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Category: Movie Reviews

Grabbed by the Bughuul-ies (Sinister 2 Review)

I’m also now on sportstalkfromthe6.com

To hide from her abusive husband, Courtney Collins (Shannyn Sossamon) is living in a rural house with her 9-year-old-twins, Dylan and Zach (Robert Daniel Sloan and Dartanian Sloan). Dylan, meanwhile, is having nightmares and can’t sleep because he receives visits from the ghosts of kids who show him disturbing films of their families and others being murdered. All of this was started by Bughuul, an evil spirit who is recruiting children in the hopes of them murdering their families. Their family’s only hope may be in the form of a former deputy (James Ransone) who is familiar with Bughuul and his past exploits.

Keep in mind that I haven’t seen the first film so I am not qualified to compare it to the first. I am not completely sure if it makes any references to the first film except for James Ransone’s character who returns from the first film. Without giving too much away, the story in this film is just plain silly. There will be many moments that will make you ask why primarily because they are just stupid and/or not make sense. I found the characters not very likeable, especially the family. The characters aren’t too original and come off as cliche. There’s an overprotective, oblivious parent and naive, gullible children. One of the things I didn’t like about the film was the fact that a lot of it was told from the kids’s perspective. This would be okay in any other instance but what didn’t make it work for me was because of how annoying they were as well as what I previously mentioned. They were merely driving the plot forward but it just seemed too easy and unearned. The dialogue also did get pretty bad at certain moments, mostly ones involving the children. I also did not find this film very scary either as the majority consisted of jump scares which never got me, weird noises, and things moving on their own.  I felt the story was very slow because it never really got going until near the end where it actually became a little scary but by then it was too late. What I also didn’t like that there was no real threat in the film as Bughuul was relegated to just popping out from unexpected places and unexpected times. The only real evil here were the creepy ghost kids who were really good at being creepy through their pale make-up and creepy dialogue (minus the cheesy stuff). The only real thing I liked about this film was James Ransone’s deputy. I liked the way that he awkwardly handled everything and that he wasn’t the standard, leading-man type. He was trying to be the lead but I just didn’t see it but I will say he came close. He also drove the plot as he was used mostly as a vehicle to steer us through most of the film’s scares. I will end by saying that this isn’t the best horror movie I’ve seen this year but it’s still watchable.

Score: 5/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here.

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Hitman? (Hitman Agent 47 Review)

Genetically engineered from conception through decades of research, a man known only as Agent 47 (Rupert Friend) was made to be a perfect killing machine blessed with unrivaled strength, speed, stamina, and intelligence. His current target is an evil corporation, known as Syndicate International, led by Le Clerq (Thomas Kretschmann) who is looking to uncover 47’s past in order to create an army of killers (agents) who are even more powerful than him. With the help of a young woman, Katia (Hannah Ware), he must confront revelations about his own origin and battle against his deadliest foe, John Smith (Zachary Quinto).

I’ll just start off by saying not to listen to rotten tomatoes on this one. As I am writing this, the film has an 8% rating on the site. You know what also has that rating on the site (also as I am writing this)? The most recent Fantastic Four film does. That film is terrible. This film is no masterpiece but it is a lot better than Fantastic Four. My synopsis above implies that the film has a story but it really doesn’t. I’m not sure if they thought they needed to explain anything since the film is based on the video game series of the same name or if they were trying to take its characters and give them a new story. I will admit that I am vaguely familiar with the video game series but you really don’t have to be to be able to enjoy this film. This may be because of the running time but to understand what is happening, you must simply accept what you are being told. Luckily there isn’t too much of it since the action sequences are at the forefront here. Although very well choreographed, very violent, and exciting, certain aspects defy both sense and reality. What I found unsettling was how bad all of the various henchmen were as they just seemed stupid and died a little too easily. I understand that the filmmakers are supposed to make the stars look good but I would have liked if they could have put up a little more of a challenge. Also, a lot of those sequences contain several instances of bad CGI which took me out of the experience but they panned away from it rather quickly. My favorite part of this film has to be Rupert Friend’s performance as Agent 47 because I thought he really embodied what the character would have looked like. I thought Zachary Quinto was good too but he didn’t really have too much to do and Kretschmann even less in this one. The real disappointment here is the story (or the lack of) what really seemed promising at the start where it tried to introduce and develop the characters as well as their motivations fell apart around half-way through and became an average, flashy, action movie. The last time I’ve seen this is in the Ryan Reynolds movie Self/less from a month ago. This film is watchable but I just wanted a little more.

