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Death Note (2017)
Hard not to compare to the reason the original is good
My quick rating - 3,2/10. Try as I could, it was hard not to compare this to the source material. But taking that out of the equation, this really just wasn't very good. The concept is very solid, but it has been for over a decade, and has been done better. The actors in this do a really poor job, aside from the spot on perfect voice for Ryuk. Willem Dafoe is always money in the bank, but considering his CGI presence and infrequent usage, that won't help this mess. The whole movie seemed to take the source, and incorporate all the news of bullying, political unrest, etc. and wrap it all up in an hour and a half. Along the way, mix in a romance, and teen angst, and the whole thing just misses so much of what made the original that good. Like I said, hard to not compare. The flaws really don't end there, as the camera work during some scenes was terrible, and the use of pointless slow mo to make a statement got distracting. Overall, sure, it was on netflix, but it seems there movies have been lacking as of late and I think this would've been a better move into a TV series realm, as the story itself lends plenty of expand-ability to it. Oh well, they tried.
Rough Night (2017)
Very Bad Things, with women
My quick rating - 5,4/10. You can thank Kate McKinnon for saving this movie. Being a fan of Scarlett Johansson, I find it difficult to say that, but she was the shining star of this movie. This is a story of the bachelor/bachelorette party gone wrong. Seems this movie was done before almost to a tee, but with guys...let me think...."Very Bad Things", yep, that is it. That is all I could think of during this movie, lack of originality. That doesn't mean there aren't some decent laughs. A couple of them come from the bit players as well as McKinnon (I don't know the name of the guy from Modern Family, but he is one of them). So in the groups quest to have a wonderful bachelorette party for the once party girl turned gov't wannabe (Johansson), they accidentally kill the hired entertainment. You get the jist of this and if you don't mind, or even like the usual amusing parts of dumping the body, or watching people make bad decisions, such as the title of the previous movie describes, then you may enjoy this. I personally got my laughs, and didn't feel cheated of my time, but glad I didn't head to the theater for this one. So entirely up to you.
Starry Eyes (2014)
Borderline reality turns nightmare in LA
My quick rating - 5,8/10. This most likely is rated higher, but the supporting cast just dragged this down so much. I did still enjoy the Lynch,Cronenberg-esque style of this film though. Some very nice imagery used to set the tone, and the lead is just fit for the role. She plays an obsessive actress that will do whatever she needs to succeed (or in this case, just get a part). All of that of course leads to the downward spiral. Reading reviews using "disturbing" and grotesque" are a stretch, since the gore, nor psychological attack is not either, but it does seem to be a "hit home" thing that I would bet L.A. sees a lot in struggling talent. The trip to get to the end is enjoyable to watch, and the ending itself is very well done, and since I can't give spoilers, there are some nice nods to old cinema sprinkled in as well.
The Hitman's Bodyguard (2017)
An enjoyable, but dark action/comedy
My quick rating - 6,9/10. From the trailers, you know you are getting a somewhat buddy type movie, such as the late 80s good cop/bad cop. This is the case here, well like I said, somewhat. Ryan Reynolds is coming off a major high from "Deadpool" and where that movie excelled, it creates a few problems for this movie. The first problem I have is you know I am not a fan of Reynolds (but I am coming around since he has been in quite a few good movies and I am putting that aside). Now this isn't the problem. This movie is far more serious and dark, dealing with a topic such as genocide as a backdrop for two quality wise cracking actors taking turns being the funny guy throughout a backdrop of constant action. You have the AAA endorsed bodyguard falling into getting an international hit-man (Jackson) to court to testify against a really bad man (Oldman) for international crimes. So Reynolds and Jackson have to put their differences aside to make it there, alive. This is the good, and bad of the movie. As Jackson and Reynolds have to take turns making us laugh, at some points they are forced to be serious and end up falling flat. Reynolds seems to be the one that gets stuck in the serious role more often and it just doesn't work out. Each character, including Hayeks foul mouthed bad ass love interest for Jackson, all have unique traits on their own, but all three of them cannot come together in this movie. Oldman as well is great, in the somewhat sparse usage and again, his strength seems a bit wasted. Don't get me wrong, pointing this out is merely just that. Opinion. The movie as a whole is very entertaining and doesn't want to let up in the ride they take you on. For a summer blockbuster, this movie relies a bit heavily on the cgi, which I am OK with since it keeps costs down (i think about 30 million for this flick) and gives you the money to throw at the actors needed for your movie. So I would say where Deadpool went in with a joke in mind, this movie was far more serious in nature, and as I mentioned, dark, and by the end you might wonder even though it was so amusing throughout, it really wasn't a comedy at all. But like most people, you will still laugh, and you should. Just realize I believe this script was meant to be far more serious and they all just decided to take a different route as it went along. Comparing the two Reynolds vehicles is quite unfair, Deadpool knew what it wanted to be, and I don't think this movie did. But won't stop me from watching it again when it comes out on blu ray, and I will enjoy it as much as I did in the theater.
Phoenix Forgotten (2017)
Definition of "average"
My quick rating - 5,2/10. This is basically the definition of mediocre. Saying every handi cam movie is like "Blair Witch" is a cop out lazy thing to say. Often aside from the style of footage and camera work, most other movies have nothing to do with that movie, and live on their own ideas. This movie, however isn't one of them. The subject matter, and story are nothing like "Blair Witch" but the massive similarity is the actors and performances. They were almost identical in portrayal of young adults from that movie. OK, enough belly aching about that. This movie obviously deals with the unsolved "Phoenix lights" that took place 20 years ago. UFOs? Military flares? or the ever popular and totally stupid, mass hallucinations, you make the call. This follows 3 curious locals that just want to follow the mystery surrounding this, and see what the military may be hiding. As with others, this movie spends lots of time boring you with character interaction that really is dull. A laugh or two here and there is about it. Bringing back a supposed relative of one of the actual missing kids was a nice change for a reason (i think blair witch just did that.....) but overall I just expected much more, especially with Ridley Scott as a producer, but after watching this, I am fairly sure he took a couple phone calls, and that was the extent of his involvement. Worked fine but just didn't have any "umphhh" overall.
