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!”

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The Conjuring (2013)


There’s a Lady in a Dirty Nightgown That I See in My Dreams.

The Conjuring (2013)I had just gotten myself all prepared to see The Wolverine when I realized that I had made an appointment to get my air conditioning unit looked at right when the movie was going to start.  I didn’t even need it anymore!  It had taken so long for them to come out that the temperature had just cooled down naturally!  Oh well.  Instead, I had made plans with Friendboss Josh and his lady friend the Whitneybird and, even though I of course wanted to see The Wolverine more, I am a man of my word.  Josh is practically brought to the point of suicide every time he’s not in my presence, and I’d hate to see how he’d react if I had plans with him and changed them for Hugh Jackman.  Being the fantastic person I am, I decided to keep my word and go see The Conjuring with him, written by Chad and Carey Hayes, directed by James Wan, and starring Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston, Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Joey King, Mackenzie Foy, Kyla Deaver, Shannon Kook, John Brotherton, Sterling Jerins, and Joseph Bishara.

The Perron Family – father Roger (Ron Livingston), mother Carolyn (Lili Taylor), and daughters Andrea (Shanley Caswell), Nancy (Hayley McFarland), Christine (Joey King), Cindy (Mackenzie Foy), April (Kyla Deaver), and Evita I think – move into a peaceful and isolated house in the country, complete with a creepy black tree in the back and an inexplicably hidden cellar.  Even though nothing bad could possibly happen here, it does.  Paranormal events start occurring all over the house.  They’re tame at first, but then they amp up to the point where Andrea is attacked by what appears to be the spirit of an elderly woman.  In order to save their family, they call in Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson), an acclaimed demonologist, and his wife Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga), a clairvoyant, to help.  Also, there’s an Asian guy (Shannon Kook) and a cop (John Brotherton).

Though I did like this movie, I don’t credit much of it to the writing.  As I was typing the recap of the story, I started to think that I could probably create a template for reviewing ghost movies that would save me a lot of time.  *BLANK* moves into a house.  At first it’s peaceful, but then strange things start happening.  Harmless at first, but then they amp up until *BLANK*.  They call in experts, shit gets real for a little while, then either happy or sad ending.  The end.  I would also say that not too much credit could be given to the story because this movie was said to be based on the actual investigations of Ed and Lorraine Warren.  That being the case, I couldn’t give this movie much more credit than I could give the Amityville Horror movies, which were also based on the Warren’s investigations, and I suspect followed a similar pattern.  Perhaps I’ll be able to use this template if I ever review those movies.  I also took issues with a few things in the story of the movie, although I suppose I also can’t take that much issue with it because it could have happened in real life for all I know.  The death of the dog early on, for instance.  Josh pointed out to me that dog made a huge error in judgment by deciding not to come into the house.  I know they were trying to indicate that the dog sensed something and was too afraid to enter the house, but the dog got killed outside anyway.  Lot of good that did you.  At some point in the movie, someone also remarks that the spirit hasn’t done anything violent.  Really?  You obviously mean it hasn’t done anything violent EXCEPT for attacking Andrea and pushing the mom down the stairs.  Besides that, it’s completely tame.  But the biggest error in judgment is that they leave the kids alone with the mother just moments after announcing that she’s possessed.  I don’t even have a joke about that!  It’s just dumb!

Though I was underwhelmed by the story of the movie, I would still give the movie credit for being pretty effective in its delivery.  It built suspense very well and did pretty well with the startling moments.  It was pretty suspenseful on the two occasions that the parents investigated the cellar with only a box of matches, but it made me curious because I was pretty sure they had invented flashlights by the 1970s.  When they later actually used flashlights, it confirmed my suspicions that it was dumb for them to not decide to use one.  Later in the movie, it was pretty damned startling when the sheet blew off and stopped on a ghostly figure.  It reminded me of the scene in one of the Paranormal Activity movies when dust fell on a ghostly figure.  There wasn’t much gore in this movie (which I appreciate), but when they used it, they used it well.  When they had the birds flying into things and breaking their necks, they were really convincing.  I guess the most gore they got was around the climax of the movie, but they never went overboard.  They also used the sound pretty effectively.  There was a point in the movie where the bass was so low that it shook my seat like I don’t ever recall happening in a movie before.  Maybe the theater is more to blame for that though.

