a close second, but this movie is just perfect.  Wonderfully written, heart-warming, funny, action-packed, visually-perfect, and John Mulaney.  I loved all the references to other Spider-Man movies, like the opening scene and the dancing joke.  If there are any complaints to be had with this movie it’d be that I’m a bit bummed that they didn’t get Donald Glover to voice Uncle Aaron as he had already played him in Homecoming, but Mahershala Ali did a fine job as well.  I also don’t get why Miles would be embarrassed about getting driven to school in a cop car.  I’d just tell everyone I had a police escort!  Also, this wouldn’t be a complaint, but the proximity to his loss and everything about how it happened in this movie made the Stan Lee cameo break my heart so bad.  That wound will never heal, but it was far too fresh at the time.  Technically speaking though, it was perfect.  Just like the rest of the movie.  Check it out.

 

MORTAL ENGINES

I did not get this movie’s deal.  There was very little about Mortal Engines that worked, so let’s get them out of the way first: It was visually kinda cool.  …That’s it.  After that, this movie was garbage.  It was so poorly-written which made most things not make sense, made the characters look stupid, and made me very angry and ask a bunch of questions that would never get answered.  Why would the museum curator boy run after the assassin by himself?  Why does he then beg her for her help?  Failing that, why does he then claim he’s more than capable of taking care of himself when he was just begging for her help?  Why do you say “We’re not gonna tell our sad stories” and then five minutes later: Sad story time?  Why do you claim you would’ve left somebody if they were in danger and five minutes later save them?  Why is her injured leg better when it’s convenient?  Why does robo-daddy guy exist at all?  Why do they try to give him an emotional send off when he just crashed an entire city into the ground?  Why can you not destroy London because of the innocent people even though it would stop them from killing all the innocent people in your city?  Why do you say you need to attack first and then wait around until London attacks and decimates you to finally make a move?  Why does Tom stop right after that when everyone’s dying to get a cool new jacket?  Why does London attack TWICE before you finally arrive?  Why is the badass leader of the resistance evenly matched in a sword fight with an aging Archaeologist?  Why is the father reveal a surprise to Hester when she was like 8 when he left?  Why does Tom respond to Hester’s answer of what they do next (“We see the world”) with, “I’m comin’ with ya!”?  …Yeah, she said “we.”  And the most important question: if this movie can’t be bothered to pay attention to itself, why should I?  Don’t see this movie.

 

MARY POPPINS RETURNS

I don’t know that I’d ever consider myself the biggest fan of Mary Poppins.  It was a fine movie, but the fact that my mom loved it and made me watch it many times made me appreciate it less.  And then they made a sequel.  It too was fine, but probably less fine.  I would say about this movie that, though it’s not as good as the original, it’s fantastic visuals are most likely required to catch the interest of children today who would probably be unable to appreciate the original.  So kids will probably enjoy it, and adults that liked the original will probably just be okay with it as it doesn’t feel drastically different from the original, but the songs aren’t nearly as good.  The performances are solid though.  Emily Blunt is great, as is Lin-Manuel Miranda.  Didn’t really dig on Meryl Streep’s section as it just felt pointless, but it didn’t take too long.  I got a little bored in Mary Poppins Returns, but I think parents will find it a satisfactory way to spend a few hours with the kids.

 

AQUAMAN

I never would’ve expected that Aquaman would be the moment it seemed DC was finally starting to get the hang of this “movie” thing.  While thinking about it afterwards, I decided that Aquaman comes in second to Wonder Woman, but it’s close.  Wonder Woman was a 9 or a 10 for the first 2 acts of the movie, but suffered from a weak ending.  Aquaman was a solid 6 or 7 all the way through, so they average out to about the same.  The story was basic, but what could we expect?  Patrick Wilson is bad and Jason Momoa is good.  That’s all you need to know.  Also, Amber Heard is hot.  That’s important as well.  But the action was good, though I was surprised to find that I found the female fight scenes much cooler than the male ones.  Nothing wrong with some ass-kicking women, but Aquaman is the star here.  Maybe make him have some better fights.  And probably should make Orm cheat when he beats him.  Aquaman lost fair and square in their first encounter.  How’s that supposed to make me dislike Orm?  ‘Cause he’s not as pretty?  But they did improve on a couple important things here.  First, he actually dressed like Aquaman!  That was a very exciting moment.  And most importantly to me after Justice League: Aquaman finally has a trident.  I don’t know what that was he had in Justice League, but it had 5 points.  TRI-dent!  THREE POINTS!!  He had a … pent-dent…?  I dunno.  But it’s a fun movie and hopefully DC can keep this up.  I don’t know that they can (and I certainly don’t want them to) equal Marvel, but getting close would be nice.  This is a step in the right direction.

 

BUMBLEBEE

Because of Michael Bay, one does not expect much when going into a Transformers movie.  Barely distinguishable clumps of metal will bang into each other and things will explode.  It has gone on so long it made me forget one important fact: without Michael Bay, I tend to enjoy Transformers.  Bay was still a part of Bumblebee as a producer, but I’m assuming his influence was limited because Bumblebee was actually enjoyable!  Possibly the best Transformers movie ever and certainly the best live action one.  First of all, most of the Transformers actually looked like they’re supposed to look, which was a welcome change.  The story was basic, but solid.  Hailee Steinfeld is probably a better actress than a movie like this deserves, but she probably made bank so why not?  John Cena was good as well, and made a damned good point about why the government trusted a group of creatures that flat out call themselves Decepticons.  Bumblebee was a solid actor too, and the moment where he got pissed at Cena for shoving Steinfeld was super hype.  The parents were my biggest problem with the movie.  Not because the actors were bad at it, but because they were the worst parents ever.  The two presents they give Steinfeld for her birthday are presents THEY want her to have, like a helmet and a book about how she should smile more.  And then this girl finally gets her own car and her mom just decides to take it out to get groceries without asking or even informing her?  I could understand if my mom did that to me because she bought me my first car, but Steinfeld got that car on her own!  Damn they made me angry.  But the movie did not.  I recommend it.  If you were never into the cartoon and only saw the live-action movies, maybe this will finally give you an idea why people liked this franchise so much.

 

So that about covers it.  I’m so proud of you if you actually read all that.  And a little bit sad for you.  But I appreciate it either way.  Right after this, I’ll be going through these movies again and creating my list for my video of the best and worst films of 2018, so be sure to check back for that on YouTube or here linking to YouTube.  Thanks again for reading!

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The Films of 2015


0069 Snapshot 3

Another year has passed and I still feel compelled to talk about movies that I’ve seen.  If you don’t want to read and you just want to hear the 13 best and worst movies I saw, I’d be happy to tell you all about them in THIS video.  But that’s only 13 of the 39 I saw.  If that’s not enough for you, here’s the complete list of movies I watched in 2015, and what I thought.

 

JANUARY

EX MACHINA

This was a very interesting movie that was well-executed on all fronts.  It’s an extremely small movie with really big ideas in regards to all the interesting questions that arise from artificial intelligence … especially if that AI is hot.  This ain’t Hayley Joel Osment.  It’s hot ass (and if I recall correctly, temporarily naked) Alicia Vikander.  The movie was essentially 3 people talking, but one of them was a robot, and still it keeps your attention and is pretty riveting all the way through.  Wasn’t too much of a fan of the ending of it, but I’m sure they didn’t write the whole movie for just me.

 

JUPITER ASCENDING

All I really know about this movie is that I watched it.  What I think I remember is that Mila Kunis was the lost queen of some planet and Channing Tatum was her puppy/human protector.  If not, then I had a really strange and boring dream and I should stop eating pizza before bed.  There wasn’t much going on here by way of story and it didn’t really keep my attention very well, but there is some eye candy for all manner of tastes with Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum … as long as the people that like Tatum would be okay with him being part dog or whatever he was.  But there’s really nothing going on here that needs to be seen.

 

PROJECT ALMANAC

It seems like a lot of other critics have really had an ass full of the found footage genre recently, but I’m not quite there yet.  Granted, the novelty of it has worn off a bit, but I still find it an easy way to engage your audience.  So I didn’t really have the same issues with Project Almanac as I’ve seen from other critics.  It was an unsurprising movie, but it was enjoyable and engaging enough.  Some credit needs be given to a movie just being what it advertises, and that’s what this one does.  Good enough for a watch, but you’ll be able to live without it as well.

 

FEBRUARY

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY

Holy shit!  This movie sucked a big ole bag of dicks.  Actually, no it didn’t.  That would imply that it was sexy in the slightest.  This is a movie that is centered around what a huge Twilight fan flicks the bean to and it’s still way closer to gross and boring than it ever nears sexy.  Unless you’ve got a real hard on for contract litigation.  There’s a lot of that.  I even have a terrible dialogue fetish and this movie still wasn’t able to turn me on, and it’s got almost exclusively terrible dialogue.  And they apparently left out worse dialogue that was in the book the movie is based on.  So a movie that’s almost exclusively about sex turning out to be the opposite, with terrible dialogue, awful story (if you would call it that), the nudity is pretty much just the same girl over and over again so that you’re bored of seeing her naked by the end of the movie, and worst of all … they’re apparently making 2 more.  And women, this is all your fault.  You should be ashamed.  Knock it off.

 

DRAGON BLADE

This movie came as a last minute request from my friend Tara, who advertised it as a laughably bad movie.  The danger that comes with this is that I love Jackie Chan movies, and I love big martial arts epics as well.  What if I didn’t hate this movie and she lost all respect for me?!  Well that’s not something we have to worry about.  I didn’t HATE this movie, but it was not good either.  I think my scale for bad movies is much different than most peoples.  When it was a big martial arts epic, I was fine with the movie, but it spent an awful lot of time being a friendship building montage between the Asians and the round eyes.  The performances were mostly fine for what they needed to be, but Cusack didn’t seem to be trying to hard and Brody went a little over the top.  And that little kid was terrible and annoying as hell.  The guy that jumped off the cliff while holding the sobbing bastard is a hero.

 

HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2

This is another one the critics were perhaps a bit too hard on.  What did you expect when going in to see a sequel to a movie about 4 friends that get sent back in time by getting drunk in a magical hot tub?!  Well it was that.  It was dumb, it was ridiculous, and it was juvenile.  All as advertised.  It also had some funny moments.  If you liked the first one, you’ll probably like the second one.  And if someone ties you to a chair and forces you to watch it, you probably won’t kill yourself.  It’s thoroughly okay.

 

THE LAZARUS EFFECT

There’s nothing wrong with this movie per se, there’s just not much special to it.  I like the concept of the scientists creating a serum that brings someone back to life, but them bringing something terrible back with them.  I mean, that concept alone should be enough to scare both the religious and the scientific together!  …It probably wouldn’t, but it’s technically possible!  But the movie is decently executed and the acting is solid, but it inevitably winds up as just okay and completely skippable.

 

MARCH

CHAPPIE

I was pretty surprised by this movie.  I’ve not been a fan of Neill Blomkamp’s other movies (at least not to the degree many other people seem to be) but I didn’t mind this one.  Don’t really think I’d care to watch it again, but I don’t mind having watched it once.  I had mixed feelings about Die Antwoord being in this movie, and they’re what scared me off for a while, but they were actually pretty good at the acting part, and the painful part of them being in the movie came from their music being used so often.  The story was pretty good though, and the only other really annoying part was Chappie himself, but he was a small part of the movie and not the main character so that probably didn’t have that much of an effect … oh wait.  It’s still okay.

 

ROAD HARD

I am a fan of Adam Carolla so it my feelings about this movie probably need to be weighed against that fact a little, but I really enjoyed this movie.  It wasn’t exactly what I expected, but it was enjoyable.  It’s funny and it’s sweet, but if there was a problem to be had with it is that it couldn’t possibly surprise me because I’m such a big fan of Carolla’s.  This movie is a dramatized version of Carolla’s life if it hadn’t turned out so well for him with his podcast, movies, and TV shows.  Like if he hadn’t got those things and had just gone on the road as a stand-up comedian after the Man Show, this movie could have been his life.  And a lot of the jokes in the movie, if you listen to every one of his podcasts as I do, might not surprise you.  But it’s a well-executed movie and I found it very enjoyable.  I can’t really say if people will enjoy it if they’re not big fans of his, but you would have the benefit of getting to experience most of the jokes for the first time.  I say watch it.  It’s a solid, funny movie.

 

THE FINAL GIRLS

This was a thoroughly enjoyable movie that reminded me a lot of another movie I loved called Tucker & Dale vs. Evil.  It takes a well-known and somewhat worn out genre (a Friday the 13th-esque slasher film) and turns it on it’s head by making a group of friends Last Action Hero themselves into a slasher film one of the character’s mothers starred in before she died, which also brings a great emotional side to the story I didn’t expect out of a fairly goofy comedy.  There’s some real heart and some real laughs in this movie, and a good amount of Thomas Middleditch, who I’d like to see a lot more of.  Definitely a movie to watch.