Score: 6/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here.

Coming Soon (September)

These are the movies that I will try to see this September. Hopefully I can get to them all but it isn’t easy getting limited releases in Ottawa.

Sept 4th
The Transporter Refueled

Sept 11th
The Visit

Sept 18th
Black Mass
Cooties
Everest
The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials

Sept 25th
Before I Wake
Sicario
The Green Inferno (NSFW)
The Intern

Sept 30th
The Walk

I Didn’t Choose the Game, the Game Chose Me (Straight Outta Compton Review)

In 1988, an innovative new musical group revolutionized pop culture, changing the way we know hip-hop forever. The group, N.W.A’s first album, “Straight Outta Compton”, created some controversy because of its honest depiction of life in Compton, California. With the assistance of their manager Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti), members Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr.), Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), Easy-E (Jason Mitchell), DJ Yella (Neil Brown Jr.), and MC Ren (Aldis Hodge) have to steer their way through the music industry while acquiring fame, fortune and a place in history along the way.

One thing I liked about this film was how authentic it was. It definitely sounds and looks like the late 80s with the soundtrack, the decor, and the wardrobe. I’ve never really been a fan of rap music ,or even music in general but I don’t think you have to be to enjoy this film. The group in question has 5 members but the film really focuses on 2 (Ice Cube and Dr. Dre) and also Easy-E to a lesser extent. The performances were great across the board where O’Shea Jackson Jr’s Ice Cube and Jason Mitchell’s Easy-E standing out. Despite some of the dramatic moments coming off a little cheesy (a common complaint I have with certain dramatic films), there were still decent moments with the acting making up for the others. I thought the story flowed well for the most part even with the 2 and a half hour running time. I thought the beginning and end were strong but it lagged a little in the middle. The story was told in a way that felt real going back to the point I made about authenticity. You get to see what they had to live through and how they were able to overcome it and make something out of themselves. The dialogue was authentic in that it featured certain words that are not in my vocabulary but I would think they would be in theirs and I assume that was where the film’s 18A/R rating came from. My favorite thing about this film other than the acting was the musical performances. I think they were well shot in that they made you feel like you were there and what added to that feeling was the sound work that captured the crowds and their noise. What I didn’t like about the film was how they depicted police officers. They were a little too over-the-top for me which came across a little unrealistic in that I understand what that time was like but it’s unlikely that they would all be the way they were. Some people may be offended by the language, nudity, drugs, and/or violence but that was what they were like and not having these would mean not telling the story properly. People should not be surprised by any of this considering the rating and the subject matter. I did not mind this and I think that most wouldn’t either.

Score: 8/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here.

The Cool One Who Lives In A Van Down By the River (The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Review)

In the middle of the Cold War, a mysterious criminal organization led by a woman named Victoria Vinciguerra (Elizabeth Debicki) is trying to acquire nuclear weapons and technology to create friction and upset the balance between the United States and Russia. CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) are forced to set aside their differences and team up in order to stop these criminals in their tracks. This duo must use the help of a missing German scientist’s daughter Gabby (Alicia Vikander) who they must find to stop a possible global catastrophe.

First I’ll say this film is not Bond or Bourne, but it is fun. I’ve never heard of the TV show this is based on either. When the film starts, you’ll notice that it serves as a period piece in that it exudes 60s culture with the outfits, the technology, the soundtrack, and the overall look of everything. It doesn’t beat you over the head with it as it takes a backseat to the plot. The story is pretty standard here and is not too overly original for an action movie. You get all the normal stuff: fight scenes, car chases, shooting, explosions, etc. These are all done well as you can see that they spent a decent amount of time working on each of them. All of these were shot nicely as well but I could definitely have gone without all the spit screen stuff. I thought the acting was very good in this with Cavill being the cool, sly American agent and Hammer providing the counterbalance to Cavill’s many quips. This brings me to my favorite thing about this film which is the writing. It brings smarts and some comedy to lighten things up a little and to break up all the action sequences. This is evident in a few scenes near the middle and end. I thought Vikander was okay but she didn’t really have to much to do here and Debicki was great as an icy, cold villain who I wish I could have seen more of. Hugh Grant was good as well in a minor role. What I didn’t like about this film was the chemistry between Cavill and Hammer, I thought they were good individually but I did not enjoy it as much when they were together. Something just did not seem right to me. Finally, this film does not compare to all of the other action films that have come out this year but it gets a recommendation for just how fun it is to watch and it does have a lot of enjoyable moments.

