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The Nice Guys (2016)
Leaves a lot to be desired
I am trying to process everything I seen in "The Nice Guys." I think I am supposed to like it. At least that is what the critics have told me. However, I just cannot get into it. I am very "meh" about the whole film.
I just did not find the movie that interesting. Shane Black and Anthony Bagarozzi's screenplay is just not filled with any compelling characters. I did not hate them. I just feel like they are not characters that I would want to see in multiple films.
Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling have fun with their roles and you can tell in every scene that they are in together. They play off of each other very well. However, they are not Riggs and Murtaugh. They are more like the Sam's Choice version of them. Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Keith David, Margaret Qualley and Kim Basinger rounds out the cast.
If you are a fan of Shane Black's work, then you should check out "The Nice Guys." This is starting to become a trend where, for every two movies I see, the third I will not be impressed with. Sadly, "Nice Guys" was this week's recipient.
The Conjuring 2 (2016)
Surprisingly good horror sequel to a mediocre film
I always say that I am going to write a short review but I end up rambling on anyway. I really do not care if a horror movie is scary or not. I know that does not make a whole lot sense, since we know that horror movies main objective is to scare you. As long as it is entertaining and interesting, that is all that matters to me. With that being said, "The Conjuring 2" is one of the better mainstream horror sequels in recent years and it really did keep me engaged.
James Wan's direction is very good. He successfully makes this a supernatural moody horror flick. Even though there are cheap jump scares that you can see from a mile away, the malevolent forces were way more interesting and threatening, than in the first film.
The screenplay by Chad & Carey Hayes, James Wan and David Johnson wisely puts more focus on the family this time, instead of Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga's characters. They play more of a supporting role and it works, following a different path than most horror flicks these days.
The cast does an adequate job with what they are given. The supporting cast includes Madison Wolfe, Frances O'Connor, Lauren Esposito, Benjamin Haigh and Patrick McAuley.
I remember not being too impressed by the first "Conjuring" film. Matter of fact, it was my last date movie. As for this one, this makes a pretty good date flick.
The cinematography by Don Burgess is the best thing about this movie. It is probably the best cinematography that I have seen in mainstream horror film since 2014's "The Purge: Anarchy." This is a well shot film and he totally plays up the "boogeyman lurking around the corner" fear.
Go see "The Conjuring 2." It is probably going to be one of the best mainstream horror movies I will see this year. I kind of hate I liked this movie so much because that means I might not like part 3. Part 3 is coming. Box office receipts will prove that.
Honeymoon Horror (1982)
One vacation that I would not like to go on.
Alright picture this. A nice secluded lodge, located out in the middle of nowhere. It's peaceful, not too shabby and has all the makings of the perfect getaway for newlyweds. It is quiet and picturesque in the day time but by night something fiendish lurks in the woods surrounding the lodge. What could it be? Only time will tell for the young couples that take a stay at this resort that has it's own secret "history." This is the basis for the 1982 horror film "Honeymoon Horror." Though it's a forgotten gem, it managed to find a video release in the early eighties. I guarantee if you were to mention this movie to anybody whether young or old, they would probably have no idea about what you're talking about. I guess that's the beauty of this picture.
Well let's get to the basic plot of the movie. Without ruining anything, this film tells the story of three anxious newlyweds that go to this nice resort for couples for a little relaxation and rest. Soon one by one, each couple is being killed off by an unknown killer that lurks somewhere in the dark. Could it be somebody from another person's past?? Only time will tell in this bed and breakfast of horrors.
Now don't get me wrong. This movie is not without it's flaws. The major flaw in this movie is the acting. My oh my, the acting was terrible in this. It is as if nobody really understand their characters motivations and the delivery of the lines were very poor. The script left a lot to be desired. Other flaws in this picture is the bad editing(the murder scenes look so poorly constructed together as if they didn't know which angle to keep in the film) and the direction, while not totally bad but it left a lot to be desired.
Now onto the positives about this movie. You may ask me why I rated this movie a 7. Let's be honest, this is not a brilliant movie. I would say despite all of it's flaws, the film really makes up for them on the count of the tone, mood and the way the night scenes were filmed, giving you a real sense that you were actually out in the forest unseen to the forces of nature. I guess I'm recommending this film on what it could have been, not the way it actually turned out.