 

TRAINWRECK

I don’t know why this movie surprised me with its quality, but it did.  I didn’t see it in theaters and even when it became available to rent, I took my sweet time to get around to it.  But it’s strange because I like Judd Apatow, I like Bill Hader, and I like Amy Schumer, and I still turned my nose up at it.  But turns out that liking the comedy of the 3 main creative people in charge of a movie usually means it will turn out to be something you like, and I did.  A little vulgar in the comedy at times (not for me, but that’s what my mom told me) but really funny and pretty touching in parts.  Schumer did a great job with the comedy and the dramatic stuff, Bill Hader was great, Tilda Swinton transformed so drastically for her part in the movie I had to look up that it was her, Colin Quinn was shockingly fantastic, and John Cena and LeBron James were both surprisingly good.  Great movie.  Go check it out.

 

APRIL

FURIOUS 7

I don’t know why they keep making these movies but, more importantly, I don’t know why I keep watching them.  I suppose the fact that people keep watching them is why they keep making them.  But I suppose the main reason I saw this one was to see how they would handle the tragic situation with Paul Walker, and that’s also what made this movie much more tolerable.  The greater majority of the movie was just wall to wall testosterone and the incredulity I felt over watching Jason Statham be a formidable opponent to The Rock, but the end of the movie was a touching tribute and farewell to Walker.  Granted, the real life situation with the actor informed your feelings about it a lot more than the movie and the script did, but it’s a touching moment you don’t expect out of one of these movies.  Of course, I just saw that they’re making yet another one, so hopefully I’ll be able to make myself sit that one out.

 

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

I often feel like I shouldn’t even bother writing a review for these kinds of movies because y’all know how I feel about it.  It’s a Marvel movie!  I probably loved it!  It is probably only technically worth talking about if even I thought it was awful.  But that’s not what happened here.  I wouldn’t say I liked this one as much as I liked the first Avengers movie, but this was still really great.  It mostly matches up with the first one.  The story was still what it needed to be to further the plot, the action was fantastic, there was some good humor there as well, and the cast was still great, but with the addition of Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen (who both did fantastic), Paul Bettany doing more than just being a voice (though I would’ve liked more of him, but that’s not how the story worked out), and most importantly, James Spader killing it as Ultron.  The Hulkbuster fight alone makes this movie worth seeing, but there’s still a lot more to this movie that makes it great.

 

PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2

Allow me to save you 94 minutes that I can’t imagine anyone but me was willing to sacrifice for this movie: Paul Blart is fat and dumb.  That’s about the entirety of the joke attempts in this movie.  I don’t believe the purpose of a joke in these movies is to make you cringe.  They probably want you to laugh, but that’s not what happens.  It’s just bad.  I guess it goes against my argument that movies should be judged based on what they advertise, because this movie does live up to what it advertises.  It looks like a bad, dumb comedy, and it totally delivers on that, but since it’s a bad, dumb comedy I’m going to tell you not to see it.  Did you need me to tell you that?

 

PITCH PERFECT 2

When the first Pitch Perfect came out, I turned my nose up at it until I had heard from enough people that it was worth watching.  After seeing it, I really enjoyed it.  And I had roughly the same experience with the second one.  It’s never really the story as that’s pretty basic.  The story’s purpose in this movie is to set up a few good jokes and some great mashup songs, and it succeeds in all of those areas.  After seeing the movie, I went and bought the soundtrack.  And every once and a while since seeing the movie, I’ll go to YouTube and look up the video of the songs because the great music can only be helped by looking at some of those purdy Bellas performing them.

 

MAY

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

I enjoyed Fury Road a lot, but I was perplexed by the amount of adoration I saw for this movie.  Why is it okay for some action movies to throw story away but not others?  The story is just something that fills in the gaps between a big car chase or an over the top action spectacle.  Which is completely fine, but I’m confused how this movie gets away with it but most action movies do not.  There was obviously nothing to the story here, but the performances were all pretty great, though I was a bit bothered by Max taking a backseat in his own movie to Furiosa.  Furiosa was great and Charlize Theron did a great job with her, but it’s not really her movie.  I do like seeing a strong female in an action movie though.  And the action was absurd in all the right ways, and the fact that so many people actually risked their lives for these scenes in a world of CGI made them that much more spectacular.  Definitely a movie that needs to be adored, but I don’t really reach the same level of adoration as most for it, it seems.

 

TOMORROWLAND

I watched this movie with the intention of finding some bad movies for my end of the year review, but was pleasantly surprised by it.  It’s not going to be anywhere near my best movies of the year, but it was definitely a solid watch.  I liked the message of hope that the movie revolves around, I liked the acting from Clooney, Britt Robertson, and Raffey Cassidy, and the visuals and spectacle of the movie were fantastic.  Nothing wrong with this movie and I’d definitely recommend it for a watch, but it falls a little short of greatness.  Landed right on top of goodness though.

 

SPY

This movie got talked up way heavier than I felt that it had earned.  I like Melissa McCarthy well enough in a supporting role or a cameo, but I haven’t totally signed off on her being the star.  This movie was fine.  Nothing special in the story, a few laughs here and there, Melissa McCarthy was Melissa McCarthy as you’ve seen in almost every Melissa McCarthy performance.  To me, she’s kind of Kevin James with a vagina.  CAN be funny, more often is not, does way too many movies, but keeps getting lots of work.  But if you like her, you’ll probably like this movie.  It just wasn’t my cup of tea.

 

INSIDE OUT

What I have often said about Marvel could also be said of Pixar, but with a much more universal blanket to the statement.  They can do no wrong.  And they seem to keep getting better.  I have loved Pixar movies often in the past, and I have even gotten sad during some of them like Up, but I don’t recall any of them ever making me shed a tear.  Inside Out?  Twice.  The story itself was a fairly basic adventure, but the magic comes from the adventure being personified feelings inside the mind of a little girl dealing with her troubles.  The imagination required to turn the emotional landscape into such a complete world was simply brilliant.  The voice cast was perfect and the movie was touching.  You should have already seen this, whether you have kids or not, and you must enjoy it, or I have nothing to say to you.

 

POLTERGEIST

I don’t know why this movie exists.  It wasn’t bad, but it was Poltergeist with different actors and a better camera.  I don’t mind a remake.  Hollywood runs out of ideas from time to time but I still demand to be entertained and distracted from the fact that I’m going to die one day.  But if you’re gonna remake, change it up a little bit so I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen around every turn.  Stuff’s going on in the house!  I wonder if it’s that Indian burial ground we built the house on!  Well no it’s not because that would be offensive in 2015.  Even Native American burial ground would offend some people.  So I guess you did totally change the movie.  I totally recommend you see Poltergeist.  But probably the first one.  Or this one.  They’re the same thing.

 

SAN ANDREAS

Through whatever tumor has developed in my brain, I love a big, stupid disaster movie.  It seems like every year without fail I go on a kick where I watch nothing but 2012, Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day, and any big disaster movie.  I guess some men just want to watch the world burn.  And San Andreas is definitely getting added to that cycle.  It’s big and it’s stupid, but it’s fun and the cast is pretty great.  The movie gets a little preachy at times and the “We rebuild” line at the end of the movie is so corny I thought I might find it in my poop the next morning, but it is pure fun spectacle.  And, as a message to filmmakers going for these kinds of movies, please just have The Rock do the Rock Bottom, or at least the Peoples Elbow, to the fault line.  You know what you are, so just go for dumb in the biggest way possible!

 

JURASSIC WORLD

I had gotten into an argument about this movie when I referred to it as dumb.  It’s certainly an enjoyable movie that at least mostly lives up to its predecessors, so what could be dumb about it?  How about the fact that hundreds of people have died over the 4 times they have attempted this park and yet they’re still going for it.  And not only do they reopen the park, the genetically create the goddamned Superman of Dinosaurs!  It’s bigger than a T-Rex, It has the active camo system straight out of Metal Gear Solid, it can change its heat signature, it’s intelligent, it can talk and plan with Velociraptors, and it can shoot lasers out of its eyes and it has gatling gun tits.  And oddly, very few of those things are fake!  (I bet the tits are fake)  But all that being said, if you can suspend disbelief in yet another way than just thinking dinosaurs can come back to life, then you can suspend the other stupidity and just enjoy the movie.  And the final battle with the Jesosaurus Rex is worth the price of admission on its own.

 

JUNE

INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3

I never go into these kind of horror movies with high hopes, but this one turned out pretty well.  Pretty basic horror movie plot, but it was well acted and creepy enough.  And I like Lin Shaye and am happy they went into prequel territory so they could bring her back after killing her off in one of the other ones.  But there’s not too much to say about this movie.  It’s good.  Your mind won’t be blown, but it’s good for a watch.

 

TERMINATOR GENISYS

I think what’s hurting the Terminator series the most is that they’ll never be able to top Terminator 2.  And also that they are going to continue to try to make it work until a few years after Arnold is dead and buried, trying to find a way he is still in it and old and dead even though he’s a robot.  But this movie reaches “fine” basically because it was exactly what I expected it to be.  Story barely made sense, acting was what it was (but at least Daenerys Targaryen was there), but things blew up with a good degree of frequency.  What more were you expecting and what more could you ask for?

 

ANT-MAN

I was pleasantly surprised by this movie.  Obviously I lean towards happy with Marvel movies, but I have no particular interest in the character of Ant-Man from the comics and so wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this one, especially given the news that Edgar Wright was no longer involved.  But they took this character I wasn’t interested in and put him in a really fun romp of a movie.  Well, they made the character a secondary character and some new, non-Pym Ant-Man the star, but it was still fun.  The script was good and funny though their attempts at feels didn’t quite work on me, and the performances (especially from Paul Rudd and Michael Pena) were fantastic.  Definitely a fun movie and worth a watch.

 

THE GALLOWS

I liked a lot of things about this movie, but somehow when they came together it didn’t go higher than luke warm.  It did succeed at being kinda creepy, and I liked the idea of the stage play that went wrong and created an angry ghost, but I didn’t get the ghost’s motivations.  So an accident happened and you died.  How does that justify killing people that were only tangentially involved or not involved at all?  That’s bad form!  The found footage thing also seemed more of a hindrance in this movie, and the ending didn’t work for me at all.  So altogether the movie was okay, but not something anyone needs to see.

 

JULY

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION

Who doesn’t like the Mission: Impossible movies?  They’re so big and fun and exciting.  And they’ve all stayed pretty consistent to me.  This one changes nothing.  It’s hard to top Tom Cruise climbing up the side of that huge building in the 4th one, but they gave it their all.  Hanging off the side of a flying airplane is pretty spectacular.  I also love the whole usual cast (especially Simon Pegg) and I like the new addition of Rebecca Ferguson because she was super hot and badass.  And (pretty surprisingly for a big action movie) the story was pretty good here.  I liked the rogue nation aspect and the super spy turned bad guy (even though he looked like Kyle Dunnigan from Reno 911!) and I had no idea how Tom Cruise was going to win in the end of the movie until the movie revealed it, and I thought it was pretty well done and clever.  Check this movie out!

 

PIXELS

I think most of us probably made a decision about this movie pretty quickly after we heard about it.  Adam Sandler, Kevin James.  And I’m out!  Well not if you’re me.  If you’re me, then you push all your chips to the center of the table.  Well that’s misleading, because I obviously wouldn’t go see it in theaters or give it very much money.  I’ll give you my dollar from RedBox.  But this movie was much better than I expected it to be … and that means it was just not terrible.  It wasn’t really funny, but it wasn’t painfully unfunny.  I would say it was cute.  And of course I approve of the message of video game nerds that save the world with their nerdiness.  I’m still in training for that situation to this day.  Have I seen better from Adam Sandler and Kevin James?  Absolutely!  But I’ve also seen much worse.  So I guess that means the movie isn’t that bad, but you still don’t really need to see it.

 

THE VATICAN TAPES

I picked this movie up from RedBox just for shits and giggles.  I do like a ghost/demon horror movie, but the possession movies don’t really do much for me.  Most of them are just one act of slowly seeing the signs of possession and then two acts of dislocating shoulders and peeled back fingernails as the demon tries to do as much damage to its host body for some reason.  That’s essentially what this is.  But then it ends with the Antichrist going out into the world.  So it’s got that going for it.  But the way these play out don’t work out to scary, much like the gore show horror movies, but this one had even less gore.  So it’s a horror movie devoid of scares, but the performances are pretty good.  Not good enough that you need to watch the rest of the movie to see them, but they were still good.