Score: 7.5/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here.

Who Are You? (Identity Thief Review)

I am going to try something a little different today with this review in that it will be a little shorter than my usual ones.

Diana (Melissa McCarthy) has a pretty lavish lifestyle. She can buy whatever she wants, whenever she wants and it’s all free, thanks to Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman), a man from Denver whose identity she has stolen. Now with just one week to track her down before his whole world is destroyed, Sandy must head down south to confront her and bring her back to Denver so he can clear his name and restore his life.

Based on who is in this film (Bateman and McCarthy), I thought this movie was going to be a lot funnier than it actually was. The jokes in this one were rather hit or miss with mostly misses. Most of the comedy here is McCarthy being a big, obnoxious, clumsy woman like in most of her films and Bateman is a normal guy in a weird situation or a fish-out-of-water type like in a lot of his films. So you’ve seen this before from each of them. What didn’t fit for me was how they tried to humanize McCarthy’s character, it just doesn’t feel earned. I wish set-up which could have been a little longer because I enjoyed the few scenes near the beginning where Diana starts to take advantage of the identity she stole. After that, it’s just an average, predictable road trip film.

Score: 6/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here.

One Worth Receiving (The Gift Review)

When married couple Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) run into Gordo (Joel Edgerton), a former schoolmate of Simon’s, their seemingly perfect lives take an unexpected turn for the worst. Simon initially claims to have not recognized Gordo but when he and his wife start to receive mysterious gifts and uninvited visits, a disturbing secret surfaces. As Robyn begins to learn the past history between Simon and Gordo, shew begins to question whether or not she ever really knew her husband at all.

I will admit that I went into this film expecting it to be cheesy and predictable but I was pleasantly surprised when I found that it wasn’t either of those. What may seem like a simple plot at first is done in an interesting and original way with many red herrings, plot twists, and shifting perspectives to keep us viewers engaged. The script written by Edgerton is well done in that it strays from the predictable and his characters drive the plot forward. Suspense is generated from the moral ambiguity of the characters as you never really know what their intentions are. The film. also directed by Edgerton, is beautifully shot in that the camera cuts in and out at the right time during the scary/suspenseful parts which adds to the experience. What also added to that experience was the soundtrack which always seemed to ratchet up and down at the right time letting you know when something was about to happen. Its amazing how it was able to achieve this without any blood or brutal violence. This was appreciated as I have seen a lot of those types of movies without ever eliciting too much of a reaction from me but there were a few moments when this one got to me which I enjoyed. I personally prefer psychological scares more than the more gruesome ones. The story can get a little slow at times but I didn’t mind because of the performances of the three leads. I was surprised by Jason Bateman’s Simon. Being used to his numerous comedic performances, I didn’t think that he could do it. He was able to go from a normal man with a dry sense of humor to a sly, conniving bully on a dime. Rebecca Hall was great as Robyn, a damaged, vulnerable housewife simply looking for peace of mind. However Edgerton’s Gordo is the highlight of this film. In his performance, he goes from nice and kind to creepy and unstable so effortlessly using mostly facial expressions. This film is a slow journey but the scenery is not like most and unlike a lot of thrillers, it doesn’t play all of its cards too early and keeps the suspense all the way until the end which I will not spoil.

Score: 9/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here.

Fantastic Floor? (Fantastic Four Review)

After having travelled to an alternate universe, four outsiders gain superhuman powers that have altered their physical form in amazing ways. Reed Richards (Miles Teller) can now stretch and twist his body at will. His best friend Ben Grimm (Jaime Bell) has gained immense strength. Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan) can control and project fire. His sister, Sue Storm (Kate Mara) can manipulate light to become invisible and has telekinetic abilities. Together, they must come together to battle a former friend Doctor Victor Van Doom (Toby Kebbell) who now poses a threat to Earth.