I felt like the performances were pretty effective in this movie.  I feel like I haven’t seen Ron Livingston since Office Space, so I was happy to see him here.  He didn’t really do anything to blow my mind in this movie, but he was good.  Lili Taylor did pretty well.  She was kind of a non-entity when she was just normal as the mother, but when she was inhabited by another entity, she did a complete turn.  Excellent performance.  Of course, her performance as a mother left a little something to be desired, and not just because she tried to kill the children at one point.  I also mean the fact that she not only let the kids play a game of blindfolded hide and seek in a house with stairs, but she also participated.  I didn’t think much of anything of any of the children in the family.  The only thing I kept thinking was why there were so gundamned many of them, and why were they all girls?  I suppose it’s a real thing that could happen, but it also should’ve been a reason not to move to the country.  I mean, if all of those chicks in the household get their periods all synced up then demons will be the least of their worries when their house is surrounded by bears.  Also, there were so many girls that I couldn’t really tell them apart.  None of them really did much to stand out except the youngest one that liked talking to a music box.  Beyond those people, the only thought I had was about Shannon Kook, but only because it was so stereotypical that the Asian dude would always be so ready with a camera.

The Conjuring didn’t really do much for me by way of story, but I don’t think anyone really cares that much about the story of a horror movie.  It’s really more about how effectively the movie can creep you out, build your anxiety, and make you jump in your seat.  This movie did that pretty well.  And the performances were all pretty good as well.  I would still say that it leaves me a bit on the fence when it comes to a recommendation.  It’s definitely not a bad movie, but it didn’t feel like it was good enough for me to say you need to go see it in a theater right away.  You could wait to rent it.  I guess I would say you should get to the theater if you have a hankering for a scary movie, because you probably won’t have a better opportunity until around October.  The Conjuring gets “The devil exists.  God exists.  And for us, as people, our very destiny hinges on which we decide to follow” out of “There is something horrible happening in my house.”

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?!

Watchmen (2009)


Never Compromise.  Not Even in the Face of Armageddon.

I have finally reached my goal of one review per day for an entire year.  I will be taking a week off to rest before I decide what I’m going to be doing next, but you can rest assured that I will still be writing reviews for as long as I’m able to keep myself motivated.  During the course of my first year, I’ve reviewed many movies of all different types of genres, but I think my nerdiness has come out in many of my reviews and let you all know that one of my favorite types of movie is the comic book movie.  When I did my favorite movies from each genre, I intentionally skipped the comic book movie because there are three movies that I have decided are my top three favorite, but I have not yet been able to confidently say I prefer one to another.  I reviewed Avengers while it was in theaters, which is the same time it joined the list.  Later, I reviewed the Dark Knight as its sequel was coming out, and it held its ground.  But no one asked me to do the third, and an opportune time would not be presenting itself in the near future as there’s no sequel or prequel coming to this movie anytime soon.  And so I decided that I would review the third movie as my anniversary present to myself.  This movie is Watchmen, based on a comic book by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, written by David Hayter and Alex Tse, directed by Zack Snyder, and starring Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Malin Akerman, Patrick Wilson, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Carla Gugino, Stephen McHattie, Matt Frewer, Laura Mennell, Robert Wisden, and Danny Woodburn.

October 12th, 1985.  A comedian died in New York.  Well, more specifically the Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), a retired masked crime fighter is thrown out of a window by an unknown assailant.  Another costumed crime fighter operating outside of the law named Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) goes to investigate and jumps to the conclusion that someone is trying to kill his comrades, so he sets about warning them.  He goes first to his former partner, Daniel Dreiberg, formerly the second Nite Owl (Patrick Wilson), and then goes to the nearly omnipotent Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup) and his lover, Laurie Jupiter, the second Silk Spectre (Malin Akerman).  All of them think Rorschach is just being paranoid, but Dan decides to relay the message to Adrian Veidt, formerly Ozymandias (Matthew Goode), who shares the skepticism of the others.  Rorschach is unconvinced and continues his investigation while Dr. Manhattan and Veidt focus on trying to stave off nuclear war with their free energy solution.