 

AUGUST

FANTASTIC FOUR

First one didn’t work, so let’s try this again!  And yeah, of course we’re gonna tell the same origin story again!  People may have forgotten in the last couple years … how to use Google, where they can find the origin story.  But this movie does the same thing I had a problem with in the first Hulk movie: you take too long to show the title characters!  47 minutes!  Before that, it’s the goddamn Reed Richards show.  And way too long to answer the obvious question: why do I feel like this black guy with a black son and a white daughter hiding something from us?  I suppose it would get to be awkward for him to always introduce Sue as his adopted daughter, but I was a bit curious.  After that, the problem with the movie is that it was boring.  A lot of science, not a lot of fighting.  The new cast was pretty good.  Didn’t much care for Victor von Doom.  His powers were pretty cool (although they didn’t resemble Dr. Dooms very much from what I could tell), but he looked terrible after his transformation.  So, as you can see, there can be a Marvel movie I don’t like and won’t recommend!

 

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.

Man, Batman v. Superman looks good, don’t it?!  Anyway, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is a movie that is pissing me off more as I have to type the name with all those periods in it.  But the movie itself was pretty good.  I didn’t really want to see it (unlike Batman v. Superman), but I decided to rent it as I was preparing this review and it turned out pretty well.  It was a fun little throwback movie to a time where my parents were just thinking about getting born already.  Pretty simple spy movie story, but it was fun and all three of the main actors (including the Russian, Superman, and Ex Machina lady) were enjoyable.  I’d rather see at least one of them with a big “S” that means “Hope” on his chest and another with nothing on her chest, but that’s neither here nor there.  It’s still an enjoyable watch.  …Like Batman v. Superman…

 

NO ESCAPE

I assume that this movie almost exclusively sought to create tension, and it did that fairly effectively.  What it probably didn’t want to do was make me hate Owen Wilson’s family with a passion.  They were the worst!  Always complaining and second guessing and doing everything they could to throw roadblocks in front of Wilson to keep him from saving them.  One of these little girls throws a bitch fit for a few minutes because they dropped her stuffed animal and didn’t go back for it when they were RUNNING DOWN THE HALL ESCAPING GUNFIRE!  And mom keep suggesting they stay put and wait for … I don’t know, marshmallows to fall out of the sky and save them all.  I assume the writer of this movie hates his/her kids.  After that, it’s also got a little bit of problems with the fact that white people are all good in this and any other color skin is bad, which I assume some people might frown upon.  But, since I’m sure that’s not a message they were intending to conceal in this movie, I’ll let that go.  Instead, I’ll just say that it is a pretty intense movie, but it doesn’t have much more going for it than that.

 

AMERICAN ULTRA

I have never been shy about my hatred of Kristen Stewart.  I find her mostly unbearable, but with an extremely rare chance to be slightly tolerable.  That doesn’t mean I liked this movie, but her presence didn’t really have an effect on my feelings towards the movie, which wound up just being okay.  I like the idea of the movie, though it’s been done before with brainwashed candidates only being less stoned than this one.  It wasn’t really funny (and I wasn’t even really aware that it was supposed to be until reading about it afterwards), so that would mean the movie would depend on its action scenes to impress … and it didn’t.  They weren’t bad, but if I see the best sleeper cell agent ever getting activated, I want that shit to turn into a Jet Li movie.  Jesse Eisenberg can pull off the stoner wussy guy part, and even can pull off the badass facial performance, but there wasn’t anything interesting happening when he got to fighting.  Michael Cera did it in Scott Pilgrim, they should’ve been able to do it here.  Bu the movie isn’t terrible, and John Leguizamo is great in his short scenes, but the movie is skippable.

 

SEPTEMBER

THE MARTIAN

The talking up for this movie scared me off for a while.  It just seemed like it couldn’t possibly live up to what people were saying about it.  And how interesting can a movie be that’s just Matt Damon alone on a planet with no one to talk to?  Well turns out it can live up to it and it can be really interesting.  It’s really grounded (which is a strange thing to say about a movie that happens on Mars, but he WAS on the ground of Mars, sooooo…) and Matt Damon does a fantastic job keeping it emotional, funny, exciting, and interesting all the way through.  I wouldn’t say it was necessarily edge of your seat the whole time like Gravity was because there was enough down time of Matt Damon just trying to do small things like farming to stay alive, but Matt Damon never let it be boring.  Everything was amazing and enjoyable about this movie, and you really need to see it.

 

PAN

I wouldn’t call Pan a “bad” movie, but it sure was odd.  I mean, it’s a Peter Pan sequel but they have the pirates singing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Blitzkrieg Bop” while they work to mine out a rock that is the representation of fairy dust, but that brings it to another problem: why is there a rock representing fairy dust?  This is a Peter Pan movie!  If you take all the magic out of a Peter Pan movie, you just have a movie about pirates, Indians, and an annoying boy.  But there is still some magic to be found in this movie (both in the context of the movie and in the movie itself) and their wasn’t really anything wrong with it.  There just wasn’t very much right with it either.  It was pretty and colorful in parts of the movie (especially once they met the Natives) and the story itself was an interesting enough idea, and the actors were even great.  It just didn’t contain much explanation for why the movie was made or why anyone should see it.

 

OCTOBER

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION

Yup.  I still like these movies.  I don’t know why and (for the most part) you probably shouldn’t listen to much I have to say about the series unless you also like seeing movies about the ghost of the dead horse this movie series continues to beat.  It answers some of the questions left by the rest of the series and introduces a cool new idea with the camera that can see the ghost world, but that kind of takes away from things.  Alien and Jaws were good because they didn’t show the Xenomorph or the shark for as long as they could.  I guess 26 movies was long enough for the Paranormal Activity people, but nothing you show us will be as scary as what we could imagine.  And it wasn’t.  Toby was mostly a black liquid looking thing.  The movie’s not particularly spooky, but there are enough jump scares that it can get your blood pumping.  This movie is good enough if you’re looking for something like that.

 

SPECTRE

Because I watched both in the same day, I was really able to see the similarities between this and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.  The government wants to shut down this very effective organization because it’s outdated, there’s this uber-bad guy that knows all the hero’s tricks, and they even got Léa Seydoux who was in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol!  And I’m sure none of it was coincidence!  Or maybe it was.  Spectre was fine.  Not the best or the worst James Bond movie, and not even the best or worst Daniel Craig James Bond movie, but pretty decent.  Some good action, nice car, little light on the gadgets, couple of really good looking women.  If you’re looking for more out of a James Bond movie, you don’t know what a James Bond is.

 

NOVEMBER

CREED

These Stallone movie sequels are dangerous and unpredictable.  Even if you just look at the Rocky series.  The first one was amazing and then they go straight downhill to number 5, and then number 6 is pretty good again.  So what can anyone assume when going into Rocky 7?  It’s actually better than 6.  Maybe as good as the first one.  It’s a fantastic picture.  Great story about Apollo Creed’s son coming to grips with his troublesome parentage, with Rocky dealing with his own problems, a little love story with the girl that makes terrible music that Adonis Creed gets involved with.  The performances were also great, especially Michael B. Jordan and Stallone.  Stallone can really turn it on sometimes.  A lot of people forget about that because of … half his IMDb page.  And the fights were also pretty great, but were just a few moments.  The focus of the movie was more the human adventure as it should be.  As the first Rocky was.  Speaking of which, a few moments were either derivative or homage-ey, depending on how you look at it.  Like someone gets sick as inspiration to the fighter like what happened to Mick in Rocky 3.  And the outcome of the movie has similarities to the first movie.  But this never becomes a problem.  Got all teary-eyed in this movie a couple of times, and I think that’s a pretty big compliment.  Go see this.

 

DECEMBER

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

I won’t typically see a movie in theaters multiple times, nor will I usually go see a movie the week of its release in theaters.  I’ll do it for this movie.  I tried to keep my hopes low.  I tried to remind myself how I felt when I got this excited and saw Phantom Menace, but it didn’t work.  After 2 days of hearing rave reviews from my friends and being terrified of spoilers, I broke down and went and saw this movie.  Worth.  It.  I should’ve known too.  I wasn’t a fan of Star Trek until they gave it to J.J. Abrams, so what would happen if they gave the same man my childhood to make a movie out of?  He’d make a movie that took me right back to my childhood and had tears exploding out of my face in a couple different places, both from sadness over something that happened in the movie (people who have seen it know what I’m talking about) and once out of what I can only explain as sheer awesome welling up in my face and leaving no room for liquid in there.  The story was exactly what it should be, the look was brilliant as they did as much with practical effects as they could, the old cast was amazing and the new cast was fantastic.  I’m shifting all my prepubescent love from Carrie Fisher over to Daisy Ridley.  Carrie had her chance and never made a move.  Sorry, love.  I can’t wait forever.  And you shouldn’t wait to see this movie!  What is wrong with you if you haven’t seen it yet?!

 

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The Films of 2013


I may have gone a little overboard this year.  I saw a lot of movies last year, but I saw 11 more than that this year.  57 out of the 280 movies that Wikipedia listed as a 2013 release.  That’s 20% of the movies that were released last year by my very terrible math.  And I’m not even getting paid to do this stuff!  Nor am I getting paid to break down all of the movies I saw last year in an 8,000 plus word review of all the films of 2013, but I’m doing that anyway.  And since I’m sick of writing words after having done just that, I’m just going to stop right here and see if you have the balls to read my review of the films of 2013.  Good luck and Godspeed.

JANUARY

THE GRANDMASTER

I went to see this movie pretty much at the behest of my Film Criticism teacher.  I hadn’t really entertained the idea of seeing it from just seeing the trailers and I’m not sure why.  I loved all of the Ip Man movies, so why wouldn’t I love this?  Well I saw the movie and that’s when I found out why.  It wasn’t anything like the Ip Man movies.  Fighting was replaced with boringness and talking and artsy fartsy stuff.  This is not to say that this was a bad movie, but it bothered me because of the expectations I went in with.  It’s more of a drama than a martial arts movie.  It’s a good drama, but a shitty martial arts movie.  And that’s just not what I wanted this movie to be.

A HAUNTED HOUSE

You know how Netflix thinks it has a handle on the movies you will like?  This movie proved that it doesn’t.  Well, I guess I can’t say that because I request to watch so many movies that I think will be awful that Netflix probably has a hard time getting a read on me.  Well this movie was a parody of Paranormal Activity.  Much like the greater majority of the Scary Movies, this one wasn’t very funny.  It wasn’t painfully unfunny, but there wasn’t much reason to waste any time on it.

GANGSTER SQUAD

I actually watched this movie 2 days ago.  I never really thought it looked that interesting so I never really felt the need to look into it.  While at work one day recently, I saw parts of it on the TV (although I couldn’t hear any of it) and decided it looked interesting enough to give it a watch.  And it was!  It was … thoroughly okay!  Decent enough action, some great performances, but not a whole lot I found interesting in the story.  Still, it was a decent enough watch.

HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS

I saw this movie in a dollar cinema and overpaid.  It wasn’t a bad movie, but it didn’t really seem to have a purpose.  It was a fun idea, but the fun of that idea wasn’t really realized by the basic script with laughs that typically fell flat.  The action wasn’t fun either, and the performances didn’t do anything spectacular.  It’s not a bad movie, but since you’ll have a hard time finding it cheaper than a dollar, I can’t really recommend it.

MAMA

In my review for this movie, I called it “super passionate about being mediocre.”  I stand by that.  It was a fine movie, but there wasn’t anything spectacular about it.  It looked pretty nifty and the performers all did a great job, but there weren’t any scares to be found in this movie and if there aren’t any scares in a horror movie, there isn’t much of a point.  I still think the movie works well enough to see it as a rental.

THE LAST STAND

I watched this movie a long time ago and never bothered to review it.  I think we all know what it is.  It’s Arnold Schwarzenegger trying to make his come back into the world of poorly written, poorly conceived, mindless action movies with … well … another one.  It is what it is.  You probably don’t need to watch it.

FEBRUARY

THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2: GHOSTS OF GEORGIA

My unnatural love for ghost movies drew me to see this one.  If I could have my love for these movies removed, I would.  I thought next to nothing about this movie.  I took one note pointing out the fact that their idea to make this movie scary was to make a ghost walk by every other minute or so and then I watched the rest of the movie.  Not scary, not interesting, not cool, and it didn’t even make sense.  It seems to have nothing to do with the first Haunting in Connecticut movie.  Not even the state it takes place in.  This is in Georgia!  If there is a haunting in Connecticut, it’s not going to be seen here.  The first Haunting in Connecticut movie wasn’t even that good that you would think you needed to ride it’s coattails to fame and fortune.  Just call the movie Ghosts of Georgia and let everyone find out that this is a whole new and different underwhelming horror movie.

A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD

So this movie happened.  I watched this movie like 3 weeks ago and I have no memory of it whatsoever.  I’m sure that means it’s great.  John McClane has a son now and he’s trying to save him in Russia and there’s a bad guy and then stuff blows up.  If any of that sounds interesting, rent this movie.  If not, good!