However I will say that this film would have been much stronger, if it had been released in the late eighties under a different director. I also thought it was pretty effective that the killer was never revealed until the end. I guess what I'm saying is "Honeymoon Horror" is a movie that has his heart in it's right place but was just badly executed. However I still say you should check this one out.
Night of the Demons (1988)
The Party of all parties is about to get a little "demonized"
"Night of the Demons," the 1988 low-budget cult classic horror flick has everything you want in it: nudity, gore and funny dialogue. The plot is so basic that even a two year old could understand it. While a good movie, it still has it's flaws that cannot be easily overlooked. The problem does not lie within the story because if you actually look at it, the story was simple yet creative and effective but it lies with the performances of the actors.
First off, lets talk about the plot. The plot is basic, as I have already stated. It centers on a group of teens, that throw a party at an abandoned funeral parlor on Halloween(go figure) which is hosted by their freakishly weird classmate Angela. During a séance, weird things began to happen which opens the portal to, you guessed it, demons being unleashed. It is not long until the demons take possession of the teenagers, causing havoc for the rest of the movie.
Don't get me wrong. "Night of the Demons" isn't a bad flick, for it's heart is in the right place. However it sorely lacked in the acting department. The performances were so terrible that it wasn't even good for horror movie standards. The lead actress' performance was so bad, that it just seemed the casting director just randomly picked her off the street and said "you're going to be in horror movie, we need as many people as we can get." The film's strength however lies within it's wild frenetic cinematography(Evil Dead anyone) and gory F/X. If this film's cinematography had not of been that great and the effects would've been less than stellar, this film would've got a less than stellar review from me.
"Night of the Demons" is a good image of reminding us of the good old fashioned days of horror, back when everything was so simple and directors actually still had a lot of creativity, but is sorely brought down because of it's bad acting. Still it's a good film but the acting is what keeps it from being raised from "barely" average 80's horror flick.
A loving story about a boy and his obsession with "adult" entertainment
"Cyber Seduction: His Secret Life" is the type of Lifetime picture that premieres every once or two weeks dealing with the same matter about kids getting involved in adult activities and or partaking in adult materials. Obviously, given the title, the film is no different. This movie tells the tale of a successful high school sophomore that develops a deep, unhealthy obsession to internet porn. While this film has it's heart in the right place it is, at times, unintentionally laughable, so laughable that you would think it would have made for a good Saturday Night Live parody.
As stated, this is not a bad film it's just that it feels uneven in some scenes. For example, when Justin Petersen's(played by Jeremy "Peter Pan" Sumpter)mother is talking to his father asking him if he fantasizes about other women, he replies back "Honey you fulfill all my fantasies and not just the sexual ones." Now when the writers wrote that line did they think that people would actually take that line of dialogue seriously? It is as if they couldn't think of nothing else to write so they decided to add that line in the script to further enhance the boy's growing problem with porn addiction.
Another major flaw in this movie is that, the characters often did stupid things where you just wanted to yell at the TV, "Are you really that stupid?" Tell me how all of a sudden the school slut/popular girl, who happens to be a senior, would take interest in a shy, quiet goody goody sophomore. Also, would a person be that obsessed with porn that they would watch it, on their palm pilot while at a swim meet around hundreds of people? It just doesn't make any sense. I know in movies, you suppose to suspend disbelief but are they expecting us to buy this stuff?? Above all "Cyber Seduction" message is intended to be strong but it falls by on the wayside. Though not a bad film, whenever you need a good laugh be sure to check this one out.
Bad Boys (1995)
The movie that shows what Michael Bay was destined to be: a great action director
What do you get when you mix stolen drugs, too wise-cracking savvy cops and high octane action together? You get "Bad Boys," the 1995 sleeper hit directed by a then unknown commercial director Michael Bay and staring two television stars named Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. "Bad Boys" is perhaps the epitome of the 90's with all it's stylishness and flashy colors that is guaranteed a rare treat for action fans.
In every scene, it is evident that Martin Lawrence and Will Smith has chemistry and it is not hard to believe that some of their lines were improvised through the filming of this production.