So many movie in an hour and a half
My quick rating 6,5/10. I haven't enjoyed a movie I knew nothing about like this in a long time. Take basically every movie genre, think of a bunch of titles from each, and mash them all up into one all over the place package. To attempt to pin this to one genre is impossible, it attempts them all, and does a pretty good job. Explaining the plot is tough, but this often funny movie encompasses time travel, slasher films, teen comedy and the breakfast club just to name a few of what you are getting into. Nice performances from quite a few unknowns as well. The timing is pretty spot on for the jokes, and are so far off for the scares it is just fun. I am sure anyone can pick this movie to shreds for continuity if they so desire, but very much not worth it. "OMG is she going to give birth to herself" LOL. Suffice it to say, in being so much like so many movies you have seen, this is something you have never seen before. I am unsure why I hadn't seen or heard of this before now but I am glad I finally ran across this one. Oh, and apparently Dane Cook still does have a job...then again, he did recently pop up on American Gods. Good stuff, check it out.
13 Demons (2016)
Concept couldn't save this mess
My quick rating - 3,3/10. A fairly decent idea couldn't save this mess of a film. I like the thought that a group of 3 people get so wrapped up in a fantasy board game, they start acting it out, almost like being possessed by it, and go on a murder spree. Of course they were trying to lean towards it being supernatural, but this movie just didn't develop the idea enough to know either way. The acting as well was just really poor. I struggled to believe any of the bad dialogue that was thrown at the actors in the first place but to act it out so miserably just didn't help. Also the lack of scenes even showing what happened further led to a waste of time. I'd suggest not bothering with this one.
John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)
Fun to count the amount of headshots
My quick rating - 7,5/10. Pretty sure that is also what I gave the first one. Well, the retired hit-man is back. The commercial tells us so. I do appreciate this movie for a slightly different reason than the first one. Where the first did rely a bit more on the story and development of the character, which is a good thing, this one doesn't dabble too much into that and just goes straight at you with action. Another good thing. The sequences are strung together so well, it is just nice to sit there and take each moment in. I could do without taking a vulnerable Reeves and turning him into a bulletproof superhero, such as this movie did. Yes, before you say anything, I know fully well this movie is paying homage to the great action movies out of Hong Kong, but even John Woo may have questioned Keanus invincibility at points of this flick. But checking reality at the door to watch this is not a problem and a good time to be had. Director Chad Stahelski showed that his massive amount of time shooting stunts for more films than I can name (and he was tied with the much missed Brandon Lee as stunt double in "The Crow") pays off behind the camera lens. This may or may not be a spoiler, but I expect John Wick 3 to continue to go over the top. And a rumor of a Highlander redo? Sign me up.
The Belko Experiment (2016)
Good corporate experiment to watch, not be partaking in
My quick rating - 6,5/10. In a somewhat unique take on the kill or be killed scenario via "Battle Royale", this movie more so focuses on the psychology of how those in a corporate environment will react. The individual characters do help somewhat in keeping the tension going, although I think they could have done a lot more in defining each more. For the most part, it was acted out well, including Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley), OK shameless "Scrubs" plug on that one. To see how they respond to the situation is of course where all the tension lies, and don't worry, it does get pretty brutal. I could not help but think of the experiment being much like "The Experiment" which was a criminally unheard of movie that was done just as well, only with prisoners and guards. And not to the death, and voluntary. OK, I guess it really was nothing like this movie now that I typed that out, but the whole social experiment part and how it was acted had that feel. I think with a bit more polish and some better character development, this could've really stood out, but as it is, still a good watch.
Alien: Covenant (2017)
Good tie in and well made sci fi flick
My quick rating 6,6/10. After being drawn into the Alien world basically created in Prometheus (which did branch from the more horror "Alien" and action of "Aliens") I was glad to hear they were going to give us a sequel, which is part of bridging the gaps created in all of the alien movies thus far. I could attempt to explain the whole thing, but I don't actually know all the tidbits and don't feel like doing research. I do know this is basically bridging the gap towards Alien, the first film. After "Prometheus", the synthetic David was left behind, and a crew 10 years later stumbles across an abandoned planet where he so happens to still be. They are on a mission for recolonization so in cargo are 2000 humans. Can you see where this is going? Having Ridley Scott behind the camera lens is a treat and it shows in the great scenes being put together throughout. The worlds created by HR Giger are again used some, not to a great extent, just enough to still look stunning. This one does add a bit more action into the film, which I was glad to see and is edited very nicely. Fassenbender does a good job in his double duty role, and they did a decent job of explaining as well. A nice beginning with a conversation between Walter (the newer version of David) and his creator. A deep question asked to start the movie off. Being a big fan of the whole series, I was thoroughly entertained but I can see why die hard fans are a bit annoyed. The actual aliens aren't used quite enough and for much of the movie, they aren't the big aliens that nightmares are made of but little aliens that give women nightmares (if you have seen the first "Alien" you know what that means). Just like I was quite perturbed I didn't see "Prometheus" in the theater, I would've liked to see this in the theater as well, but honestly, not sure it would've been worth 20 bucks...maybe 12 ;) And now that the bridge has been laid for the two time frames to meet, I wonder where this will go next......