DARK SKIES

This movie was really close to being a good comedy.  …But it was a horror movie.  There were no scares, and what they attempted to scare me with made me laugh, like Keri Russell banging her head on the window.  It still kind of tickles me.  It didn’t really make sense and everyone seemed to get bored before they arrived at the climax of the movie, where the movie seemed to sheepishly back out of the theater, hoping no one would get mad that they could no longer get their money back.  And the performances were only the stereotype characters of any horror movie.  The mom figures out that something strange is going on, but the husband refuses to acknowledge it … even after she just found him standing in the backyard with blood pouring from his nose … as per usual!

MARCH

OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL

WRITTENVIDEO

Oh, this movie.  I feel like I’ve done enough to this movie already after having written a review for it and posted a video review, but I’ve still got one more go around with it, I suppose.  It was watchable, but only just so.  The story was basic, the graphics were pretty, but most of the starring characters were way over the top in their portrayal.  It was like the original Oz movie, but this time we have a lot of other options for movies and have no reason for this one.

THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE

I feel like this movie got beaten up pretty badly.  It was talked about by many people who wouldn’t even watch it as a stupid comedy.  Well take it from someone who actually watched it: …yeah, that’s kind of true.  But it wasn’t painfully bad.  It was cute.  I feel like that is the best I can do for this movie.  It had its funny moments.  I like the cast.  Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi are great, Olivia Wilde is hot, and Jim Carrey kind of carried the movie.  His parts were typically funny, if spread out a little too far.  It’s not a great movie, but it’s not a terrible movie either.

ADMISSION

I kind of watched this movie on a whim.  I guess I was disappointed because I can’t help but have high hopes for a movie starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd.  It wasn’t up to their standards, but Tina Fey didn’t write the thing.  It probably would’ve been better if she had.  It was a decent enough story and was pretty heartwarming, but nowhere near as funny as I wanted it to be.

OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN

This was the serious version of White House Down.  Basically the same idea, but not very fun.  It was better than I expected it to be because it was saved by some decent action and performances that were of a quality that I didn’t expect from this movie, but the story was super simple as they probably realized it was barely necessary for anyone going to see this movie.  It’s an okay way to kill some time.

G.I. JOE: RETALIATION – VIDEO

I was pleased with this movie because it wasn’t as bad as the first one.  They set the bar low and managed to keep themselves from tripping on it as they passed into the second one.  The story was dumb, but you’d be dumb if you’d think I’d have anything else to say about it.  My mind would be blown if there was any good writing to be found here and I would be completely unable to write this review.  But the action was pretty good.  Ninjas fighting on ropes while hanging from a mountain?  You got it!  Blowing up entire towns?  Why not?!  And The Rock leads this movie, and I like that guy.  So it’s dumb, but it’s fun.  So I guess you should watch it.

APRIL

OBLIVION

I actually liked this movie.  It helped that I went into this movie with low to no expectations.  The story didn’t really impress me too much, but it was interesting if a bit slow-moving in parts.  But the look of the movie was pretty nice, and there were some great performances.  It’s a decent enough watch and probably good for a rental.

PAIN & GAIN

I watched this movie and didn’t find it particularly memorable or remarkable.  Perhaps Michael Bay should just stick to straight up action movies that we all find humorous instead of trying to make intentional comedies.  The story of this movie was made slightly more interesting because it was at least mostly real events, but made less interesting because it wasn’t written very well and most of the story was told in annoying voice over instead of just shown to us.  Bay is also a hug fan of filming people from below while spinning the camera around them, and also thinks that The Rock should not be filmed any other way.  But The Rock remains an interesting character, and it was amusing to watch him spiral down in the later part of the movie.  Still, I don’t think there’s anything in this movie worth watching.

MAY

FAST & FURIOUS 6

Paul Walker’s final movie (as far as I know) before his untimely death that spawned the people of the world to spew out the same joke about how his death resembled his most famous movies.  It is my hope that this refrain was finally silenced as everyone making those jokes realized everyone else was making the exact same joke.  His final release before his death was about as underwhelming as those jokes were, but it wasn’t a bad movie.  In the same vein as Fast Five, this movie has a really basic and predictable story and acting work that does not impress, but the action was solid.  Not quite as spectacular as in the previous movie, but good.  I wound up buying this movie, though I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the same.  It’s at least worth a rental.

EPIC

This movie was cute if not very substantial.  It really is just a kid’s movie and didn’t resonate with me in any way.  It was pretty.  That’s about all I’ve got.  If you have kids, then this movie is fine.  Otherwise there shouldn’t be much inspiration to see it.

NOW YOU SEE ME

WRITTENVIDEO

I liked the premise of this movie more than I liked the movie itself.  The idea of people using magic tricks to rob banks and fight was a cool idea, but there wasn’t quite enough magic in the storytelling.  Telling us to look for misdirection made me do just that, and the rest of the story and the mystery they were going for just unfolded.  But the movie was presented very well and the performances were pretty great.  I wouldn’t buy this movie, but I’m not bummed that I watched it.

JUNE

THE BLING RING

I don’t know why I saw this movie.  Oh wait, yes I do.  It was Emma Watson.  When I eventually meet and marry Emma Watson, I feel like it would offend her if I say I haven’t seen all of her movies.  Hopefully she won’t ask me if I liked them all as well because this movie didn’t really work for me.  Most of the movie is pretty people sitting around having inane conversations.  Then those pretty people start robbing places while having the same inane conversations.  The characters in this movie just made me angry with their stupidity, but I guess I can’t really blame the movie because this stuff actually happened.  But I wouldn’t have hung out with the real people and I don’t really want to hang out with the fake versions by watching their movie.  Most of the performances were fine, but there just wasn’t anything in the movie I cared to watch.  Except for Emma Watson.

WORLD WAR Z

WRITTENVIDEO

People hated this movie a lot because of the changes they made from the book.  I have not and will not read the book, so none of that bothered me.  And that allowed me to enjoy the movie.  The story was interesting all of the way through, even though a few parts were a little slow and a couple of things didn’t make sense to me.  It looked really good and the action created a lot of excitement and suspense.  And all of the performances in the movie were great.  I had no complaints.

WHITE HOUSE DOWN

This was the funny version of Olympus Has Fallen.  Well, it WANTED to be funny.  I don’t know if I’d say it fully arrived at that benchmark.  All you really need to know going into this movie is that it’s a Rolland Emmerich movie.  Like all of his movies that I’ve seen, they’re really stupid, but they lavish in their stupidity.  If you’re going to make stupid movies, overcome that with lots of fun.  Shut off your brain and start clapping at shiny things and pretty colors, because I kinda recommend you rent this movie.

JULY

THE LONE RANGER

This movie was beaten up by critics, but I actually didn’t mind it.  I didn’t think it was good, but I didn’t find it painful as most of them seemed to.  I have no ties with the Lone Ranger mythos so this movie didn’t ruin anything.  I also like the quirky Johnny Depp performances, though it seems most critics do not.  Captain Jack Sparrow was a lot of fun, even if you put a dead bird on his head.  I thought this money had a decent amount of funny moments and some decent enough action.  And only one of those action scenes was ruined with the old Lone Ranger music that completely didn’t fit the scene.  I don’t think this was a good movie, but I’d call it an okay movie.  I recommend renting this movie and reaching your own conclusions about it.  I think the criticism has been a little unjust.

RED 2

I really liked the first RED movie.  I wasn’t expecting it to be as cool and stylized as it was, and the action was great.  Then they came out with this movie.  It tried to be as cool and stylized as the first movie, but it felt more like it was just repeating the first movie with a slightly different and less interesting story.  In the first movie he stepped out of a spinning car.  In this one he steps into a spinning car!  But I’ve seen that already!  Show me something new because your story isn’t that interesting and your cast isn’t trying that hard, even though they’re mostly spectacular actors.  And I’m always down to watch Mary-Louise Parker.  She’s hot, cute and funny.  Speaking of which…

R.I.P.D.

She was in R.I.P.D. also!  And I liked this movie more than I liked RED 2 while still not thinking it was that great of a movie.  This movie also had nothing special in the story or the action, but I think what made the movie work was the chemistry between the actors.  Ryan Reynolds is likeable, Jeff Bridges is basically doing Rooster Cogburn from True Grit (which is always a good thing), and Mary-Louise Parker is Mary-Louise Parker.  This movie is fine for a rental.

THE CONJURING

A horror movie never really needs to win with the story.  There’s a haunting and you can either fix it by finding what it wants and taking care of it or leaving the house.  I guess you can also just die, but that’s no way to end a movie.  What a horror movie really needs to do is create an atmosphere that builds anxiety, gets you on the edge of your seat, and frightens you.  This movie did that fairly well.  It didn’t really frighten, but it did create a nice spooky atmosphere that made this movie acceptable as a horror movie.  It wasn’t quite good enough to need to see in theaters, but now that you can rent it, I can get behind recommending that you do that.

THE WOLVERINE

The real problem with this movie is that it totally should’ve been in my best of for this year, but I just couldn’t do that.  How can you make a movie involving the X-Men or one of their biggest characters that doesn’t get me going?  ME!!  I love the X-Men!  Avengers was my best movie of the entire year last year!  You’re already closer than any other movie before I even see you!  I guess this movie wasn’t really that much closer because X-Men Origins: Wolverine was so bad that I was torn about what I should think as I went into it.  It was better than that piece of shit, but still not great.  The story was okay but the dialog was deflating.  And I guess the story is to blame for the feeling that Wolverine himself was a little diminished because they decided to take away his healing abilities, but they didn’t let it diminish him nearly as much as I expected it to.  But if you’re building a movie around such a great character, you can’t come mediocre.

AUGUST

WE’RE THE MILLERS

I didn’t find myself particularly interested in seeing this movie at first.  I like Jason Sudeikis well enough, but I’ve seen him in some bad movies before so he’s not really a draw.  But one of my friends did recommend this movie, so I decided to give it a shot.  Okay, it was really because Jennifer Aniston looked hot as a stripper.  And she was!  And this movie wasn’t that bad.  It had plenty enough funny moments and it had Jennifer Aniston getting sexy.  That’s good enough for me.

ELYSIUM

I didn’t have any inspiration to see this movie.  I wasn’t that big of a fan of District 9 and didn’t feel inspired to see the movie that followed it up and seemed extremely similar.  But as the end of the year was approaching, a lot of people were telling me that this movie would definitely be making it on their best movies of the year, so I felt the need to at least give it a shot.  I still feel like I was right.  Just like District 9, a lot of people like it but I didn’t get that excited by it.  The story was okay but really just seemed like it broke down to, “Rich people are bad!”  The performances were okay, but I could definitely see what some people were saying about the accents sounding weird, but I thought that Kruger guy’s accent was way weirder than Jodie Fosters.  I guess the thing I noted about this movie that it did well was the gore.  There was a lot of really cool gore in this movie, from people’s faces getting blasted out to guys blowing up, but other than that I wasn’t really into it.  But since so many people seemed to love this movie, I’d still recommend that you watch it.  You might be one of … THEM!

KICK-ASS 2

I was a huge fan of the original Kick-Ass movie, but this one fell a little flat with me.  It didn’t lose me completely, but it had a high bar to measure up to that it just couldn’t.  The action was a little spread out for my tastes, but was good when it happened.  The story wasn’t mind-blowing, but it was good.  And the performances were great as we had seen in the first movie.  So basically what I’m saying for this movie is that there was nothing particularly wrong with it, but the first one was better.  Still at least worth a rental.  If I hadn’t forgotten that it’s out on DVD already, I probably would’ve remembered to buy it already.

JOBS

I confess that my only inspiration to watch this movie was in hopes of having a movie to put in my worst movies of the year list.  Ashton Kutcher is in it!  How could it lose?!  Well it did because it was just mediocre and not horrible.  It’s basically just the life of Steve Jobs, which is somewhat interesting, I suppose.  Probably more so if you’re a big Apple lover.  But I’m writing this on Microsoft Word.  Microsoft Word is running on Windows 8.  Windows 8 is running on a computer I built.  I use only one Apple product.  I don’t really care about Steve Jobs life.  This movie would’ve had to be much better or much worse for me to have paid much attention to it.  I’m not going to recommend it unless you’re some crazy Machead.

THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES

I won’t be going too in depth with this review because my friend Tara specifically requested this movie as a video review.  I usually don’t accept requests for video reviews because a movie needs to have a lot of material for mocking to be worthy of a video review.  Tara seemed aware of that when she suggested this movie.  It’s not bad, but it’s definitely not for me.  It’s another movie that makes me think I need to write some vaguely sci-fi fantasy love story for teens.  Those things are blowing up right now.  Even the worst of them is being turned into a movie in hopes of becoming the next Harry Potter or Twilight.  Well this movie is kind of Twilight.  I didn’t like that movie either.  It’s not a painfully bad movie, but it’s not really worth watching.  What probably will be worth watching is my video review of this movie.  I took a lot of notes on this thing.