Oh man do I love this movie.  And I was also extremely shocked to find out that this is not an entirely popular opinion.  Both the critic and the audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes are sitting around the 65% range.  I don’t get that.  Watchmen is not really your ordinary comic book movie.  It’s got less action that you’d typically expect to find, but I feel that it’s a lot smarter and has a much better story.  That is mostly thanks to Alan Moore since the movie seems to be pretty much a shot for shot adaptation of his original story.  From what I gathered, his original comic book was a much more powerful political statement when he originally made it, but I hadn’t read that by the time I saw this movie.  I just knew that it was a greatly lauded comic book that they were turning into a movie, and the movie blew me away.  I feel that I may have benefited from not having read the comic book when I saw the movie because the great reveals at the end of the movie were not spoiled for me.  The huge reveal involving Adrian Veidt was great, and even the smaller, more personal one involving Laurie was extremely powerful.  There were a couple of other things to say about the movie, but I feel they deserve a ::SPOILER ALERT:: so that the reveals won’t be ruined for you, and will allow you to enjoy it the same way I did.  I thought it was a fantastic twist that Veidt gives a speech like a Bond villain to Rorschach and Nite Owl that makes you think they’ll still have time to stop it, and the twist comes when Veidt was smart enough to know that this was a possibility, so he had set his plan into motion 35 minutes prior.  I would say that there was a part to his plan that I never really got behind.  I don’t know why it was necessary that Dr. Manhattan take the heat for what Veidt did for the plan to work.  I actually kind of understood (without condoning) why they killed so many people to bring peace to the world, but I feel like the same thing would happen whether it was Veidt taking the heat or Dr. Manhattan, which would make it unnecessary for my favorite character, Rorschach, to die.  But it was a minor issue I took with the movie and didn’t really disturb my enjoyment.  ::END SPOILERS::

I think the direction of the movie won me over before the story did.  The quality of the story sunk in towards the end, but the quality of the direction was able to win me over very early on.  It’s really a visual delight, and the music is also a big win.  I was on board to a great degree from the opening fight between the Comedian and the unknown assailant, which was a great fight scene with music that worked well with the scene while being in contrast to what was happening.  The opening credit sequence was also fantastic.  It tells the story of the decline of the superhero and places them into real, historic situations, and they back that up with strong visuals and a great Bob Dylan song.  They include the sailor kiss from the famous photograph, the Comedian shoots JFK, the hippie chick putting the flower in the gun barrel, the moon landing, and even that famous Rage Against the Machine album cover.  …I’m being told that this was actually a real occurrence and not just an album cover…  But the look and the soundtrack of the move kept my attention all the way through.  Even if the story of the movie was no good, I would’ve been on board with the movie from these things alone.  The movie didn’t have that many fights, but the ones they had were fantastic.  The highlights include Dan and Laurie beating down some gang members, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre beating down some prisoners, and Rorschach fighting his way out of Moloch’s apartment.  All of them were really brutal and awesome.  The fight with Hollis Mason and the gang members towards the end of the movie was also fantastic and emotional.  I would say it was a little corny and tasteless for the Nite Owl’s hovercraft to blow its fiery load just as the Nite Owl himself did.  I also thought it was funny to try to see all of the things that were on Veidt’s various TV screens towards the end of the movie.  I was able to catch a glimpse of what appeared to be porn, a scene from Rambo, and that wacky Fed Ex commercial.  I don’t know if there was significance to any of that, but I found it interesting to try to pick them out.

The performances in the movie were all wins for me.  Jackie Earle Haley was the best one for me.  I thought Rorschach was friggin’ awesome.  His narration in the movie made me imagine what it would sound like for Christian Bale’s Batman to narrate a Max Payne game.  Generally morose, and always raspy.  But Rorschach was a total badass throughout the movie.  The story of what made Rorschach was great, the story of what made him more brutal was even better, and I particularly loved all of his interactions with Big Figure in jail.  And, on top of his badassdom, he also had a great scene at the end that got me a little choked up for him.  Also, do you know what I’ve always felt was sadly missing from other comic book movies like Avengers and the Dark Knight?  Tits!  And the only thing that would make that better is if they belonged to Malin Akerman.  SCORE!  She is so hot.  …And that’s all I have to say about her.  She did a good job and everything, but I have a one track mind.  Matthew Goode did a great job as well, but the only thing that amused me enough to take note of about him was how heroic he was when the guy was trying to kill him and he first ducked behind the businessmen before taking the guy down.

