When teenager Jay (Maika Monroe) sleeps with a guy she is dating, he ties her up to a wheelchair and professes that he has passed on a curse to her through having sex. He tells her that a strange entity/demon will be following her, always walking after her, and if it were to reach her, she will be killed. The only way to pass on the curse is to sleep with someone else, but she needs to make sure they continue to pass it on because if it were to kill someone further down the chain, it will begin to haunt the previous person again and it will never stop!
Sounds like a stupid premise right? Well, according to reviews, this movie hit big last year at Cannes and everyone can’t stop talking about how scary this movie is so I had to give it a view! My overall consensus isn’t good… here is why…
Set in what appears to be Detroit (8 mile reference) in the 1980s, It Follows just isn’t a scary movie. I’ve read the reviews and I just didn’t see how it was “terrifying” and “horrifying.” I was sooooooo ready to be freaked out by this movie! I will give it props for being original, however, I did notice how it tried to mooch off the love that most 80s horror movies get (and it’s not even a movie made in the 80s.) I want horror movies to chill me to the bone. I want the hair to raise on my arms. I want to go home and HAVE to keep the lights on. However, at no point while watching this movie did I feel dread or fear, and I’m pretty sure I have a good idea why. Special Effects… Let me elaborate. When you are watching a movie with a huge budget, anything is possible with special effects. Super freaky ghosts can come flying out of the wall, sequences with gore can be ramped up a degree, and in your mind, anything could happen. The possibilities are endless (even though they really fall back on clichés but that’s another discussion entirely.) There came a point in this movie when I realized that anything pertaining to the demon “walking” around was portrayed as an actor dressed all in white with ghoulish make-up on. I realized that any incarnations that could potentially scare me never manifest because the demon was always going to look human. That isn’t scary at all to me especially with all the zombie movies and tv shows around.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure if this kind of thing were to happen to me in real life, it would scare the shit out of me, but as a movie, and watching a character run away from a walking person that only she could see, it almost put me to sleep. There isn’t a true climatic ending to bring this story to a head, and when the movie did end, I felt like there was MUCH more that needed to be explained. I’m not saying this movie is a bad movie, because I can see how many people will enjoy this, but I needed more. This movie is basically rated R because of unnecessary nudity so if you cut that out, this movie becomes a lackluster, PG-13, semi-horror, semi-thriller that bores rather than scares. After all the hype, I can’t believe this simple movie is praised so highly. I just don’t get it… then again, I didn’t get The Guest last year either and people called that good. My advice is to go put on Sinister if you want a movie that will chill you to your core! It’s just sad that yet another horror movie has come with high praise and I still find myself unimpressed. Co-starring Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary, Keir Gilchrist, Lili Sepe, and Olivia Luccardi.
5/10 Stars – There might be a scene or 2 that caused me to be mildly concerned, but otherwise this movie bored me. It is not scary, terrifying or anything to fear!
When James Terrier (Sean Penn) goes into an 8 year hiding after the successful assignation of a Congo official, he is lured back into action when a hit crew comes after him regarding this very kill. The Gunman is a mixture of a Sean Penn movie (mostly political) and a Liam Neeson movie (aging badass shots plenty of thugs). The problem with this mixture is both aspects come up weak.
The political aspect of the film is thin and overdone. A man kills a powerful influential man in a foreign land and then goes into hiding only for him to be hunted years later over this kill. That’s not original! Secondly, the story is pretty confusing in the “why” department. I get that Sean Penn’s character is a wanted man, but the whole back story just didn’t click with me. Why can’t these political action movies ever just come out and tell us what is going on. Why do we have to read between the lines to figure out this crap!?! Be prepared to be lost throughout most of this movie other than the fact that “this guy wants that guy dead.”
As far as the action goes, Sean Penn is ok as an action badass. Sure, Liam Neeson owns that title but he can’t be in every cliché (what ever happened to Bruce Willis?) The problem with the action sequences are they last too long and there are too many. This movie is about 15 minutes too long and by the time we get to the end, we are just screaming in our head, “Please end this!” The Gunman over stays its welcome with a network of messy action sequences and a confusing story, and that isn’t even touching on the odd characters. Sean Penn’s character is the only level head person here. I have no idea the reason behind the girlfriend or why she needed to be included. Idris Elba doesn’t even show up until about 20 minutes left in the movie and is in only 2 scenes!
When it’s all said and done, The Gunman is something that will entertain for about an hour, then lose the audience to the mess it creates. My recommendation would be to watch any Liam Neeson film. At least you know he is made for these roles. Co-starring Ray Winstone, Jasmine Trinca, Javier Bardem, Mark Rylance, and Idris Elba.
5/10 Stars – Does its job for about an hour, before the story, action and characters merge into a giant political action mess.
Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson) is a drunk loser who has always been a bum. His best friend and mob boss, Shawn (Ed Harris), has been the only one who has ever had his back, that is until tonight. When Jimmy’s son Mike (Joel Kinnaman) witnesses a murder committed by Shawn’s son Danny (Boyd Holbrook), Jimmy is forced to kill Danny before he can kill his own son. When Shawn is told by Jimmy himself, the friendship dissolves into 1 night of survival as Shawn comes at Jimmy and Mike with all he’s got!