SEPTEMBER

HELL BABY

I like a lot of people involved in this movie.  Tom Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, Rob Corddry, Keegan-Michael Key, Riki Lindhome, Michael Ian Black, Kumail Nanjiani, etc.  I like all of these people.  And the female one got full on naked in the movie.  Okay, THAT’S probably the real reason I watched it.  But the movie was pretty good too.  It looked pretty good and the writing was okay, but the cast they got elevated what would otherwise be okay jokes well into funny.  It’s definitely at least worth checking out.

RIDDICK – VIDEO

I haven’t been that big of a fan of the Riddick series, but I decided to see this movie because it was there when I went to the theaters once.  It’s really not far removed from a remake of the first movie that made the character popular.  I would never have been so bold as to go into this movie expecting much out of the story, but if they’re not going to have a fantastic story they at least need some good action.  Even that wasn’t anything special.  They just want to constantly remind us that Riddick is a badass.  The best way to do that is to make a cool movie next time.  Let’s try that one out if we make another.

INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2

I feel like I could cut and paste my review for Kick-Ass 2 into this and have the same effect.  Solid movie, but the first movie was better.  The story was just okay and some of the things didn’t make that much sense to me, but didn’t bother me that much in the long run.  Some of the things they did were cool and innovative and the performances in the movie were pretty strong.  The thing that I can say about this movie and not Kick-Ass 2 is that it didn’t really build tension and didn’t really scare as it should have.  It’s still an okay movie, worthy at least of a rental.

OCTOBER

CARRIE

I was forced to watch this movie as part of my midterm for my Film Criticism class where I had to compare this movie to the original.  But I didn’t like the original that much, so how would a remake do?  The answer is fairly well.  I liked the remake much more than I liked the original, but that’s not saying too much.  I guess I’d call the remake of Carrie, “Okay.”  The story was almost identical and the only performance I’d say that I missed from the original movie was Sissy Spacek.  Chloë Moretz did a good job, but Spacek was probably better.  Piper Laurie was always a little over the top for my taste and Julianne Moore played it much more real.  The main improvement was in the look, which would obviously have been improved over the years.  I liked this movie better than the original, but I still only thought this movie was okay.  At least worth a rental, but not necessarily a purchase that needs to happen.

THOR: THE DARK WORLD

The original Thor didn’t do that much for me, but I’ve also never been that big of a fan of Thor in the first place.  I didn’t really start liking Thor as a character until the Avengers movie.  I also like everyone that was involved in that movie in any capacity.  The sequel was a fairly big improvement from the original.  These kinds of movies always benefit from not having to explain all the setup and background stuff to the audience.  This movie also benefited from having an entertaining and even sometimes humorous script to work with, as well as some solid action and great actors.  I especially liked Kat Dennings and Stellan Skarsgård, who were the ones that brought the most humor to their performances.  Hemsworth, Portman, and Hiddleston also did the great jobs that I would expect from them.  I’d recommend this movie for a purchase.  That’s probably what I’ll be doing.

NOVEMBER

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE

You may recall that the first Hunger Games movie made it into my list of the worst movies of the year.  Since you’re not finding this part of the review in that section, it can be assumed that this movie went a little better.  And it’s true that this movie was better than the first one.  I still think the names are stupid and I’d prefer Elizabeth Banks as hot instead of all Lady Gaga’ed out, but they weren’t as annoying with their camera choices allowing them to capture the action better.  I’m still not too big of a fan of the story, but I wouldn’t really begrudge anyone for liking this movie as I did for the first movie.  Hopefully it’s a sign of exponential growth for the next movie, but only time will tell.

DECEMBER

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

The biggest problem I’ve had with the Hobbit movies so far is my anger over the fact that there does not seem to be a need for these to be split into three movies.  This time I got angry that I didn’t see Smaug desolate anything, but I was happy that I didn’t have to spend a half hour watching dwarves eat dinner and play with dishes.  Instead, we get into a slightly more interesting section of the story and are treated to some great action and fight scenes thanks to our new elven friends introduced in this movie.  Even if this movie should have been part of only one or two Hobbit movies, it was still an interesting movie to watch.  I’m hoping the third one will be a lot better because we’ll finally get to see Smaug do something interesting, and we’ll find that out later.

ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES

I think the problem with this movie is that it was a sequel.  One problem it encountered was the fact that the first Anchorman is such a classic that it’s going to be hard to live up to that.  The second problem is that, in order to live up to its predecessor, it’s going to try to rehash the jokes we loved in the first one.  People loved the joke about Paul Rudd’s cologne in the first one.  Let’s do that again and try to ramp it up a little bit.  But I’ve already seen that joke!  Too bad!  There were some very funny moments in this movie, but I doubt it will be anywhere near as quoted as the original was.  The cast is still great though.  Carell and Wiig’s relationship is hilarious, and the cameos in the news battle are epic.  I still say this is a movie that is worth seeing, but it’s not as good as the original, and you should go in knowing that.

47 RONIN

We all had expectations for this movie.  It’s like the Last Samurai with Keanu Reeves.  It simply must be terrible.  But it actually isn’t.  It’s certainly not fantastic, but it’s okay.  Much like Last Samurai, actually.  The story wasn’t anything shocking, but I suppose it’s also somewhat based on a real myth, so they probably tried to stick to something around that.  Most of the visuals worked well and some of the action was pretty exciting, and the performances weren’t bad.  I still take issue with any Keanu Reeves performance where he doesn’t use the word, “Whoa,” but I’m sure that’s something he’s actually trying to avoid.  This movie isn’t something you necessarily need to go and see while it’s in theaters, but I’d recommend it for a rental.

THE WORST FILMS OF 2013

HONORABLE MENTIONS

BULLET TO THE HEAD

You could say this movie was mediocre, but only if you were being nice.  In reality, it’s pretty damned boring.  The story was simple and the dialogue was crap, and they didn’t even have the common decency to fix those problems with some great action.  At least not until the very end of the movie, but they had lost me a long time before that.  There’s no good reason to watch this except to make fun of it.

AFTER EARTH – VIDEO

We all know what this is.  It’s a bad movie, yes, but it’s not nearly as bad as it was treated like.  The story is completely lame.  It’s a really long fetch quest.  Spend an entire movie getting to the ass of your ship to light off a rescue beacon.  The look also wanted to be spectacular, but never really impressed.  Will Smith was okay, but I don’t really like him as a jerk.  I like him in comedies.  And the entire movie seemed like it wanted us to care about Jaden Smith.  I still don’t recommend that.  I also don’t recommend this movie.

THE LAST EXORCISM PART II

The thing that made me most angry about this movie is the stupidity of its title.  The Last Exorcism … Part Two.  The second final exorcism.  The last movie was the Last Exorcism and this one is the next one.  I hate you going into this movie.  And then you’re not a very good movie.  There wasn’t anything impressive in the story and none of the movie was particularly scary.  The only thing good in the movie was Ashley Bell.  She’s pretty good.  But there’s still no reason to see the movie.

FIFTH WORST

Machete Kills (2013)MACHETE KILLS

Some people like a good campy movie.  That is my assumption at least because they’ve made two Machete movies and seem to be making a third one.  I thought the Grindhouse movies had their charms, but the first Machete was fairly mediocre and the second one was just crap.  I get the feeling like they wanted their story to be shitty because it was within the camp parameters they were going for, but I don’t have any appreciation for camp.  Maybe if they had some good action or performances it could make it more tolerable, but camp doesn’t allow for that either.  All it allows for is a super basic story, unconvincing violence, less than spectacular action, and cheesy performances.  I see no reason to watch this movie.

FOURTH WORST

Getaway (2013)GETAWAY

As best I can tell, no one wanted to see this movie.  It’s like the movie Phonebooth if the phone booth had wheels and an annoying ex-Disney star in there with you.  The bad guy had no discernable purpose in the movie and his motivation would qualify as the entirety of the story.  Was he trying to make money or was he trying to make a former race car driver believe in his abilities again?  I can’t remember and I don’t give a shit.  Either option qualifies as either boring and average or stupid.  If you’re interested in car chases, this movie has that in spades.  But if you’re not, then this movie might come across as a series of boring with no other purpose … like it did with me.  For the performances, Ethan Hawke did okay and Jon Voight did as good as you could with a mostly exclusively vocal performance, but it should not shock anyone that Selena Gomez cannot pull off being a badass little thug girl.  Go ahead and skip this movie.

THIRD WORST

The Purge (2013)THE PURGE

What?  Ethan Hawke is back already?!  There’s no way I’d have movies that would share actors again in this list.  But this movie sucked.  I kind of knew it would because that’s all I had heard about it before I decided to watch it.  They were right.  I guess the premise of the movie was cool enough, but it also doesn’t really seem to make that much sense to me.  I would like to think that, given a day where the illegal were legal, that most people wouldn’t take that opportunity to go around killing people.  It’s perhaps a bit naïve way to look at the world, but it’s how I prefer to.  It just makes me feel better.  But even if I wasn’t out looking to kill people, you’d better believe I would kill someone that came into my house trying to kill me and my family, whether there were rules that day or not and whether they were just some random gang of jerk kids or my asshole neighbors.  Neither would survive the night while I was still alive and kickin’.  And if I had anything to say about it, my whole family would survive as well … except for maybe my asshole daughter.  She got on my nerves, regardless of her somewhat hotness.  So basically what I’m saying is this was an interesting premise that frustrated me with its shitty writing and underwhelming everything else.  So I’m not recommending this either.

RUNNER UP

Spring Breakers (2013)SPRING BREAKERS

What?!  Now Selena Gomez is back!  Was the Getaway so bad that I hated every actor in it enough to hate any other movies they were in?  No, they just picked some bad movies this year.  And Selena Gomez is garbage.  Also, I hate Harmony Korine movies.  Other critics love this guy’s movies because of their social commentary or whatever.  I hate them because they seem like pretentious artsy crap.  And that’s what this movie felt like to me.  It was filled with annoying people I don’t want to be around or watch on film.  A bunch of annoying girls that rob people, a bunch of guys whose brains have been fried by drugs, and a rapper who would tattoo an ice cream cone on his face and can’t act.  The story of this movie was super simplistic and the movie was prolonged by having the movie repeat itself constantly.  I imagine this movie was actually half as long as it turned out if they cut out all the moments of repeating themselves, and those moments made the movie feel twice as long as it actually was.  Is there social commentary in this movie?  Probably, but there are less annoying ways to present that message.  As it was, the only thing I enjoyed about this movie was the titties.  They were abundant.  But you can also find that stuff on the internet without an annoying movie to accompany them.

THE WORST MOVIE OF 2013

Movie 43 (2013)MOVIE 43

This movie was aggressively and furiously unfunny, filled with a level of comedy that I assume might amuse people that could consider it a wonderful and productive night to sit around and say “underwear” and “poop” to be met with uproarious laughter.  My mother tells me that this was my pinnacle of comedy … when I was 2.  So if you hate your 2-year-old, this might be the movie to show them.  The movie even seemed aware of how painfully bad their jokes were because it was bookended by scenes of a person pitching this movie to a studio and being turned down because of how painfully unfunny and blatantly offensive their attempts at humor were, so much so that he was only able to get the movie green lit by pulling a gun and a grenade on the studio head.  I think that was based on a true story.  Worse than their attempts at comedy were what they did to people I like and respect.  It opens with Wolverine on a date with Academy Award Winner Kate Winslet and Wolverine … has balls on his neck.  And that’s the entire joke.  They then went on to dilute my affections for people like Halle Berry, Naomi Watts, Elizabeth Banks, Kristen Bell, Patrick Warburton, Anna Faris, John Hodgman, Matt Walsh, Seth MacFarlane, and Stephen Merchant, just to name a few.  If some of those people had any input in the script at all, they could have made a funny movie.  Instead, even their rare funny premises had shit thrown at them (literally) in order to sustain them as a sketch.  The most painful thing this movie caused was that people I know and respect for their sense of humor said that they laughed at one or two points during this movie.  That was the unkindest cut of all.

 

THE BEST FILMS OF 2013

HONORABLE MENTIONS

IRON MAN 3

Iron Man 3 was a good movie, but the nerdiness in me was ultimately disappointed by what it delivered.  I liked the story, but I absolutely hated what they did with the Mandarin.  I was not asking for them to go supernatural with the character and give him a set of magical rings; I was only asking for what I was promised.  You made the Mandarin into a real world style terrorist from what I saw in the trailers, and Ben Kingsley rocked that part of the performance.  But that’s not the way you went, was it?  I was completely deflated at the reveal for the Mandarin and it at least partially ruined the movie for me.  But the story was pretty good and the action was solid, although I didn’t really appreciate how disposable the Iron Man suits were.  Enemies were cutting through them like butter and Tony Stark was jumping into new ones to get destroyed.  I think he builds them a little bit sturdier than that.  But I did like the movie and the performances were expectedly great, I just couldn’t help but be disappointed by parts of it.