I love Watchmen.  The story is brilliant and the adaptation of it is fantastic, powered along by amazing visuals and a great soundtrack.  The performances are also pretty fantastic, with Jackie Earle Haley leading the bunch in my opinion, but everyone doing their thing very well.  And at least one of those performances brought a great set of boobs, and that’s alright by me.  I think this is a fantastic movie and I don’t understand the concept of anyone not liking it, but apparently it happens so watch this movie skeptically.  But do watch this movie.  Watchmen gets “A pretty butterfly” out of “I’m not locked in here with you.  You’re locked in here with ME!”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook and Twitter.  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Prometheus (2012)


My God, We Were So Wrong…

When Samrizon recommended that I watch today’s movie, she seemed a little deflated that I said it may have to wait quite some time. As with most movies in theaters, I can’t really afford to go and see everything people want me to when it’s in theaters. I’d much rather wait until I can find it for a dollar on RedBox or on Netflix. But I did indeed want to see this movie, being a fan (to different degrees) of the quadrilogy that already existed. When Friendboss Josh heard the Who’s singing in Whoville and his heart grew three sizes this day, I was afforded the ability to go to a theater that was playing the movie for only $5. This movie is Prometheus, written by Damon Lindelof and Jon Spaihts, directed by Ridley Scott, and starring Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Sean Harris, Rafe Spall, Kate Dickie, Emun Elliott, Benedict Wong, and Patrick Wilson.

In the year 2089, two archaeologists, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green), find a cave painting in Scotland that, along with similar murals from groups that never met each other from around the world, points to a star like our own sun and a habitable planet. They take this as an invitation from a group they call “the Engineers”, who they believe created our species. The elderly CEO of Weyland Corporation, Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), funds a ship called Prometheus to take the two archaeologists and a group of other people to the planet to see if they can find the Engineers. An android called David (Michael Fassbender) wakes up the crew as they arrive in the year 2093. They find a collection of non-artificial structures and start to explore them, soon finding dead bodies of the Engineers, which are more human than they originally thought. Also, there’s a black goo that they find that starts some bad things into motion. And also some good things. I mean, have you seen Alien? That’s a good movie!

I went into this movie REALLY wanting to be blown away, but try as it might, the movie never really resonated with me. It wasn’t a bad movie, but I was hoping for a major nerd boner that never arrived. And I need this, guys. I’m single and hurting. I’ll probably need to watch Avengers again to get my fix. This movie just didn’t excite me. It was pretty slow moving until the last half hour. At first it’s just archaeology, then it’s just space travel, then it’s just a mystery that’s not that mysterious. Not until someone gets infected later in the movie does shit start going down that captures my attention. The mystery part is somewhat excusable because I went into this movie know it was a prequel to a movie I’ve already seen, so this entire movie just becomes a waiting game until we get to see a Xenomorph. I got a little excited that shit was gonna go down when Shaw told one of the other crew members to leave the weapon behind when they were heading into the structure. I didn’t get excited because that’s a good idea, because it’s entirely not. Sure, it’s a scientific expedition, but better safe than sorry, right? But usually when a bonehead decision like that is made in the name of noble scientific enterprise, shit goes down and people start dying. That didn’t happen. Around the time when someone gets infected is when the movie starts to pick up, but I was also getting angry because some jerkfaces in the audience were talking and someone said, “He’s infected,” really loudly. Ya think? Are you basing that on what you’re seeing now or the part where we watched the guy cause him to get infected in a super obvious way? Later on, there’s a hurried surgery scene that is rich with thrills, and from that point on it doesn’t let up, but I wished it had happened sooner. For one more thing, I won’t spoil it directly so I’ll just turn it into a metaphor. If two people are running away from a hula hoop, should it really take that long to realize that you can side-step it instead of continuing to run in front of it? If you see the movie, that’ll make more sense.