I have never seen any of the previous Fantastic Four films beforehand but I was aware of how they were received. I will just come out right now and say it, this film is not very good. I was surprised by how boring it was. Nothing really happens until near the end which is too late because you’ll probably just not care by then. I understand that this film is a reboot but you shouldn’t spend most of the time doing the rebooting. Most of the time was spent setting up things for the end. Unfortunately the setup here is all bad as the four main actors have no chemistry whatsoever. They never quite spend anytime with one another or even really interact with one another at all as most of this is done off-screen. You’re never able to get emotionally invested in any of them. Kate and Johnny have few scenes together and when they do, their interactions imply nothing more than a friendly relationship. I did not buy Reed and Ben being friends either. Ben only comes on late so he does not have too much interaction with the rest of the team and he never really spoke with anyone other than Reed. Because of this lack of bond or chemistry between the actors/characters, the final act becomes void of any emotional depth and you don’t get much of a sense of accomplishment. The special effects don’t represent a film in 2015 either but I’ll let you see those for yourselves. The main villain of the film Van Doom is silly looking with powers that defy all realms of sense because he could simply do anything. His plan just came off as random because we did not get to know to learn too much about him since he is absent for the majority of the movie. This was a shame because I actually liked him and I wish I could have seen him a little more. Perceptive viewers will notice subtle differences during the film’s final act as it was reshot so little continuity errors will be evident and what also made it obvious that it was reshot was how it did not fit with the rest of the movie tone-wise. What disappointed me was that I felt the actors just didn’t try and that came across while watching it. I heard that the only reason this film was made was so Fox could retain their film rights to the Fantastic Four before they returned to Marvel in 2016. I have three words for them, Let them go.

Score: 4/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here.

Want to Play a Game? (Ouija Review)

Following the mysterious death of her best friend Debbie (Shelley Hennig), Laine (Olivia Cooke) finds an old Ouija board in Debbie’s room and wants to use it to try to say goodbye. To help her, she enlists her and Debbie’s friends Trevor, Sarah, Isabelle, and Pete (Daren Kagasoff, Ana Coto, Bianca A. Santos, and Douglas Smith) to try to communicate with Debbie with the board. Instead of contacting Debbie, they find someone else. Now she and her friends must discover this spirit’s past and to close the portal they’ve opened in order for them to not suffer its fate.

Continue reading “Want to Play a Game? (Ouija Review)”

Still a Better Love Story Than Twilight (Love in the Time of Monsters Review)

Post #50, oh how far I’ve come

Two sisters Carla and Marla (Marissa Skell and Gena Shaw) are on their way to a tourist trap known as “Uncle Slavko’s All-American Family Lodge” with its prominent themes of America and Bigfoot. Carla is there because she wants to surprise her boyfriend who works there and Marla just wants to have a good time. Meanwhile, the lodge’s Bigfoot mascots led by Lou (Kane Hodder) accidentally fall into a pond contaminated with toxic waste. This toxic waste causes them to become hungry, flesh-eating, monsters with one of them being Carla’s boyfriend. These Bigfoots are now on a bloodthirsty rampage, killing and eating anything in sight. Now both sisters and the inhabitants of the lodge must fight for their survival.

Here’s a clip of Dr. Lincoln (Doug Jones) explaining how the Bigfoots came to be:

I came into this with low expectations. This film exceeded them. When you see a film called “Love in the Time of Monsters”, you immediately think its one of those “so bad that its good” films but it’s better than that. The film stays away from that for the most part but does briefly touch it. More about that later. The first thing you’ll notice is how good it looks, it looks very clean but also a little grainy like old horror films. I found that it and also the soundtrack added to the ambiance the film was trying to create.The acting was also pretty decent for this kind of film. It really saved the dialogue which came off as cheesy a lot of the time but I thought it fit with the story. I liked how it was more of a comedy than horror and that it didn’t take itself too seriously which kept me interested in the story. I laughed a lot more than what I expected. I also liked that it had the right amount of gore and violence which made the bigfoots more scary in that we saw what they were capable of. Since they were originally human, they felt real in that the powers they got were not too over-the-top. I enjoyed how fake the animatronic animals looked. They were so bad but the actors were still committed. The film starts off a little slow but when it gets going, it really does get going. That brings me to my favorite part of the film which is near the end, and that’s all I’m going to say to not spoil anything. Overall, with parts that seem like they would not work together that do, a fun story, good special effects, and acting, Love in the Time of Monsters is a fun and entertaining film that both amateur and die-hard horror fans will enjoy.

Score: 8/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here.

If you would like to read about more excellent, terrible films, you can do so here.

Also thanks to the producer of the film for the clip and the featured image.

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