PACIFIC RIM

WRITTENVIDEO

I liked this movie a lot, but I couldn’t put it much higher than an honorable mention because the story was nothing special.  It wasn’t a bad story, but there was nothing new or unexpected in it.  But fuck you if you saw this movie expecting more than that.  I saw this movie for monsters and robots punching each other in the face.  And this movie brings that.  It looks great, it actually feels like giant robots and monsters laying waste to each other, and the action is plentiful.  Nothing special in this movie by way of story or acting, but that action makes it worth the ride.

MAN OF STEEL

WRITTENVIDEO

There were things that were not to be liked in this movie, but I thought the movie was pretty well done anyway.  Sure, it doesn’t seem like Superman to engage in combat that would level his two favorite cities, but I don’t like Superman anyway, so I don’t really care that it didn’t seem like Superman.  What did seem like Superman was the story.  It was the same story we’ve seen before in any number of Superman origin stories, and nearly identical to the story of Superman 2, but at least they didn’t use the old staple of the green rock to create drama as they have with every other Superman movie in the past.  But overall, the performances were good and the action was solid, so this was still an enjoyable watch, and probably the best Superman movie I’ve seen.

FIFTH BEST

The World's End (2013)THE WORLD’S END

I recently got into a conversation with a friend of mine who mentioned this movie as a great disappointment.  I reminded him that the only reason he could find this movie disappointing is because it was the third part in a very strong trilogy of movies.  On its own, this movie was really good.  It was a strong story that maybe lost itself in getting a little heavy handed and had a weak ending, but it counteracted that with a good amount of funny and awesome moments.  And the cast is fantastic.  The only real problem with this movie is that Shaun of the Dead is one of the best movies ever in my opinion, and Hot Fuzz is a fantastic movie as well.  Compared to those movies, it doesn’t quite match up.  On its own, it’s a solid movie that’s definitely worth watching.

FOURTH BEST

Evil Dead (2013)EVIL DEAD

I thought this movie was awesome.  Look, I respect the original Evil Dead (even with its camp appeal), but I always liked the following two movies better because they just went for outright comedy instead of camp.  It never really worked as a horror movie for me.  The remake, however, did.  I felt like they improved on the original in every way.  It looked better and that brought better gore.  Neither one of these movies was ever actually able to scare me, but they had some suspense and this one works really well as a slasher flick.  The performances were pretty good in this movie as well and the only thing that left me wanting was the lack of Bruce Campbell.  He wouldn’t really have made sense in this movie, but Bruce is awesome and I’m always going to miss him if you remake one of his movies without him.  But he was the only thing I missed, and I thought this movie was pretty awesome.

THIRD BEST

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS

WRITTENVIDEO

This movie is a total win for me.  I’ve always made public the fact that I chose Star Wars in the Trek/Wars conflict and never really gave Star Trek a chance.  The first Star Trek remake movie was really good, but Into Darkness was so good that it actually made a Star Trek fan out of me.  The story was fantastic, exciting, emotional, and suspenseful, so much so that it inspired me to watch the entire original series, the entire original movie series, and even purchase and get into Next Generation.  That’s a lot of inspiration caused by one movie.  That kind of inspiration can only be caused by some good writing, some fantastic performances, and some great action, and that’s what this movie delivers.  It’s not going to win any non-visual Academy Awards, but fuck those weepy drama movies.  Give me an awesome action movie any day.

RUNNER UP

This Is the End (2013)THIS IS THE END

I regretted having to write a review for this movie.  I pride myself in occasionally being able to add a little bit of comedy to a movie by making jokes in my reviews, but how could I add comedy to one of the best comedies I’ve seen in years.  I don’t think I’ve found a movie as consistently funny as this one since Airplane!  I could scarcely go 5 minutes in this movie without laughing out loud, and the same could be said about the second time I watched the movie after I purchased it.  Using the end of the world as a backdrop for a comedy is an innovative idea, but the writing in that regard was a little simplistic.  Being that it was a comedy, the only writing that actually has merit is the joke writing, and that was fantastic, and was made even better because they got a cast full of some of the best comedic actors around.  This is a fantastic and hilarious movie that you need to check out.

THE BEST MOVIE OF 2013

Gravity (2013)GRAVITY

I had no interest in seeing this movie.  Mainly because it had Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in it.  That isn’t usually my type of movie.  But after my Film Criticism teacher kept talking about this movie week after week, I finally decided that I should give the movie a shot.  And I’m very glad I did.  There wasn’t much in the story of this movie as it was basically just a story of survival, but it was how they told that story that made it so effective and made me like it so much.  I haven’t been able to refer to the suspense a movie creates as “edge of your seat” in quite some time, but I couldn’t think of any other way to refer to this movie.  It barely ever let up on the suspense!  Once it got going, I doubt my back touched the chair I was watching from.  The movie also effectively captured what I imagine it would feel like to be viewing all of this from space.  I felt queasy and disoriented through parts of the movie, just as I imagine I would in zero gravity.  I haven’t seen many Sandra Bullock performances that are regarded as good, but she was fantastic in this movie.  You should definitely see this movie, but the real shame will be if you didn’t go see it in theaters.  I think it would be much more effective in a more immersive setting like that.

Congratulations to any of you that actually read all of those words to get to this point.  Hell, congratulations if you only read the top and bottom 5 to 8ish.  As always, don’t forget to leave me a comment on this review with your thoughts about my choices and your opinions on what are the best and worst movies of the year.  I love to read those.

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Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)


This is Nothing Like Being Dead.  I Know.

Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)When I saw the movie that preceded today’s movie, I remember it building so much tension that I was constantly checking behind me in the movie theater.  Not because I thought there might be ghosts or demons behind me, but because I was so on edge that if any person in the theater decided to be a jerk and poke me, I would probably piss myself.  And then murder him to death to avoid my embarrassment being exposed.  When I saw they were making a sequel, I was confused.  The movie didn’t really seem to need a sequel, nor did the movie seem to leave itself open to a logical jump to one.  But I liked the original, so I decided to give it a shot.  Today I’m reviewing Insidious: Chapter 2, written by Leigh Whannell, directed by James Wan, and starring Patrick Wilson, Garrett Ryan, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Lin Shaye, Lindsay Seim, Danielle Bisutti, Tom Fitzpatrick, Tyler Griffin, Barbara Hershey, Jocelin Donahue, Steve Coulter, Hank Harris, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, and Michael Beach.

Medium Elise Ranier (Lin Shaye) lies dead, strangled to death by a malevolent spirit inhabiting the body of Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson).  Still no status update on Small or Large Elise.  …Thank you.  No one is able to prove that he did it, but his wife Renai (Rose Byrne) is suspicious.  And with Elise dead, she has no one to turn to until she meets another medium named Carl (Steve Coulter) who has worked with Elise before when they made Josh forget about his ability to leave his body while he slept.  He uses Yahtzee to communicate with spirits and gets information from Elise’s spirit about where to go to figure out what’s happening to Josh before something happens to him or his family.

I liked this movie, but I didn’t find it nearly as effective as the previous movie.  I base that almost entirely on the fact that I wasn’t suspicious of random strangers sneaking up on me and using my delicate state against me.  It didn’t build the suspense nearly as successfully as the first movie, but it still did a pretty good job.  I had some problems with the story, but it worked altogether.  One main problem I had was that they let Josh go home.  First, he was suspected of murdering Elise.  Even if they didn’t have the forensics back yet, do they let suspected murderers return home to potentially murder his family and some more people while they wait for the lab to get back to them?  And going off of that, how does forensics NOT make Josh as the murderer when he strangled this old woman to death with his bare hands?  Being inhabited by an evil spirit might be a convenient excuse, but it doesn’t explain how your fingerprints have changed.  I mean, I was wondering how they would rectify the problem of wanting to keep Patrick Wilson involved in the movie even though he murdered someone at the end of the last movie, but that explanation seems to strain credulity.  I do understand Josh trying to make Renai stop thinking about the ghosts, but I don’t understand how he can had not even finished his sentence about ignoring them before going downstairs to investigate some noises.  It also doesn’t really make sense that someone would grab a baseball bat to confront a ghost.  And if you’ve already determined that it’s Josh that’s haunted and not the house, how is there ever a scenario that you would leave him alone with the kids?  But there were definitely some interesting things that happened in the story of the movie.  I like how they tied in the events of this movie with the events of the first movie, and I also liked the reveal about the identity of the Black Bride.

The ghost stuff didn’t always work for me too.  When the haunting started, the first thing the movie used with the intention to scare us was the fact that the piano was playing with no one in the room.  That COULD indicate that there’s a ghost in there … it could also indicate that it’s a Player Piano.  You’re going to need to explain to us that it’s not capable of playing by itself without spirits before I jump to that conclusion.  I did appreciate that they were able to get started with the ghosts stuff because they had already gone through the explanation and stuff in the first movie, allowing them to dive right in for this movie.  Paranormal Activity never does that.  Each movie starts with the ghost being as shy as he was in the first movie, playing annoying tricks until he eventually gets up the nerves to snap someone in half.  Of course, it was a little overt for the ghost to jump right into showing Rose Byrne how strong her pimp hand was.  Most ghosts do more frightening to build up energy so that they can move a penny up a wall, not just diving right into Ike Turner mode.  And then the movie turns into an episode of Ghost Adventures when they arrive at the hospital because most of the movie is seen through their handheld cameras.  I half expected them to run into Zak, Nick, and Aaron.  Of course, the Ghost Adventures Crew don’t get anywhere near this lucky with their investigations, so that worked in favor of the movie.

The cast all did a great job.  Patrick Wilson got to be pretty versatile in the movie since it seemed he was occupied by two different people.  But he was very successful at playing a normal (albeit a bit on edge) guy, and then a somewhat crazy guy.  But someone should probably tell him that, if he wants to have his “Here’s Johnny!” moment, a baseball bat is a pretty clumsy way to accomplish that.  Barbara Hershey’s character annoyed me at one point.  Why the hell would you take your young son into a room with a patient that had just castrated himself, thus indicating a potential flaw in his mental stability?  And what’s more, would you even be able to?  It seems like nurses might have rules against such things.  I found Ty Simpkins annoying through most of the movie, but I can’t tell if that was him or just my natural hatred of most children.  Either way, I got on board with him again when he clocked someone with a baseball bat.  That was badass, little dude.  Kind of lost me again shortly afterwards when he somehow fell asleep at will.  Maybe that’s just jealousy.  I can never fall asleep that quickly!  I’m sure it’s what she was going for, but Danielle Bisutti was a little over the top as the Mother of Parker Crane.  She reminded me of Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest, except that wire hangers were exchanged for her kid’s gender and name.  But I’ll give her a pass since she was supposed to be portraying someone that was insane.

Insidious: Chapter 2 is a solid movie that couldn’t reach the high bar set by its predecessor.  The story was alright and even did some cool and innovative things, and the performances were strong, but they did not build nearly as much tension as the first movie and thus couldn’t keep me on edge.  It’s good, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to check it out in theaters, but you could also wait for a rental.  Insidious: Chapter 2 gets “In my line of work things tend to happen when it gets dark” out of “Look what you did!”

WATCH REVIEWS HERE!  YouTube  OTHER JOKES HERE!  Twitter  BE A FAN HERE!  Facebook  If you like these reviews so much, spread the word.  Keep me motivated!  Also, if you like them so much, why don’t you marry them?!

The Films of 2011


As my first partial year of reviews comes to a close, I decided that I should sum the year up for my loyal audience. Today, I review all the films released in 2011 that I saw and tell you what my favorite of the year was. I’ll probably keep it to pretty much only what came out in theaters in 2011, and some of them I may not even have officially reviewed yet, but they will be short reviews of about a paragraph describing what I liked or didn’t like about the movie. I may even talk about some of the movies I didn’t see and why. Let’s get right into this review of the films of 2011.

UPDATE: Having just finished writing these and realizing that I’ve apparently seen way too many movies that came out in 2011, I would like to tell you that this is a super long post, but the reviews are all fairly short. I would just skip through and see if you want to know my opinion about any of the movies, but the real meat will be at the end where I just have my three best and three worst movies of the year. If you read the whole thing, thank you for you dedication and I’m sorry for mine.

JANUARY

SEASON OF THE WITCH

Oh yeah, I saw this. And it was every bit as bad as you might expect. I recall pretty solidly bad performances from Robert Reviews Stuff favorite, Nicholas Cage, and the rest of the cast. And this movie was totally not filmed in witch season, as there was only one “witch” that was pretty much just a demon in a woman’s body and not what I would classically think is a witch. It’s so much work to go through all the trouble of getting a hunting license just to find out that you got a license to hunt witches but only one was in the area. Bummer. And for that reason, you may skip this movie with my blessing. Go with God.