Run All Night is the typical Liam Neeson formula. Its story is simple and full of action with plenty gun fights. It has a very similar feel to his 2014 film A Walk Among the Tombstones. Both films seem just fine and entertaining as you watch them, but when they are analyzed, they are flat and plain. Neither film has anything memorable to talk about and that is the biggest downfall. Right now, the critics give Run All Night a decent review that sits at about a 60% approval rating, but it could have been much higher had they done 1 thing. That 1 thing is put in a memorable scene! Give us something that in 5 years we can go, “Oh yea, Run All Night is that Neeson movie with that one bad ass scene, remember when…” but it simply has nothing to set it apart from all the others! It is typical. It is what we expect. It is ok. At least the Taken movies have the famous tag line, but Run All Night will be a movie that will be forgotten about in the near future. It is a shame, but that is what you get when you don’t do anything refreshing and new. Co-starring Bruce McGill, Common, Vincent D’Onofrio and Genesis Rodriguez.
7/10 Stars – In the moment, Run All Night is fast, fun and entertaining, but good luck remembering it in 6 months.
In a futuristic society, police keep the peace by using robots called Scouts. They have lowered crime substantially and they minimize the lost of life to the police officers on duty. When the creator of the Scouts develops a new software that would allow the Scouts to think and learn on their own, the idea is immediately dismissed as dangerous, but when the creator is kidnapped by a group of thugs in desperate need of money, he is forced to put this program into one of the damaged Scouts. The new Scout is a child, absorbing everything he sees around him and his name is Chappie (Sharlto Copley). It isn’t long before Chappie’s purpose is played out and as he learns, he begins to see the right from the wrong.
Directed by Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium), Chappie has a futuristic setting (like his other 2 movies) that doesn’t feel like it is that far off from today. The lack of color and the plain nature of the movie set a tone for how natural instinct will play a role in this film. Right from the start, the story was off-putting for me. The idea that Chappie is stolen and raised by 2 petty thugs looking for money is unoriginal. Granted, this is more of a realistic situation in a sci-fi movie, but that idea is boring! Once Chappie is created, he acts like a robot child growing up with white-trash thug parents. He talks ghetto. He acts ghetto. He is tricked into doing illegal things just like many kids with shady parents. Chappie is pretty much the ghetto, robotic verson of Jar Jar Binks!
It isn’t until we are over halfway into the movie that it starts to become interesting. This is when Hugh Jackman becomes a relevant player in the story and Chappie starts to make choices for himself. The creator of Chappie tries his best to keep him on a straight path, but the more he is taught the thug life, the more his robotic pants start to sag. The last 30 minutes or so is when the movie picks up and the action is front and center. Chappie becomes the hero of sorts to battle the evil MOOSE destroyer that Hugh Jackman’s character believes is superior to the Scouts, but just as in Robocop, the walking tank goes on a destruction rampage that must be stopped as we find out who the real evil is!
When it is all said and done, the thug nature of this movie is annoying to watch. I’m sure many people felt the same way when they first saw Jar Jar, but at least he was goofy. Chappie is ghetto and stupid. The ending isn’t enough to save it for me even though the ending is pretty interesting. I really liked both of Neill Blomkamp’s other films so if you think Chappie is going to be like those, be prepared to find this one less satisfying. Co-starring Dev Patel, Ninja, Yo-Landi Visser, and Sigourney Weaver.
5/10 Stars – The idea was in the right place, but the execution is flat out annoying as Chappie is a little ghetto robot child.
Picking up where Divergent left off, Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) are now fugitives on the run, and are being hunted by the Erudite leader Jeanine (Kate Winslet) who wants all Divergent to be killed. Seeking allies and answers from all places of this ruined, futuristic Chicago, Tris discovers that the only way to end this all is to face the enemy face to face. Will she find her place in the class system? Will she find the answers she is looking for?
As a disclaimer, my review is based off the movie as I have not and will not read the books. Insurgent picks up right where Divergent ends with Tris, Caleb, Peter and Four on the run, and this movie pretty much feels like the first part of Mockingjay from the Hunger games. The heroes are forced underground with unlikely allies and have to watch what they do as they are constantly being hunted. At least this time around, the audience has a good understanding WHY everything is happening and what the end results could possibly be. If you remember my Divergent review, the whole time I was lost thinking to myself, “What is the purpose of this story and where is it headed?” Well, we now we have a slightly better understanding…
As far as a movie goes, Insurgent, I feel is better than Diverent (which isn’t saying much.) The acting is still horrible and the dialogue is unnatural. I hate what Shailene Woodley did with her hair as she often looks like Miss Finch from Follow That Bird (yes, that Sesame Street movie where the mean ostrich chases Big Bird around). Her hair is so distracting and messy that I just couldn’t take her seriously. Insurgent is the epitome of teen sci-fi fiction just like The Maze Runner, The Giver and The Hunger Games (except the Hunger Games has talent… sorry Kate) which tells you that this genre is getting crowded. Sure the action is decent and the effects aren’t horrible, but in 2015, we expect much more in the visuals department. When you have comparisons to franchises such as Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and the Hunger Games, movies made from popular book franchises need to step up their game, and sadly, this series is lackluster. Sure the movie is entertaining and isn’t a total waste of time, but from what I hear, this “ok” movie is based on an “ok” book, so what did we really expect? Enter at your own risk!!! Co-starring Jai Courtney, Mekhi Phifer, Octavia Spencer, Zoe Kravitz, Ansel Elgort and Miles Teller.
6/10 Stars – This entertaining, teen, sci-fi, action flick offers some direction to a confusing story with decent action and bad acting.
His Review: When teenager Jay (Maika Monroe) sleeps with a guy she is dating, he ties her up to a wheelchair and professes that he has passed on…
His Review: When James Terrier (Sean Penn) goes into an 8 year hiding after the successful assignation of a Congo official, he is lured back into action when a…
His Review: Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson) is a drunk loser who has always been a bum. His best friend and mob boss, Shawn (Ed Harris), has been the…
His Review: In a futuristic society, police keep the peace by using robots called Scouts. They have lowered crime substantially and they minimize the lost of life to the…