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aesgaard41

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Awesome Movie - Wrong Spider-Man, 23 October 2016
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It is no understatement that comic book movies nowadays are really kicking out and breaking boundaries in theaters these days. Since Christopher Reeve made you believe a man can fly, Tim Burton has made Batman relevant again (before getting embarrassed by Joel Schumacher and rebooted by Christopher Nolan), and Sam Raimi has brought to life what is possibly the most definite Spider-Man movie ever. Where the "Captain America" movie series has succeeded is by basing its movies on successful espionage stories. "Winter Soldier" was based on the book, "The Manchurian Candidate" and this one owes a great debt to "The Odessa File." After the Avengers unwittingly cause an international incident, U.S. Intelligence decides it's time to restrict their activities, but Cap meanwhile tries to defend Bucky who has been framed for an assassination. Their different opinions split the Avengers in half that culminates in the top scene in the movie, a clash of all the characters from the last several MCU movies excluding Thor and the Hulk while including Black Panther and Spider-Man, making this a super- sized "Avengers" movie that thankfully doesn't get bogged down by the excessive characters. However, where the movie makes its fatal flaw is by not picking up from the Sam Raimi "Spider-Man" trilogy and instead inserting yet another rebooted Spider-Man with a young and hot Aunt May. Even without Tobey McGuire, it should have cast a new actor to pick up where Raimi left off with his version of the character, bringing those movies into the MCU while ignoring the ridiculous Marc Webb DC Universe version of the character. That snafu aside, "Captain America: Civil War" is awesome and spectacular; upping the ante on the previous Marvel movies. I can't wait to see where they go next.

Boring, Tedious, Predictable and Anti-Climactic, 23 October 2016
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What do you get when you start a movie franchise on a hit movie that didn't need a sequel using writers with apparently no familiarity with the paranormal? Apparently you get a string of movies that keep declining in quality and interest. I liked "Paranormal Activity." It was scary, creative and told in an unbelievably tedious style that escalated toward the end, much like "The Amityville Horror" and "The Haunting," but the only thing "Ghost Dimension" sticks to is its ability to be long and tedious. The movie features a house built over the site of the grandparents' house that Katy says burned down off-screen in the first movie. The owner finds a jerry-rigged camera that records paranormal activity and before long starts causing them. It's a big old house, because a small one would be too realistic and hence not scary enough. There's another scary little kid as well as all of the old movie tropes (computer trickery, an obsession with cameras, lots of scenes where nothing happens...), and no attempt is made to explain anything in the previous movies. You'd think by this time someone would call in paranormal investigators. It's long, it's tired, it's so boring! The only good thing about this movie is that it killed off the franchise from releasing anymore movies.

Pixels (2015)
Entertaining Movie but very basic Sandler material, 23 October 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm a big Adam Sandler fan. With the right plot, he can be incredibly funny ("Click," "50 First Dates," "Hotel Transylvania" "Water Boy," "Grown Ups,"…), but when the script isn't on his side, he tends to crash hard ("I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry," "You Don't Mess With the Zohan," "Bedtime Stories," "Jack and Jill,"…). I would place "Pixels" somewhere in between. It's an interesting premise to have aliens attack Earth using video games brought to life, but the problem is that Sandler is still basically playing the forgotten screwball character we've seen several times before. Maybe if he had played this role straight, it might have worked. In the movie, he plays Sam Brenner, basically Billy Madison as a video game player whose life went nowhere after losing a contest against his rival Eddie, played to the hilt by Peter Dinklage. His character is rude, offensive and immature, basically an eight-year-old in a forty-year old body. Kevin James is his best friend, Will Cooper, who as President calls him up to fight aliens using video games as weapons and battlefield strategies. The entire premise is played as straight as it can be with the three of them joining up with Josh Gad to fight the invasion or at least show the military how to do it. It's really hard to believe that in a country of over several billion people that there are only three top video game experts to be found. There are a lot of juvenile characteristics in the main characters; Gad himself acting annoyingly unbearable, obnoxious and creepy at times; there is absolutely no point for any of this. Michelle Monaghan of "True Detective" plays the woman meant to be his female foil and future inevitable love interest accompanied by Matthew Lintz as her son. Possibly the best part is the recurring 80s pop culture moments (young Madonna is transmitted by the aliens giving a declaration of war…). While the movie is fun to watch, the credibility eventually gets strained to the limit. It's not all Sandler's fault; the problem is that the movie is over-stuffed with stuff like androids with glass heads that serve no purpose and plot points (Gad somehow wins the "love" of a pixel-created "Lara Croft" character) that stretch the credibility of a plot that is already incredible. There are some funny moments, like an old lady obliviously watching TV as Sandler battles aliens in her living room, and several cameos by Jane Krakowski, Brian Cox, Sean Bean and Dan Aykroyd among others, but overall, the movie just seems to be one long special effects-laden acid trip. I like the movie, but there's no substance to it.