THE DILEMMA

I know I saw this, but I can only barely remember the thing. There were a couple of funny parts, but it turns hardcore drama at the end and took me right out of the movie. Vince Vaughn and Kevin James play characters that they always play, and they don’t have a lot of funny things to say, nor funny things happening to them. And then it turns all drama-y at the end. It does have good eye candy in Winona Ryder and Jennifer Connelly though, and is probably the only tolerable Channing Tatum performance I have seen. You don’t need to watch this one either.

THE GREEN HORNET

Seth Rogen also plays the same character he’s usually playing, but he’s pretty funny. Jay Chou brings a good deal of decent action to his role as well. Cameron Diaz used to be hot, but I’ve not found myself interested in her in a good long time. Probably since The Mask; the pinnacle of her hotness in my opinion. And Christoph Waltz is way too good of an actor to have been in this movie. But this movie was not that bad. Decent action, a couple of good laughs. You wouldn’t kill yourself for watching this one.

NO STRINGS ATTACHED

The first of these three identical movies I saw, and probably the second best one. Natalie Portman is gorgeous, and comes very close to being naked in the movie, but is dragged down a lot by her costar Ashton Kutcher. It’s also a comedy for the first bit and pretty dramatic at the end, and though Portman can hold her own against Kutcher in the comedy department, Kutcher cannot match Portman on drama. You don’t need to watch this movie, but you might not hate it.

FEBRUARY

SANCTUM

Probably James Cameron’s least successful movie, but also one of his best looking, next to Avatar. It’s about a dude in a cave with his son and two other people and a storm causes a cave in and they have to try to find the backdoor of the cave. Pretty good acting, really pretty settings, and it’s filmed very well. The story is not that bad either. I found this movie on Red Box, and if it’s still there, I doubt you’ll be that disappointed if you watch it. Take a look.

GNOMEO & JULIET

I already did a review of this, and I really have no idea what I said. Romeo and Juliet turned garden gnomes. It was cute, but kind of pointless, and with a pretty good voice cast. You probably don’t want to watch this movie for yourself, but if you have kids you may not be that pissed about having to watch it.

JUST GO WITH IT

Adam Sandler doesn’t really do good movies anymore, does he? This is the one where he talks his nurse Jennifer Aniston into acting like his ex-wife to get Brooklyn Decker to want to have sex with him, but he ends up falling in love Jennifer Aniston. It’s not very funny, but you get to see lots of Jennifer Aniston, Brooklyn Decker, and Nicole Kidman in bikinis. I still don’t think it’s worth watching.

JUSTIN BIEBER: NEVER SAY NEVER

Don’t you never tell me what never to do, Justin Bieber. …NEVER! I actually did watch this movie with my friend Mike, but I don’t remember hating it as much as I think I should have. It’s like a little documentary about the rise to fame of a young girl named Justin Bieber mixed in with a concert of some shitty songs. I hate his music, so it didn’t hold much appeal to me, but the movie wasn’t horrible. I would say don’t watch it unless you want to make jokes about it, or if you’re a really big fan of the Biebs. But if you are, I don’t want you reading my reviews anymore.

CEDAR RAPIDS

I expected a pretty good deal from the cast of this movie, but it just didn’t deliver. I like Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Sigourney Weaver, and Tom Lennon a lot, but I just didn’t think any of this movie was that funny. You get to see Anne Heche either naked or almost naked, if that’s something that would appeal to you. But it’s just not funny enough to recommend.

I AM NUMBER FOUR

I reviewed this movie AND watched it twice, which no one should ever do because it’s not a good movie. I remember thinking this could’ve been a pretty awesome TV show for the Nickelodeon generation, but as a movie you’re thrown off by mediocre performances and a story that adds superpowers to it’s stars whenever it writes itself into a corner. You can skip this movie as well.

HALL PASS

The whole thing is based around a concept that would never work ever. Wives giving their husbands free pass to fuck around on them for a weekend so they can go out and find out they’re not nearly as desirable as they thought. It doesn’t go well, but there’s a happy ending. A happy ending, but a sadness in the fact that Jason Sudikis, Jenna Fischer, and Christina Applegate are so good normally, but they picked a script that wasn’t funny. Skip it.

MARCH

RANGO

This was actually a pretty cute, decently funny little animated movie about a chameleon that gets lost in the desert and comes upon a disheveled town of small rodents, then becomes their sheriff. I don’t know why I went into this thinking Johnny Depp couldn’t be funny because I’ve seen him be funny before, but the movie surprised me. I grant that I went in with low expectations, but the movie gets my kudos for surpassing them. Check it out, especially if you have kids.

BATTLE: LOS ANGELES

I saw this movie having no idea what it was about. Aliens attack LA. There’s your premise. But there was a pretty good deal of action, a nice gritty look, and decent performances. I liked this movie.

PAUL

I make no secret of my undying love for Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. This movie doesn’t change my feelings. I also like Kristen Wiig, Seth Rogen, Jason Bateman, and Sigourney Weaver quite a bit. This movie definitely doesn’t waste it’s cast. The story of two English nerds finding, and attempting to save, an alien could have been funnier, but it was still funny enough to be worth a watch.

SUCKER PUNCH

How disappointing could a movie about really hot chicks kicking a lot of ass be? THIS DISAPPOINTING! There are indeed a lot of really good looking ladies in Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jamie Chung, Jena Malone, and Vanessa Hudgens, and even a little Jon Hamm for the ladies, and it delivers a good amount of really awesome action scenes, but the rest of the movie is mopey, nihilistic boringness. It’s probably worth at least one viewing for fellas, but ladies probably won’t be interested at all. This movie should’ve been so much more appealing than it was, but it wasn’t that great.

APRIL

SOURCE CODE

I only vaguely remember watching this thing. Jake Gyllenhaal is a soldier put in a machine that sends him back to a certain time for a limited time only and he has to find out what happened after an explosion on a train. It’s a pretty interesting take on time travel with a nice twist ending and a good deal of tension and action. I kind of liked this movie, so I say check it out and tell me if I’m remembering it wrong.

SUPER

I reviewed this movie as well, and I REALLY liked this movie. So much so that I bought it on BluRay shortly after my first viewing. It’s like a much darker version of Kick-Ass with Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page in it. Watch this thing.

ARTHUR

The first movie I reviewed on this site was a remake of a classic comedy I still haven’t seen. It was much better than I expected, with a fair deal of funny parts in the movie and some well done drama at the end. I hate Russell Brand, but I still think this movie isn’t as bad as I had heard it was.

HANNA

My sister asked me to watch this movie, and it included a good deal of action, some pretty good fights, and a decent enough story, but the whole movie just didn’t make anything of an impression on me. I think you won’t hate it if you watch it, so I recommend you do so that you can remind me what it’s about, because it’s pretty forgettable.

RIO

A bird finds love in the place where it least expected it, but the audience saw coming from a mile away. It’s not that bad beyond the pointless, irrelevant musical numbers. Good for kids, but easily passable for adults.

SCREAM 4

If you start watching this horror movie about 10 minutes in, you may be able to avoid the 4 false-starts that still piss me off to this day. It’s not that bad, but I’m entirely bored with the Scream franchise and think they should just stop before they reach Saw amounts of embarrassing. You can watch this, but make a sandwich after you hit play and come back oblivious to the ass-raping they give to the people that watched it.

DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT

One of my earlier reviews, this one has Brandon Routh and Sam Huntington as paranormal investigators, and as the only decent performances in the movie. They did some interesting things with Huntington’s character, but it was few and far between, and the rest of the plot was ill-conceived. It was based on a comic book that (if this movie is any indication) you can not read. No reason to watch this movie.

FAST FIVE

Not my favorite movie of the year by a long shot, but certainly the one that surprised me the most. I went in knowing that I should not look for good performances (PAUL WALKER!), but Dwayne Johnson did good work. The story didn’t make a lot of sense in parts, but that’s not why you’d watch this. The action is pretty fantastic. Unrealistic, over the top, but fantastic. Definitely worth a watch.

MAY

THOR

My opinion of any comic book movie has to be weighed against my extreme nerdiness, but I kind of liked Thor. I was unfamiliar with the character, but the story did a good job of getting me informed, and keeping me entertained with action. I liked all of the performances, and the movie had a fantastic, epic look to it. I would say it’s greatest failing point is that they did more talking than fighting, and one fight in the middle that should have been epic was over too quickly. I still recommend it.

BRIDESMAIDS

This movie is basically the female-friendly version of The Hangover. I love Kristen Wiig and Rose Byrne, and I’m fond of Maya Rudolph as well, but it was a person I had never seen before in Melissa McCarthy that sold me on this movie. She just came in to deliver hilariousness and left. I don’t think I’d call the movie overall hilarious, but I’m also a fella. There are still a couple parts in this movie that you cannot help but laugh out loud at, no matter your gender. I enjoyed the movie a great deal, but I think women are the ones that will love it.

PRIEST

Some really good looking settings and creatures, and some really good looking Maggie Q, did not save this movie. There were a couple good action things, but they were too spread out by pretty uninteresting story points. You can skip this.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES

Easily the worst Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and that should come as no surprise. I loved all three of the original Pirates movies, and would rather this one not have existed. Nothing super interesting in the action elements, Jack Sparrow wasn’t as charming to me, and even Penelope Cruz didn’t do anything for me. I’m sure they’re making another one, and I hope they take it seriously and try not to fuck it up. You can skip this as well.

KUNG FU PANDA 2

This movie had no reason to be made. I really liked the first movie for it’s decent amount of comedy, good story, and overall entertaining feel of the movie. The second one wasn’t bad, but it took steps down in all of those categories. It’s still decent, and kids will like it, but have them watch the first one instead. They won’t know any better.

JUNE

SUPER 8

I really thought this movie should’ve resonated with me a lot more than it did. I love J.J. Abrams, I love Steven Spielberg, and it was a decent movie, but it just couldn’t reach awesome status. Good action, good story, great performances by the kids, but it was so heavily “almost there” for reasons I can’t even put my finger on.

CARS 2

This is a sequel to the worst Pixar movie available. Cars wasn’t awful, but it was mediocre amongst a plethora of awesome animated features. Take the step down most sequels take, add that to the giant step down Disney sequels take, and you have this movie. Not funny, not interesting. Your kids will like it, but they’re stupid. Don’t bother with this movie.

TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON

My opinion of this movie may take a hit because of the fact that I was forced to watch this movie in 3D, and I hate 3D. But this movie was still a pretty enjoyable big dumb action flick. Shia LeBeouf is enjoyable, even though I feel like I really want to hate him. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is definitely hot (pushed up a notch or two because of her accent), but still a step down in hotness from Megan Fox. She is, however, not a twat, so I liked her more. John Malkovich was also an interesting, if underused, character. You know Michael Bay can do big dumb action, and he does. But this time he doesn’t have two annoying (and racist) Autobots running around the movie, nor does he have testicles on a character that is supposed to be intimidating. Overall, I enjoyed it. Certainly better than the second movie.

JULY

ZOOKEEPER

I know I shouldn’t have watched it. I knew every time I saw it on RedBox that I shouldn’t watch it. I even knew when I was watching it that I shouldn’t be watching this. I was right. It wasn’t funny for more than a minute of the movie, and Rosario Dawson and Joe Rogan are the only performances in the movie worth a damn. I don’t need to tell you not to watch this, do I?

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS – PART 2

This movie picked up where it’s predecessor failed by keeping the plot moving throughout with good action, good story, and some great performances. I just reviewed these movies a week ago, but I’ll recommend them all, and especially this one. A great ending to the series, though I still kind of wish it wasn’t over yet.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER

Marvel just keeps pumping them out, don’t they? And all three of them are so much better than the only DC movie that came out. I found this one particularly entertaining. I like the quasi-futuristic period film style of the movie, I like that they made Chris Evans into a scrawny fuck for the first portion of the movie and then let him be big hunk of meat Chris Evans for the remainder, allowing him to whoop some ass in great action scenes to help the great story. It starts off a little slow, but once it gets going, it doesn’t slow down. Really good comic book flick.

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS

Another friend fucking movie, and another previously reviewed film. Probably the best of the three, this was a pretty charming movie due mainly to it’s stars, Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake, and to some good writing. It starts off strong, but kind of lost my interest around the sex scenes in the middle (though possibly because I was too busy staring at Justin Tim…Mila Kunis). It goes a little drama, but thankfully not that much. Enjoyable, but perhaps easily a movie you can miss.

COWBOYS & ALIENS

A super forgettable little action romp. It starts off pretty strong and interesting, but gets kind of slow and boring after the first big alien attack. I appreciate them trying to work with the fairly ridiculous premise, but it was too little action for a movie that didn’t have much else to offer. Olivia Wilde is hot though.

THE SMURFS

Nowhere near as bad as I expected going in, but still a little annoying and pointless. No one was asking for the return of the Smurfs, and this movie showed us why. It had a couple of funny parts, mainly because of Neil Patrick Harris, and a couple of sweet moments and a nice little message to the movie, but overall it’s still a miss. Just nowhere near as big of a miss as I thought going in.

