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Shark Lake (2015)
Mix the love part and a better horror element and maybe....
My quick rating - 3,5/10. Really bad. I do appreciate the CGI swimmers against a underwater backdrop that has to be public domain video at this point. The movie is laughable to that level and the only shimmering glimpse of hope is the story? Did I really just say that? If you take away the stupid supposed horror element of normal sized bull sharks hanging out in a lake you actually have a somewhat interesting idea. The romance involves the dealer that sells exotic animals and something he lets lose in the water happens to have babies and is a shark. OK, dumb there, but when it is revealed for other purpose just seemed like the story warped two together since he did so to get back with his ex. OK, sounds dumb, but I saw a glimmer of hope, didn't say it was great. Either way, avoid this movie but maybe Jerry Duggan has something up his sleeve(if he hangs onto his screenplay writer) for something better.
Under the radar yet quality flick
My quick rating - 5,7/10. Better then your average heist type movie. The name basically describes what to expect. This movie uses a fairly creative narrative to tell the story of the actual heist while developing the characters as well. Surprisingly Batista as the heavy did a very good job in his role. As per usual, there is the double cross, etc. type stuff you have come to expect, so I cannot say much more without spoilers. All your staples are covered well being acting, cinematography, bit players. Overall the end is worth the trip to get to. If you are like me and finding unheard of movies (even though this has Deniro in it) this is a good find and well worth the watch.
Mo jing (2014)
Quick take on this actor driven action film
My quick rating - 5,9/10. Another well-made action movie out of Hong Kong. I know they are well known for that and this one isn't as high brow as some but still is a good, solid flick. My problem is even though it was subtitled, I fell asleep watching it. That is abnormal for me so that says something about overall rating. But that being said, this was well acted and had a nice, fluid story to it. By a strange twist of fate, dutiful Hong Kong policeman Dan saves the life of the leader of a violent gang of armed robbers. When they commit another crime, Dan is determined to put an end to their activities. He works with the leader, whom the gang had betrayed, to engineer a plan to wreak havoc within the gang and let the gangsters kill one another. But it becomes increasingly obvious to Dan and to his colleagues that Dan is suffering from a severe mental disorder, and Dan finds that instead of upholding the law as a righteous police officer, he has now become a fugitive wanted for murder.
Real boring movie but decent tutorial on camera work
My quick rating - 3,6/10. Strange to rate this as a fictional movie, the whole thing is basically "how to shoot cameras from in the car, outside the car, near the car." This is all done to show new film makers the proper way to highlight the scenery, characters, etc. Did this movie intend to be anything but a flick showing how to film? Sort of, there was an occasional reference to a tow truck driver chasing after the two dumb girls in the car (I only call them dumb because of how they act in the movie. Would love to see them rolling their eyes when they read the script). I will say that this movie is very odd indeed since it could appeal to fans of "joy ride" and also could get notice from the school of film making wherever these kids were from, but combined together makes for a really boring movie.
Contrived low budget sci fi that would've worked if n their channel
My quick rating - 4,6/10. Contrived, poorly acted low budget sci fi action. I'll let this summarize it so I can move on: Led by Major John Cafferty, a squad of US soldiers are sent on a mission,deep into the mountainous regions of Afghanistan with orders to extract a mysterious top secret package. Now they are back home in a military hospital because they have no memory of what happened to them, or even who they are. In time, they start to recall the strange events that occurred: apparitions that appeared, luring some of them to their deaths and readings of a powerful electromagnetic energy from a strange unearthly power source. But there is no time to dwell on the past, they need to face the bitter truth about how they ended up in Afghanistan to begin with and the betrayals that wiped out their minds and nearly destroyed their lives.
Nice low budget action flick
My quick rating 5,3/10. A pretty straight forward action movie with a really kewl looking robbery to start off with. When the main character (Olga Kurylenko) is accidentally seen on a supposed diamond heist, she must run from those that hired them to steal the diamonds, or was it for the diamonds at all? This leads to a cat and mouse game between them and does involve some interesting action sequences along with a solid female lead to be reckoned with. Not really anything new but enough flare to hold your attention, especially for a limited budget flick. I wouldn't mind seeing a sequel to this (the ending sorta leaves the door open) since this movie did well with what it had to work with.
Crimson Peak (2015)
Visually beautiful horror romance.