2 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Not based in any sort of reality, 23 October 2016
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm a big fan of ghosts and haunted house movies. When they're scary, they're wonderful. When, they're funny, they can be charming. When they can be funny and scary, it can be a miracle. Unlike "Beetlejuice" and the original "Ghostbusters," this movie is a disappointment. It could have had so much potential. I really tried to like this movie. It had a few funny moments, some memorable quotes, the special effects are far superior and most of the cast are passable. However, the major problem I have with it is that it's just a retread of the original plot. Do you mean to tell me that in the years we've had since with TV shows exploring the paranormal that we can't make an entirely new "Ghostbusters" without just ripping off the original plot, inserting a few vomit and slime jokes and just completely embarrassing the cast with moronic lines and idiotic scenes. The best part of the first movie is that it was hilarious for being played straight; the humor coming from the characters reacting to each other and the phenomenon. Also, the main cast had a purpose. Murray was the cynic, Aykroyd was the heart, Ramis the brain and Hudson the everyman. Sigourney Weaver was the straight man, and Moranis was the comic foil. In this movie, the cast comes across as someone's dirty little fantasy as they somehow replicate piece by piece the same inventions and create the exact same work uniforms as the first movie. It's almost as if the characters saw the first movie and said, "Well, let's make one of those that works and dress like them too." Now, I like Kristen Wiig; she's one of the movie's most likable redeeming features, but Melissa McCarthy is just woefully miscast, ruining every scene she's in. She is just freaking annoying, but then that's what happens when you cast an actress who plays the same character in virtually every movie in which she stars. She really might have worked better in Kate McKinnon's role and vice versa, and then there's the tall Sasquatchy actress, I just can't recall her name, I'll just call her "Patty," but she also seems miscast when she should have been playing one of the demonic entities this movie is passing off as ghosts. The problem is the good jokes are immediately followed by bad jokes, the so-called ghosts look more like "Scooby Doo" villains and the so-called villain is tacked on like as afterthought. There is absolutely no follow-up to his appearance, and his so-called apocalypse looks more like just some annoying inconvenience. It's just incredibly boring. The worst part is that Chris Hemsworth is woefully underused and embarrassed by playing an affable idiot that by all rights would be in a special school than holding a job. It would have been funnier if they had treated him like how guys have been treating women for the last fifty years. For an interesting premise, the plot focuses too hard on trying to be funny than staying on plot, the jokes are predictable before they even land and some of them don't even land; maybe if they had stayed on the plot instead of playing up the jokes. The cameos of the original cast are kind of pointless; the one by Ozzy Osbourne is really embarrassing for him. The plot has holes in it that don't make sense. (How does Rowan know he'll become a ghost? He could have gone directly into the afterlife.) For that matter, the paranormal facts in this movie are non-existent – it just seemingly makes stuff up as it goes along. At least the original didn't stray off-field as much as this one does.