I would say that, by far, the best thing about this movie is definitely the look. It’s a spectacular visual feast. The movie lets you know that much pretty quickly into the movie as they open with a big sweep over huge and gorgeous landscapes on the moon LV-223. Almost everything looks amazing in this movie. The Engineers (though they look like Powder on steroids) are great looking creatures that could look either benevolent or malevolent, so you never really know which way they’ll go with the story. The structure and the aliens are still heavily influenced by H.R. Giger, which means they’re going to be creepy and dark, but also awesome. The first version of the aliens that are encountered bummed me out for two reasons. First, they didn’t look like the facehuggers that we know and love. Second, they were REALLY phallic. And they go into the mouth. I can’t wait until they turn Prometheus into a porn. The holographic star map that David watches later in the movie is also a visual delight, but I couldn’t help but think that it was the futuristic version of a laser light show, without the benefit of REO Speedwagon. The only real visual problem with the movie was Peter Weyland. You could have actually hired an old guy instead of putting really unconvincing old guy makeup on a young dude. And you didn’t even try when it came to his feet!

The performances in the movie were good, but not what I’d call great. They were what the roles called for, but that usually left them being not altogether compelling to me. Noomi Rapace did a good job, but I was disappointed by her character. I think one of the things that’s been a staple in all of the Alien movies is a badass female lead. Sigourney Weaver was a boss. Ellen Ripley was always right up there with Sarah Connor as some of the most badass women to ever grace the screen. And it’s not like Noomi can’t do badass; she was the original Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movies. But in this movie, she was never a badass. She was pretty standard damsel in distress all the way through that was just a scientist and was only our heroine because we were watching the bad things happen all around her. I know it wasn’t really the character she was going for, but I missed it. Charlize Theron was kind of a badass bitch, but way more bitch than badass, so certainly no replacement for Ripley. I liked that apparently all it takes to have sex with her is to suggest that she might be a robot. Speaking of which, Michael Fassbender was good in his role, but it was totally ruined for me when Samrizon ruined that he was a robot. Okay, so you find that out pretty quickly, but Samrizon should shut her damned cake hole. Fassbender definitely acted like a robot, but a robot isn’t always the most impressive performance. You have to be stiff and robotic, which isn’t all that interesting to watch. And you kind of get the idea of where the movie is going from his performance because he doesn’t hide the fact that he’s not that big of a fan of humans.

I really wanted Prometheus to blow me away, but it didn’t really manage to do so. The story was fine, but it takes a while for it to get going. Once it does, it remains pretty awesome for a while, but I started to get bored waiting for that to start. The look of the movie was completely fantastic and worth seeing for just the spectacle alone. The performances were fine in the movie, but never blew my mind. I understand that you couldn’t put Ellen Ripley in this chronologically, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a character that’s just as awesome. The movie didn’t impress me, but I still think it’s worth seeing in the theaters. It’s a good movie, but not as good as I wanted it to be. Check it out, but it might help to have lower expectations. Prometheus gets “Big things have small beginnings” out of “WE are the gods now.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people. Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense. Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated. You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle). Don’t forget to leave me some comments. Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Young Adult (2011)


Guys Like Me Are Born Loving Women Like You

Today’s movie is another film I wanted to see, but mainly because of one of the people in it.  And it wasn’t even the star.  I wanted to see this movie because Patton Oswalt was in it, and I love him.  But one thing that kind of held me back was that it didn’t seem like a comedy, like I would normally like to see Patton doing.  He’s a hilarious guy, after all.  It seemed more like a drama, so I wasn’t really down for that.  But I saw it a couple of times in a RedBox, so I finally decided that I should just go ahead and watch the movie and find out.  And then, during the opening credits, I found out it was written by Diablo Cody, so I got a little more bummed out for what I was in for.  I watched it anyway, so here’s my review of Young Adult, written by Diablo Cody, directed by Jason Reitman, and starring Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, Patrick Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser, Collette Wolfe, Jill Eikenberry, Mary Beth Hurt, and J.K. Simmons.

Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) is a ghost writer on the once-popular Waverly Prep series of young adult novels.  That’s where the title of the movie comes from!  She is in the process of writing the final book in the series when she receives an email inviting her to come and see the newborn daughter of her high school boyfriend, Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson), and his wife, Beth (Elizabeth Reaser).  Eventually, Mavis’ psychosis leads her to believe this is a sign that she needs to return to her home town of Mercury, Minnesota to save Buddy from the situation he’s trapped in.  She reconnects with a guy she went to high school with named Matt Freehauf (Patton Oswalt).  Matt was disabled in high school after being brutally beaten because some jocks believed he was gay.  He wasn’t, but he was crippled in the process nonetheless.  He currently lives with his sister, Sandra (Collette Wolfe), and does a pretty convincing impression of Patton Oswalt by being fairly nerdy and painting action figures.  Though Matt tries to talk Mavis out of it, she starts to make her moves to convince Buddy to leave his wife for her.