My quick rating - 7,4/10. This was the movie for me to see on Halloween this year, that is for sure. As usual, Guillermo del Toro visually stuns the audience with every single scene. The locations that are presented are an absolute marvel. Granted a film cannot be just a national geographic on location shoot alone and this film delivers. The story itself is a mixture of two stories really, one that is ghost story and the other that is romance/thriller.
The Gothic/romance part of this story follows a young American woman (Mia Wasikowska)who is born into wealth yet aspires for her own identity, writing. She falls head over heels for a "Baronette" (Tom Hiddleston) who seems to be mysteriously enamored with her.
The ghost story part revolves around the spirits off those past hanging onto a particular place or feeling which del Toro typically incorporates into the story more then being the focus of it. That being said, the creatures when used look very creepy and startle with their appearance and on queue sound that makes the viewer jump on a few occasions. Not many directors understand how to blend CGI and practical effects in such a seamless way.
Now the basis is set and fans of his previous work may complain since there are two totally different types of del Toro films, huge Hollywood blockbusters such as Pacific Rim and lesser known Spanish horror films such as Devils Backbone. There are more examples of each, but you get the point. This movie is more or less what happens when these worlds collide. Now we have both and I, for one as a fan, am grateful. The story itself may be a bit obvious at times but the way the supernatural helps the audience through is so brilliantly done, that you may have forgotten you guessed parts 10 minutes prior. This is also assisted by extremely good performances of which the show is stolen by Jessica Chastain, playing Lucille, as a dark and seductive character. Here she plays the sister of the Baronette Tom Sharpe. Without giving further away to this film, I will say that everything you would want from a film are all here (minus a complex plot). The scares that del Toro can so simply yet effectively extract from an audience is present along with all the vibrant use of color and sound to contrast the changing moods. Not heavy on the horror or the romance, just a perfect balance of the two making this a worthwhile film for any audience that appreciates quality film making.
I applaud del Toro for coming back with such a film after his Pacific Rim undeservedly bombed in the theaters. Welcome to his world which he crafts so well and enjoy the ride.
Underrated zombie anthology flick
My quick rating - 5,2/10. For some reason this is getting ripped. The movie itself is a group of shorts tied together by a newscast that is taking place after the zombie apocalypse has arrived. Tough to review without breaking each segment down, but I'll make that easy. Two of them stand out by far. The Jesus zombie hunter segment at the beginning and the very much inspired fun at the beach segment at the end. The Jesus segment, along with quite a few others is strictly based upon humor often mocking fans of traditional zombie flicks. That is not to say that the idea of Jesus giving life to the dead isn't a funny way of looking at the beginning of zombies in general. I am also sure that many Christians were up in arms about this segment. The second segment is the "Dead Alive" homage, the last segment fun at the beach (I am making these names up). This gorefest of 10-15 minutes takes every page out of the classic Dead Alive and displays it to the letter. Right down to the laugh from the skull that ends p through a zombies head that is a direct sample of the laugh from the mutant zombie infant from Dead Alive. Great stuff. The rest of the movie is mere filler with some inside jokes and jabs at how stupid the characters act in zombie flicks with an instructional video or two for some assistance. Overall a fun flick that deserves more credit then it is getting.
Zombie Ninjas vs Black Ops (2015)
Bad overall attempt
My quick rating 2,1/10. Bad acting, bad fight scenes, no zombies, no horror elements. No entertainment. The fights are terrible minus the one guy who apparently is in the UFC as the head "zombie" but you wouldn't know it aside from landing a few knee lifts. Don't bother, there was no plot, the other zombie ninjas just kicked around for no reason and the good guys were pathetic. I am all for a martial arts school of young adults pooling there money together to make a film which is what this mess had to be but at least give us some semblance of a plot. I get the flashbacks of "his happened, that happened" but when they don't explain anything?
The Woods (2015)
Somewhat scary jaunt through the Irish countryside
My quick rating - 5,0/10. Pretty hit or miss. The Irish tradition part flew over my head so that part of the plot missed me. The story goes a family moves into a mansion in the middle of nowhere and finds themselves in battle with demons? or something like that from within the forest. The creatures themselves look pretty good although at times seem like recycled scenes (not sure if they were). Seems the demons are interested in taking their child from them for some reason (the audio on the version I saw was horrid) and will not stop until they possess him. Cut and dry, with little new. The tension builds as the demons get more ad more persistent in obtaining the kid. This includes basically possessing the father who is playing both sides for the family and for the demons. Not a bad choice for a late night date flick since the scares are there and cable won't be cutting much out of this one. Check it out and hopefully the sound won't be painfully out of sync for you.