House of Darkness (2016) (TV)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Don't bother turning on the lights., 23 October 2016
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I don't know why, but the SyFy Channel runs very few haunted house movies while Lifetime occasionally runs these family dramas with vague paranormal ingredients and calls them horror thrillers. It doesn't really work. The ghosts aren't scary, and the drama is often unbelievably cookie-cutter routine. Probably based on the events that inspired "The Conjuring," "House of Darkness" is about a family that relocates to a remote house with paranormal activity. The parents have the anxiety of Jack and Wendy Torrance from "The Shining," and the daughter is a loose clone of Carol Ann from "Poltergeist," but the scares are nowhere close to "The Amityville Horror." There are a few shots of the local neighbors looking over nervously to suggest there's something wrong with the house, but these foreshadowing elements don't work because the house looks more like a small motel than a haunted house. One of the more ridiculous plot elements is the fact that the couple is keeping up with their marriage counselor in short video diaries that they keep making through the movie. What consists of the hauntings are the wife seeing signs of children in old Halloween episodes she thinks is her daughter, and the daughter and her cousin experimenting with toys rolling by themselves across the house. The father sees a few things happen, but his situation is not to believe in what's happening and instead lose his mind much like Jack Torrance in "The Shining." It's not really scary, nor is there anything done that truly creative. Almost everything in this movie from the psychic attacked by flies to the daughter who turns up in a sealed up room has already been done in other more successful horror movies. This is what happens when one tries to turn a familial drama into a horror movie without having a real understanding of how horror movies work. There's just nothing to really pull the audience in. The activity isn't scary, the plot is slow, the characters are boring and the script drags on uninterestingly as the viewer waits for something to happen. Even the attempt for a twist ending is left vague, not that the effort really matters by now. I give it 2 out of 5.

Holla II (2013)
When the plot doesn't match the movie -, 23 October 2016
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If there's one thing that annoys me, it's a movie whose plot doesn't match its description. The description for Holla 2 on its DVD is about several friends who stay at a haunted mansion implying it is some sort of ghost movie, but it's anything but. First off, it's a long boring set-up that takes forever to get started and never really goes anywhere. It's boring as hell, the characters are tedious and the plot plods on slowly. The production values are so cheap that it might as well be someone's home movies. What it really becomes is a weak slasher flick lacking the strength of "Friday The 13th" or the power of "Nightmare on Elm Street." The nude scenes are seriously offensive and obviously gratuitous with absolutely no purpose at all. The so- called killer is disguised as a man-sized golly, a racial cultural character from the 19th Century, which is actually more culturally insensitive than scary or threatening. Overall, it's one of the dumbest most uninteresting under-developed so-called horror movies I have ever seen. It's only worth is if it was used to torture terrorists into giving up secrets to the U.S. Government.

Carrie (2013)
Updated But Less Scary, 23 October 2016
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There are a certain number of rules to making a remake, but at the top, the first one should be "Stay faithful, but try to be new." In other words, you should try to attract your target audience while also creating a surprise that they won't expect. While "Carrie" is somewhat more faithful to the book than the Brian De Palma book, it has also been updated with the technology and the teenage arrogance of the time. The cast is excellent. Chloe Moretz is a much more liberated Carrie who understands the nature of her abilities and seeks to control them while Julianne Moore as her mother creates a much more unstable and psychotic character. Best known for a string of demented characters, namely Kitty Sanchez from "Arrested Development," Judy Greer is a welcome presence in the role of the sympathetic gym teacher, proving she can do a serious role, but I find the story just a bit too familiar with no new scares and not much new except the contemporary setting. The updated Chloe Moretz "Carrie" becomes more in tune with her powers, even having an "X- Men" moment with witchcraft overtones, whereas in the Sissy Spacek movie, you had the sense she never really understood what was going on around her. The teenage cruelty has no bounds; there's no "Zero Tolerance" rule in this reality. Portia Doubleday as Chris Hargensen is more of a would-be serial killer and career criminal in training than the spoiled brat Nancy Allen portrayed while Gabriella Wilde as Sue Snell has more to do than what Amy Irving did in the role. My faults with the movie has nothing to do with the actors, script or plot but more with production. Did we really need seven to eight shots of one bucket of blood dumping its contents?? I mean, did it just magically keep filling itself up? What's with the stalling in the movie's pivotal scenes. The tombstone graffiti and tag scenes make no sense whatsoever not assigned to a dream sequence. It's not truly a scary movie; it's more of an atmospheric film with tragedy replacing horror. De Palma's version was a slow-plodding style that reached a terrifying crescendo while this version creates a terrifying situation that ascends to less than horrific levels. While Spacek gave us a sympathetic Carrie, Moretz creates a more adjusted version. Not terribly scary, just tragic.