I feel somewhat close to saying that this movie was good in spite of Diablo Cody’s writing.  The movie left me pretty confused, but not for the same reason’s as yesterday’s movie.  This movie just didn’t seem to have a point.  At the end of the movie everyone is pretty much exactly the same as when the movie began, so it seems like it probably shouldn’t have taken an hour and a half to get back to where we started.  I’m sure El Diablo wants to break from the overused traditions of “character arc”, but it just makes the movie pointless.  There’s not really a message to the movie, there’s no resolution to the movie, so why did I watch it?  I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it; I did.  But I don’t think what I liked has much to do with The Devil Cody.  It’s not very funny and the main character is not likeable, so I only like spending time with her because she’s so attractive.  I can only relate to her in one way, so I’m not that committed.  And the way I can relate to her is that we have the same writing style.  And by that I mean we write a sentence and then get distracted by something on the internet for an hour.  But I’m not an alcoholic, I’m not a FAMOUS writer, I’m not a super attractive lady, I don’t go around trying to mess up people’s relationships, so I don’t really care what happens to her because she’s not a very good human being and I can’t put myself in her shoes.  There’s only one thing that surprised me in the movie and it happened at the very end so ::SPOILER ALERT::  Charlize has sex with Patton Oswalt.  Good show, old boy!  When I started watching the movie, I actually wrote in my notes that there was a slim chance that Patton would end up with Charlize, so I was really surprised when it happened.  It would be an inspiration to nerdy, unappealing guys like myself that someone as gorgeous as Charlize Theron would actually have sex with us … after she had just humiliated herself in front of the friends and family of her ex-boyfriend and she needed a rebound.  But hey, I’d take it.  But Dildablo Cody doesn’t want to have character arcs and story in her movies, so she gets up and leaves Patton in bed the next morning, going back home to wait for someone else she blew in high school to casually mention they had a baby.  ::END SPOILERS::

Writing aside, the real thing to enjoy about this movie is the performances.  It’s no surprise that Charlize Theron’s a great actress.  Most of us have seen her do it before.  She really does inhabit this character and makes it real, and kind of makes you feel sorry for her even though she’s not a very likeable character.  I think it’s always a fascination when people that are super gorgeous let themselves be filmed in less than flattering ways for movies.  She got a lot of attention for that in Monster, where she let herself get fat and icky and practically unrecognizable.  In this one, she still had a slammin’ body and was gorgeous, but had a lot of scenes where she woke up with her makeup all fucked up.  But it’s not all physical with her; she’s also very good.  She doesn’t get naked though, so that’s a bummer.  You see her in her underwear, with some weird kind of strapless bra that seemed to be stuck to her boobs.  Is that a real thing?  ‘Cause it’s icky.  Patton Oswalt is also worth mentioning, because he was very real in his role.  There are similarities to the real Patton (as far as I know him), but he also does a much better job than I would’ve expected from someone who’s primary profession was not acting.  Patrick Wilson was pretty good, but not really the focus of the movie even though he was the driving part of the story.  Elizabeth Reaser and Collette Wolfe only really made an impact because I was trying to figure out where I knew them from, and when I figured out that it was Twilight and Hot Tub Time Machine I stopped paying attention.

This is a movie that I liked in spite of itself, but I can’t imagine that I’ll ever want to watch it again.  The story makes the movie feel pointless, and the main character is mostly unlikeable, but it’s held together by the quality of it’s cast.  I got the movie for a dollar from RedBox, and I don’t regret it, but I also didn’t like the movie nearly enough to purchase it.  My recommendation would be for you to pick it up from the RedBox and find out for yourself.  I don’t imagine anyone would hate the movie, but I could see some people loving it.  Young Adult gets “Sometimes, in order to heal, a few people have to get hurt” out of “We can beat this thing together.”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

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.