film · movie reviews

Movie Review: Sinister (2012)

Title: Sinister
Genre: Horror/Thriller
Rating: R (NOT FOR KIDS; while not as gory as some horror movies, this film focuses on murder and psychological horor, so not for the kids)
Release Date: 2012
Director: Scott Derrickson
Writing Credits:  Scott Derrickson & C. Robert Cargill

At a Halloween party over the weekend, a friend decided that everyone should watch Sinister, which he greatly recommended (and horror is his favorite genre).  So we agreed.  Although I’m sure some of my friends regret watching movies with me because I am a commentator. This movie was no exception.

The movie starts out with Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) and his family moving into a home that (unknown to the rest of his family) is at the center of a murder mystery he is investigating for his new book.  He finds a bunch of 8mm home videos and decides to watch them.  Only he finds out that the films cover 50 years and all end with the family dying in various different ways.  Things continue to go south in many ways for him as he continues his investigation. It begins to affect his children and wife.  (The effects on the kids is another reason why this movie is not for kids).

It is your standard horror movie, with the psychological elements that come with it.  Writing wise, its well written. I think the idea of tying into a fictional pagan deity was a bit much, but it worked within the film.  The minor characters seem to have a lot more sense than I usually see in a horror film which was also a nice change.

The cast, other than Ethan Hawke, was pretty new to me.  However they all did an excellent job. The girl who played Ashley Oswalt (Clare Foley) might be familiar to some as she played a recurring character on Gotham (Ivy Pepper).

The soundtrack was amazing though, and perhaps the best part of the film.

My overall enjoyment of the film was so-so because Horror films don’t seem to appeal to me.  I spend too much time mocking the characters. But this movie overall if taken analytically was a well put together movie.  My only criticism is some of the lighting in some of the scenes  could have been better.

Deputy So-and-So (who I see as the most sensible person in this movie) returned for the sequel, which came out in 2015.  It has Shannyn Sossamon in it, which intriqued me but I don’t think I’ll be watching the sequel.

Final Grade: A

Trailer:

film · movie reviews

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Title: Beauty and the Beast
Release Date: 2017
Director:Bill Condon
Genre:  Disney; Live-Action Animation remake; Musical
Method of Watching:  Stream (Netflix)

Today I finally sat down and watched Beauty and the Beast.  I expected to enjoy it and was not disappointed.  However, It actually was better than I expected.  Beauty and the Beast’s original Disney film came out in 1991 when I was 5 years old.  So basically at the time I was obsessed with Disney films like ever other toddler in existence.  So there is a lot of sentimentality to get through when watching a remake.  I expected to enjoy it because of other reviews I read, but also expected to be disappointed in ways because it would no doubt not match the animated version. Continue reading “Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast (2017)”

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Scarlet O’Hara (Bubblews Repost)

Vivien Leigh in Gone With the Wind trailer-9

EDIT NOTES:  This post was made several years ago on Bubblews, a site that is no longer online.  I found it while cleaning out some folders on my google drive, and decided to repost it, with some minor grammatical corrections.  According to my file, I wrote this on October 9, 2014, 11:55 AM.  I plan on eventually reading the novel, and rewatching the movie to see if my views still hold true. Also this post doesn’t focus on GWTW portrayal of slavery, which is at times very awkward because of its avoidance of the reality.  This just focuses on their main plot around Scarlet.

On Sunday, I saw Gone With the Wind in Theaters.  It was a great experience, although I hate to tell the movie people that 5 minutes is not enough to allow people to get to the bathroom and/or go to the concession stand to refill their drinks.  Should have been fifteen, but that is not the point of this post. Continue reading “Scarlet O’Hara (Bubblews Repost)”

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Movie Review: Wonder Woman

Film: Wonder Woman  (PG-13)
Director:  Patty Jenkins
Release Date:  June 2 2017/September 1 2017
Grade: A

I really enjoyed this movie.  I will admit that one of the reasons I wanted to see it is because I like Chris Pine, but honestly he was only one element of a good film.  The background of the Amazonians was well-developed, and Robin Wright did an amazing job as the general.  I wish we had seen more of her in the film then we did.