Lucy (2014/I)
Good Movie, Missing Ending, 23 October 2016
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm a writer myself, and I've turned out a few horror novels where the female ingénue and the antagonist turn out to be one and the same; so with "Lucy," I was very interested to see how well this premise could be converted into a "Jason Bourne"-like scenario. First off, Scarlett Johansson is awesome in the movie. It's almost what would be expected if the Black Widow from the "Avengers" went through the Captain America process then went after HYDRA. Unfortunately, in "Lucy," HYDRA is replaced by the Chinese mafia, and the Super Soldier Serum is replaced by a dangerous addictive drug which in small doses causes heightened intelligence. Small doses is the key because when Scarlett's character is unwittingly used as a drug mule, the drugs break open in large doses inside her, granting her heightened intelligence, psychokinetic powers, paranormal abilities and eventually a complete control over reality itself. Along the way, Morgan Freeman narrates what's happening as the expert on this drug who she seeks out for help. While the action and chase scenes are "Terminator" quality, it soon turns into an uninteresting plot that runs out of steam. Starting out, the plot is fascinating and fun to watch, but as it gets closer to the end, and one starts wondering where it's going with the metaphysical discussion, it becomes more tedious and lackluster. The ending does not match the first ninety percent of the film. I don't understand it, it doesn't make sense, and it outdoes "The Shining" on its vagueness. It could have gone anywhere so to end on a question mark ruins what I thought was an otherwise interesting flick. I give it 3 out five.

R.I.P.D. (2013)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Too Much Detail Makes a Crowded Movie, 23 October 2016
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Back when I first saw "Men in Black," I wondered what it would be like if Jay and Kay had to go up against ghosts, zombies, vampires and other paranormal entities. This is not that movie except superficially. Ryan Reynolds plays a police officer who is struck down in the line of combat, but in some sort of almost "Beetlejuice" arrangement, he has to police the world's ghosts before he can cross over. Jeff Bridges is his partner, a former Wild West sheriff, and they can only appear on Earth "Quantum Leap" style as their human hosts, an elderly Chinese man and a stunningly attractive statuesque blonde. If you've watched this far, you've realized it's already more convoluted than "Quantum Leap" and less entertaining or creative than "Beetlejuice." Now, I know "R.I.P.D." is based on a more successful comic book, but maybe more effort should have been put on the script than the special effects. It has a few funny moments, several gross scenes and tries to be exciting, but the only good part is the repartee between Bridges and Reynolds. Kevin Bacon is annoyingly tedious, there are numerous moments that just don't make sense much less feel as if they belong in the movie and some moments seem almost incoherently tagged on (a house that looks normal but is actually condemned??) Even Reynolds own pining for his wife feels stolen from "Spawn." Bottom line, this movie could have been streamlined to a much more tightly and coherent flick. "MIB" had much better acting, writing, visual gags and a stronger concept based on the extraterrestrial phenomenon. For "R.I.P.D." to have worked on a "Beetlejuice" level, it would have been better to have some concepts viewers would have recognized without knowing the comic books.

There is no point to this movie -, 23 October 2016
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of the most boring ghost movies I've ever seen. The strange thing is that it's set up like some sort of action movie with an FBI team invading a derelict prison for what seems to be a forensic investigation but in fact turns into a paranormal investigation. Right from the start, the movie has lost all credibility, and with that gone, the chances for a decent ghost story are practically out the window. In fact, the movie doesn't even start with ghosts but with a porn scene, right off the start insulting its core audience. The FBI team investigating the location describe vague events of a major riot in the prison and end up discovering a female vagrant living on the site, the woman from the first scene, and with no reason whatsoever, they lock her up in a cell until they figure out what to do with her. From here, the movie has no conscionable plot; it seems as if it's being made up as its going along by three to four directors each making their own movie. The agents report unseen haunting activity and start getting picked off by experiencing terrible visions of death or aspects of their greatest wishes turned against them that take them far beyond the prison. One African-American guard, for example, is spirited far beyond the prison to the 1960s South where he's murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. Another is butchered by the willowy ladies he thinks were going to seduce him. This is probably the only interesting aspect of the movie which also treads through one female agent getting possessed, a reported cycle of disasters that occur the same years apart and a presence that reportedly alters the perceptions of reality in the agents. This is one of the most incoherent, poorly executed so- called horror movies I've ever seen. The acting is tedious, the plot confusing, the profanity endless and the ending poorly conceived. The setting was filmed in the former Linda Vista Community Hospital in Los Angeles, and despite supposedly being abandoned, parts of it look like an empty doctor's office while others look like an empty parking garage. Bottom line: this is not a movie. This is more like the first draft of a movie before recasting, re-scripting and adding the special effects. The majority of this movie is just plain awful; more evidence that some people just should not be actors or directors.


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