However most praises definitely go to the then, unknown Michael Bay who got his start in directing commercials and music videos. Every explosion and camera angle was a grave representation of what would become Michael Bay's trademark in his later films: directing visually stunning movies that make even the little guys look heroic and intimidating figures of royalty.
If you haven't seen "Bad Boys" by now, you'll be doing a grave injustice to the world by not seeing it. If it hasn't already become a cult classic it will surely be one in the near future.
Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)
Action in Precinct 13
There comes a time when a movie is released and after you watch it you'll say to yourself "I'm glad I watched it." "Assault on Precint 13," the loose remake to the 1976 John Carpenter film of the same name is exactly this type of movie. The direction was solid, the performances were decent to above average. There are times throughout this film where the cinematography is very good, thus enhancing the effect of certain scenes.
Perhaps the two things that really save this movie is Laurence Fishburne's great performance and the plot of the film. I think it's interesting how an action movie is set in one particular place especially in a police precinct of all places. Fishburne's subtle, yet powerful performance make this movie more than just another action flick: it makes it an action flick with style.
Check this one out whenever it comes on television or rent it if you can. You won't be disappointed.
Silent Hill (2006)
A poor, dull, uninspired film
"Silent Hill" is just another entry in the video game to movie craze that has been really sweeping our nation in the last 12 years. Directed by Christophe Gans, the guy that brought us the 2001 film "Brotherhood of the Wolf," "Silent Hill" tells the story of one woman's journey to find her little girl in the strange and eerie town of Silent Hill.
What really makes this film terrible was the lack of suspense it created, IMO. This has to be the first horror movie ever that I felt never built up to the tension nor even created scenes that would make the audience jump. One thing I will say is that the set direction is very good in this film because it truly looks like a realistically deserted ghost town. The main parts that made the movie lack was it'a less than average acting and it's less than sub par script.
Maybe the reason why I didn't like the film was because I had never played the video game. All in all "Silent Hill" was another attempt at cashing in on the video game craze that was started with "Super Mario Brothers" some 13 or 14 years ago.
Collateral Damage (2002)
"Collateral Damage" is the type of film that bears so many similarities to a particular world event that you would have to wonder where the line of realism and unrealism begins. Planned to be released after the unknowingly September 11th attacks, this movie does a good job of displaying one person's struggle for justice and revenge over a lost loved one.
In this film, Arnold Schwarzenegger shows great character development. He is not the Terminator, predator hunter, nor Conan the Barbarian. He's just a regular guy with regular problems and this what makes his role truly authentic. For a while I shyed away from this movie because I thought it would be another Arnold post "Batman and Robin" movie but it was more than that. Here was a story about a man who wanted revenge for his dead wife and child that he would travel as far as to Columbia to make sure somebody pay severely for this act of terrorism.
In a way, it is not surprising that this movie flopped at the box-office. Maybe the world wasn't ready for this movie even though this film was pushed back a couple of months after 9/11. So much stuff was going on at that time including the recent death of famed R&B singer Aaliyah and the world's bout with anthrax. In my opinion, "Collateral Damage" is probably the quintessential movie to show the rage and anger people felt during the dark gloomy day known as September 11, 2001.
Last Action Hero (1993)
Underrated Action Film
"Last Action Hero" the film that was Arnold's first real flop makes up for what money it lost at the box-office with a fresh, inventive plot and great performances. Looking back at this movie, I'm surprised that this was one of the box-office bombs for Summer 1993 and the year of 1993 in general.
Everything was believable about this film. The acting was very convincing and the whole movie within a movie theme really works well for this film. The plot alone is what makes the film stand all by itself in an elite field of movies that contain a lot of shoot 'em ups and blow 'em ups. I still wonder why this film flopped. Maybe it wasn't the right summer to release it or people just didn't get it. Though it is far from being another "Terminator 2"(which is probably what people expected and wanted it to be) it is a good social commentary about the action movies that are made and the people that watch them.
I will say one thing about the movie. However, the only bad thing about this movie is that it kind of lags behind during the second half of the movie and doesn't seem nearly as interesting as the first half. Other than that it's a well-thought out entertaining film. One day, if it hasn't already have, it will become a cult classic.