The secondary characters were great as well, and they didn’t ignore the idea of PTSD from the war.  They also didn’t make the superhero always right. I’m also glad they made it be WWI, and not WWII.  While the Germans are still the guys following the bad guy, It gets tiring after a while to see it always be the Nazi’s (although if there is a Nazi, they should be fought).  This movie didn’t shy away from the fact that at the time there was many disadvantages to not being white and male without making it seem like a lecture.  It didn’t glorify war, but it wasn’t heavy-handed with the opposite.  It had an even tone through out.  There were plenty of female characters that had names and lines none of them were seen in awkward near nudity scenes. Diana’s uniform is reveling, but functional rather than just something that makes her look ‘sexy’ which has long been a comic book flaw.  I was surprised that they reversed the trend of seeing women in surprise nudity to seeing the guy in surprise nudity.  Although he was taking a bath, so it is a little more understanding then say what happened in Star Trek where Carol Marcus just starts changing in front of the man who is technically her boss.

I also give them credit for an amazing plot twist at the end which didn’t stick to all the conventions either.

It was a good origin film, connecting well into the general DC universe.  I have to admit that out of the DC films I have seen, this has been the only one I have enjoyed.  I can only hope that DC  takes note from this and the movies will improve in quality of writing.

Besides Chris Pine, Gal Gadot, and Robin Wright, it has a lot of familiar faces.  Danny Houston plays the German General, who perhaps is not unlike his edition of Stryker from the X-men movies. David Thewlis, known for his portrayal of Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter films plays Sir Patrick, one of the leaders of Great Britain attempting to make an armistice with the German forces.

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Film Review: GhostBusters (2016)

A long time ago, I believe I watched the original Ghostbusters film, but to be honest it has been so long ago that I barely remembered it. Going into watching this version of the story I was wondering if it was going to be a different verse, or a continuation or otherwise how it would relate to the original.  The answer was its a whole different universe from the originals, but the actors who were in the original who were still living all make some brief appearances in the film.

I found it hilarious at times, and some random actors showed up that I wasn’t expecting like CHarles Dance (aka Tywin Lannister) and Ed Begley jr who plays another Ed Jr..  Chris Hemsworth’s Kevin was also a hilarious take on the dumb secretary trope.  The cast as a whole was excellent, and the cameos of the original actors were interesting. The longest appearance was by Bill Murray who plays a critic of the ghostbusters who thinks they are making it all up.

For the most part I enjoyed it, though there were one or two times a joke went on too long, and the credits were over done a little.   Also the theme music appeared more in the trailer then perhaps it did in the actual movie.  The soundtrack in general was a little less then what I was expecting.

Considering one of the larger complains I heard prior to watching was that the cast was all female, I don’t think gender had an any effect on the quality of this film.  The cast did an excellent job

So my grade for this movie is a B+.  I’m definately planning on adding it to my collection at some point and I do hope that they get the sequel that they wanted.

movie reviews

Movie Review: Suicide Squad

So my friends and I got together last week and ended up watching two movies, Suicide Squad and Ghostbusters.  I’ll be reviewing Ghostbusters in my next post.  Obviously I’m late the reviewing of these two, having gotten them as rentals rather then seen in the theater, but they are new to me, so I figured it counted.

Suicide Squad is a DC Comics based film.  The premise is that Amanda Walker puts together a band of villains to save the country.  It both turns out well and very much not well at the same time.  None of the villains are there by choice, but rather leverage Walker has.  They barely tolerate one another.  However they are bonded in their dislike of Walker and Flagg, the only non-villain on the team.  However, when The Enchantress betrays Flagg and Walker, they find themselves on the same side.  Of sorts.

I went into watching this film with no real comic book know how.  My only prior exposure to Suicide Squad is through Smallville which had Flagg, Deadshot and that’s pretty much it as far as characters that appear in this movie.  Completely different as well from what appeared in this movie.  I was also somewhat familar with Harley Quinn just from having a bunch of comic book fans as best friends.

Overall the movie was alright, although I suspect it is better if you are a comic book fan and have the sentimentality towards various characters.  The only real issue I had was the abundance of the Joker who basic plot had no real need to be in the movie.  And he’s probably my least favorite version of the character.  I saw why they had him in there, in Harley’s backstory, but his continual presence seemed like they had actual footage so why not use it rather than something necessary.