ATTACK THE BLOCK

A pretty nice little movie from out of Merry Old England, it tells the story of aliens attacking a block. Little gang banger kids have to defeat them, and learn a lesson about karma hidden in an alien pheromone. The aliens were super well done and freaky, it was pretty funny when it wanted to be, and was overall very interesting. Check it out.

AUGUST

THE CHANGE-UP

It starts off as juvenile and as disgusting as it can, and the story is as predictable as it is overused, but this movie won me over by the end of the movie. It had enough laughs to make it worth the watch, and I’m always a big fan of Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman, even if they do poor impressions of each other. Olivia Wilde is in this as well, and she’s still hot. In fact, she gets naked in this movie, if I recall correctly. …Which I don’t because it was a body double. But you can forget that little piece of information and enjoy that. It’s a decent enough movie anyways.

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

Don’t be frightened by their overuse of the words “of” and “the”, this is a solid movie. I really liked this movie when it came out in theaters and went right out to buy it when it came out on BluRay. I haven’t had time to rewatch it since the theaters, but I remember liking it a lot. Really good story, great acting (especially from Andy Serkis as Caesar the ape), and some good action to boot.

THE HELP

A movie that probably wanted to be really meaningful and make a strong point, but it’s hard to find it as significant when I was not alive when these kind of events were going down. It was fairly charming, and had some really good performances from Viola Davis and Bryce Dallas Howard, but it just didn’t have the impact I assumed it might have. Worth a watch, but I wouldn’t expect a nomination for it.

30 MINUTES OR LESS

I really didn’t want to watch this movie, but I was forced to by a review request. My review has been up for it, so it’s no surprise that I’m saying I didn’t like this movie. Not only did I go in being annoyed by the fact that it was so clearly based on a real man’s death, but the people involved in the movie wouldn’t admit it, but it also wasn’t very funny. Three of the four starring characters are nothing of a draw for me. Jesse Eisenberg is a fine actor and good in some things, but he can get tedious. I don’t like Aziz Ansari. And, of course, Danny McBride is losing steam with me in a big bad way. Nick Swardson, as usual, is the most funny person in a movie, but he couldn’t save this movie.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN

Conan the Barbarian? Oh I loved that movie! Arnie at his finest and … what? Oh, the remake. No, it’s not good. Few action scenes, bad dialogue, weird grunting noises spurted out at random during fights, and bad performances. I recall boobs though. Still, don’t watch this movie.

OUR IDIOT BROTHER

One of the biggest comedy let downs of the year for me (from what I hear, mainly because I didn’t see Hangover Part 2). I goes in expecting a funny, laugh out loud, broad comedy, but instead it’s more like a drama with a few mild chuckles. I love the main four actresses (Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, and Rashida Jones) and the main actor (Paul Rudd), but there was almost no funniness to be found here. T.J. Miller is the only one able to get a laugh out of me in this flick.

SEPTEMBER

RED STATE

Red State will be mentioned later in this review, but I didn’t want it to go without notice that I did watch a movie in September.

OCTOBER

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3

Very similar to the other two Paranormal Activity movies, but technically superior. I would say I liked the first PA movie more because it was the one that introduced the concept, but this is the one with the best story and the best thrills. I definitely recommend checking this movie out, if for no reason more than three of the ghost gags that are coming to mind.

NOVEMBER

IMMORTALS

My inherent love of Greek mythology did not save this movie from overall mediocrity. The writing was fair, and the action scenes were outstanding when they happened, but there were too few of them and spaced out too far for a movie with fairly middling acting. The look was pretty great throughout as well. If it had been written better, I would feel so much more confident in recommending it, but now I can only meekly suggest that maybe … y’know, if you want … maybe you could like, I don’t know, watch it maybe … ?

DECEMBER

I ain’t seen none of them yet, but I really wanted to watch Sherlock Holmes and MI: Ghost Protocol. I even kind of want to see War Horse, but I just haven’t yet. And that absolutely ruins my streak of having seen at least one movie each month this year. DAMNIT!

THE WORST FILMS OF 2011 (AKA THE SHITTIES)

THIRD WORST

GREEN LANTERN

Remember what I said about comic book movies and weighing my opinion of them? Weigh them with this: This movie sucked. I really like Ryan Reynolds, but I admittedly have no affection for any DC comic character besides Batman. I can still appreciate a DC movie if it’s well made, but this was Green Lantern. Ryan Reynolds was charming (as he typically is), but this movie didn’t have any action that did anything for me, and the CG was pretty lame. You don’t need to watch this movie. I had heard so much talk about this movie not shaping up well before it came out, but I did my best to keep in high spirits about the movie, and that’s why I was so disappointed when I watched it.

RUNNER-UP

YOUR HIGHNESS

A piss-poor excuse for a comedy with Danny McBride playing every character Danny McBride has ever played, plus an English-ish accent. The humor is beyond juvenile. The only reason to watch this movie at all is because Natalie Portman gets into a thong and bikini, and there’s a nice body on that one. There were some non-Portman boobs as well. But that can be found in a Google search, so don’t pain yourself with the rest of this movie.

AND THE LOSER

DRIVE

A movie I have not been able to stop hearing about, and possibly the worst movie I watched all year. It’s like an action movie that was handed to some pretentious, hipster, art school student. Ryan Gosling puts on a weird jacket and forgets how to have conversations with people, leaving us to enjoy the shitty, techno/80’s soundtrack. It’s not until the end that a little bit of action wakes me up. The rest of this movie is almost unbearably slow, and the dialogue was practically not there. So much time was spent with characters that should have been talking just staring at each other, probably wondering why the teleprompter was broken. And practically no one in this movie decided they wanted to emote for the audience. I’m guessing the director probably roofied the cast and decided to film while he waited for rapin’ time.

If you watch this movie, do so knowing I hate it and will want to dissect your brain to figure out why if you tell me you liked it. This was the only movie in recent memory that actually caused me to look at the person I went to the movies with thinking “Is this movie fucking serious?”

THE BEST FILMS OF 2011 (AKA THE ROBBIES)

THIRD BEST

INSIDIOUS

I’ve done a review for this one, but I would like to take this time to repeat that I really like this movie. It’s the kind of horror movie I like, with a lot of tension and little to no gore. It looked really good, and had plenty of subtle little scares and pop out and scare you scenes that I was getting really freaked out in the theater by myself. Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson are really good in it, and the movie is executed very well. I’ve already told you to watch this. Why haven’t you?

RUNNER-UP

RED STATE

I had heard Kevin Smith talking this movie up so much on Smodcast that certainly there was no way it could live up to it, right? WRONG! I loved this movie. Granted, I wasn’t as big a fan of the ending, and I do prefer Smith’s comedies, but this was still a great movie. The story was fantastic, the action was exciting, and the performances were the best I’ve ever seen from a Kevin Smith movie. It also looked drastically different from every other Kevin Smith movie, and you probably wouldn’t even know it was his movie unless you knew already or recognized his wife. Definitely a movie to check out. It would have won best movie of the year were it not for …

THE WINNER

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS

Coming out in June, I took this movie as “Happy Birthday to you, Robert!” June is a month for awesomeness. First it gives you guys the greatness of me, then they give you X-Men: First Class. Maybe a few more awesome things too, but I’m not going to look that up. First Class easily breaks into the lead of the pack in the X-Men movies that I was already really fond of (because I call X-Men Origins simply by Wolverine so that it cannot tarnish the X-Men name). In a year with three really good Marvel movies, this one jumps to the front of the pack with great action, great story, and great performances by Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Kevin Bacon, and pretty much everybody on the screen except for January Jones, who kicked Emma Frost in the vagina. She looked the part really well, but just could not be bothered to participate in the film. Thankfully, she was a fairly small part in the movie, which allows this movie to still claim the title of my favorite movie of the year.

Insidious (2011)


Words Are Worth a Thousand Words

Today’s addition to the October Horror-thon is a movie that I had gone to the theater earlier in the year by myself to see and, once I had, I could not wait to own it on DVD.  Instead, I bought it on BluRay and decided to review it along with the rest of the horror movies.  This movie is Insidious, directed by James Wan, and starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Lin Shaye, Barbara Hershey, Angus Sampson, and Leigh Whannell.

Renai (Rose Byrne) and Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) have just moved into a new house with their kids.  One night, their son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) is exploring in the attic when one of the ladder rungs breaks and he falls down.  When the parents investigate he seems fine, but the next morning he won’t wake up.  Doctors tell them that Dalton is in a coma but they don’t know why.  They move Dalton back into the house for them to take care of and paranormal events start to take place while Renai is home, but Josh is skeptical.  When it finally reaches a boil, Josh agrees to move the family to a new house.  But the problem follows them to their new house so Lorraine (Barbara Hershey), Josh’s mother, contacts an old friend of hers named Elise Reiner (Lin Shaye), who firsts sends her two assistants, Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson).  When they confirm that there is a ghost problem, Elise is brought in.  But she tells them that it is not the house that is haunted, it is their son.

I really dug most aspects of this movie.  The story of the movie is totally solid in most places.  The only place it kind of lost me was with all “The Further” nonsense, but it didn’t bother me enough to dampen my affection for the movie.  I found this movie to be totally scary and (surprise surprise) it had no real blood or gore to speak of!  How does that happen, 90% of all other “scary” movies?  It’s because they set a mood with almost every part of the production that made it more and more creepy.  As I said, I saw this movie alone in the theaters on the recommendation of my friend Jordan.  In the theater, I made the poor decision to sit with the theater entrance hall directly behind me.  The movie kept me so on edge through the movie that I was constantly looking behind me, not for ghosts or anything, but just in case some random stranger would walk up behind me and startle me.  Granted, that never happened, but that’s a major compliment to a movie to make me so paranoid like that.  And what makes it best for me is that this movie was scary without blood or gore even though the director started a series that exemplifies the movies that offer no scares and mostly just buckets of gore: Saw.  James Wan made the original Saw movie and started the whole mess of these crappy movies.  Now, I grant you that I liked the first Saw movie – the one he took part in – but he started the world onto that path that robbed me of more than a few dollars.  That being said, he did an exceptional job with this movie.

This movie uses a lot of stuff to keep you on edge.  The opening credits are a series of black and white photos, and most of them have something small and paranormal happen in them; small things like a chair moving or a man in the mirror.  And then … BAM! … the title of the movie pops out and startles you.  Now, generally I’m not a fan of people calling a startle a scare, but this movie didn’t do it very much.  It seemed to offer that one as a warning.  But most of the scary things happened subtly and shortly after hit you with a scary startling noise.  The part with the baby monitor was a startle (but it still got me even though Jordan had told me about that) and then later the part with the baby’s cradle happened, let you find out what was wrong, and then hit you with the creepy violin music.  And it had a lot of that creepy violin music, although it sounded more like a violin being raped with a power drill.  Not a criticism though, it created a lot of tension similar to the same kind of music used in the Dark Knight every time the Joker was on screen.  They also used something I like that I think Bioshock started and that is using really old music (like from the 50’s or something) in a creepy movie that just makes it creepier.  And this happened in a scene where they had a ghost appearance but made no attempt to tell the viewers about it.  I missed it the first time I saw it, but when Rose Byrne is walking down the hall in her new house, she walks right by the little boy ghost that appears proper shortly after, but she doesn’t see it, the camera doesn’t move towards it, and nothing happens to draw you to it.  It’s like an Easter Egg.  And I don’t usually catch that stuff, so I can assume there are more in other parts that I missed.

The performances were all great, as far as I’m concerned (though I suppose “as far as I’m concerned” doesn’t need to be added as these ARE my reviews).  Rose Byrne was great here and I had previously not seen her do a dramatic role.  She’s in a state of being distraught starting shortly after the movie starts and it just gets worse and worse for her as the movie goes along.  Her kid’s in a coma and she’s getting haunted and her husband won’t believe her and it’s just shoveling more and more on top of her situation.  Patrick Wilson has a different dramatic role, but almost as impressive.  He’s still distraught over his kid’s coma, but he also doesn’t know how to deal with the situation.  He wants to help his wife but also thinks she’s kind of crazy because he doesn’t believe what’s happening.  Lin Shaye was a pretty nice performance too because she seemed like a kindly older lady and really nice and sweet, but then she gets really serious and has a complete turn, but then goes right back to nice.  I also thought her assistants, Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson, were really amusing.  They were such total nerds and completely out of their element.  I liked seeing Barbara Hershey because one of the horror movies I had seen before this one was The Entity, which she stars in and is basically getting raped by a ghost for the whole movie.  I liked her performance in both movies, but the story of The Entity and some of the ways they told it were just goofy.

I recommend you go check out this movie while the Halloween time is right.  I bought this on BluRay, but I’ve also seen it available at many RedBox stands so you can get it there.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  I give this movie a “I’m scared, Mom” out of “Follow my voice, Dalton!”

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others.  It may help me get better.