Some of the CGI seemed a little awkward at parts yet great in others.

I’m going to give this film a B-.  Talented cast, but more of a film if you actually had a interest in DC comics before this.

 

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Movie Review: Anna Karenina

Title: Anna Karenina
Release Date: 2012
Rating:
Staring:  Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Kelly MacDonald, Domhall Gleensen, Alicia Vikander, and Matthew Macfadyen

My Rating C.

My Review:

Alright, I knew going in that this was going to be a weird movie.  Its Tolstoy.  The man doesn’t do simple happy ever afters.  I’m not entirely sure he does happily ever afters at all.  Plus I had read a few bits of the book before watching the movie.  I’m determined to go back and actually read the whole thing.  If I can read Game of Thrones, which is 900 pages long, I think I can stretch a little further and read Anna Karenina.

Anyway, why did I give this film a C.  Well, the casting was full of people I like (Matthew MacDadyen, Alicia Vikander, and Kiera Knightly especially), so I can’t complain about the acting.  The costuming was excellant No, I just thought the staging was weird.

And by staging I mean the whole movie is built like its the mutant child of a stage play and a film.  Sometimes you feel like you have the full screen depth of a movie, and sometimes you felt like you were watching a recording of a play.  Which I suppose could be seen as an inventive way of making this all out to be some theme about how society is play on image.

It just threw me off really.  I think if they had started it that way, and perhaps ended it that way it would have been sufficent, but they kept routing it through the whole movie.

Also I found I cared very little for Anna and Vronksky,  Wishing there was more of Stiva and his family, or Levin & Kitty more then there was Anna.  I’m not sure how much of that is because of the source material or the script itself.

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Movie Review: Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

Title:  Pride & Prejudice & Zombies (2016)
Rating: PG-13

My Rating:  ….Ambigious.

You see,this movie is both bad, and good.  Its got some great chemistry between actors, and some of the alterations of characters due to the circumstances are really interesting.  It also has the occasionally good line.  I adore Matt Smith’s Collins, and Lena Hedly’s Lady Catherine makes you less likely to dispise the woman.  Charles Dance plays Mr. Bennet.  I knew Lily James as Ella, from the Live-Action Cinderella but didn’t realise she was Elizabeth untill I read the credits.  It also has some faces I’m unfamilar with like Sam Rielly and the rest of the cast I haven’t already mentioned.  I will say while his Darcy isn’t what I usually picture Darcy being, it fits within the scope of this film and he and Lily James work well off of one another.  It also gives some of the characters usually passed over in the original novel (Namely Mary Bennet) a chance to be shown a little more.

On the other hand some of the dialogue is very very cheesey and at times awkward (Example:  When Darcy, watching Elizabeth kick Zombie ass, realises that she’s not that bad looking after all, and starts explaining this to Bingley whose basically “Dude, Zombies.”). It also brings the hard question – If women are being trained for battle, why is it so off set with the sexism of the day?  Shouldn’t it have changed some of it?  Some of the interjection of the original material by Austen is a bit awkward.

So its hard to grade this movie.  I will say I enjoyed it, and I’ll probably purchase it eventually.  It really doesn’t make me want to read the novel (The one the film was based on, not the original P&P, which I have read).However, its the type of Zombie movie I enjoy.  The kind where there is a mix of genre (Action & Adventure, but also comedy and a touch of romance) and there are some surprising twists.

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Movie Review: Antman

Title: Ant-Man (2015)
Rating:PG-13

My Grade:  A

So I finally got a chance to watch Antman this past week.  I’ve been meaning to see it for awhile now, but never got to it.  Paul Rudd, as usual when I watch his movies, is great.  The movie in general isn’t bad, and the casting seems excellant.  I remember there being some concern from comic fans about elements of the story (mainly Hope’s mother) but as someone whose never read an Ant-man comic, I am unaware of what those concerns are and if they materialised in the film.

While there is nothing really about the movie that sticks out to me as the-best-thing-ever  (apart from some hilarious one-liners by supporting cast and a Thomas the Tank-engine cameo), nothing really stands out as particularly bad either.  I look forward to the next movie, which might contain a little less explaining of what is going on.

Spoilers below:

Continue reading “Movie Review: Antman”