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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
I wish I could like these films!, 28 May 2015


The third (and supposedly final) chapter in writer/director Tom Six's notoriously famous body horror flick trilogy (dating back to 2009). It has both the lead actors from the previous films (Dieter Laser and Laurence R. Harvey) playing different leading roles in this installment. The movie also features supporting turns from Eric Roberts, Tommy 'Tiny' Lister, Bree Olson and Robert LaSardo. The story deals with an insane (and very sadistic) warden, that decides to turn his entire 500 inmate prison population, into a human centipede. The idea for the madness comes from his accountant; who was inspired with the idea, by watching the first two films (obsessively). The movie has been severely panned by critics, and movie watchers alike; it has a 9% positive rottentomatoes critic score (with an average rating of 1 out of 10) and an average IMDb user rating of 3.5 out of 10! I admire movies that push creative limits; but this film is far too offensive, to give it any real credit.

Bill Boss is a racist, sexist and completely insane prison warden (Laser); who's constantly trying to gain respect from the inmates, he watches over. He tries several different sadistic techniques, to beat the prisoners into submission (including castrating one, and disfiguring another, by water-boarding him with boiling water). When his job is threatened by the governor (Roberts), his right-hand man, and prison accountant, Dwight Butler (Harvey), suggests the idea that they turn all of the prisoners into a 500 person long, human centipede. Boss sees the idea as the ultimate form of submission, and loves it.

The movie is about as vulgar, crude, disgusting and offensive as a film can get! I saw both previous installments, which I gave both zero star ratings to, and although this installment isn't quite as dark, and gory, as the others; it's still even more disgusting and tasteless. Like the other films, in the trilogy, it's one that will always stay with me, in a very haunting and disturbing way. I respect filmmakers that try to push the boundaries, of what's acceptable and normal, but these films are far too immoral to give the writer/director (Tom Six) any credit for. The only purpose any of these movies have, is to get an uncomfortable physical reaction from the viewer; there's nothing intellectual about them at all (no hidden meaning). I wish I could like these films, and admire them for being so bold, but I can't. 'THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE III (FINAL SEQUENCE)', like the other two chapters, is one of the worst movies I've ever seen!

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Wild Card (2015)
Some of the best fight scenes I've ever seen in a Jason Statham film!, 28 May 2015

'WILD CARD': Four Stars (Out of Five)

Remake of the 1986 crime thriller 'HEAT'; about a recovering gambler, working as a bodyguard in Las Vegas, who gets into trouble with the mob there. Both films are based on the 1985 novel 'Heat', written by William Goldman; Goldman also wrote the screenplay adaptations for both movies (as well as such other popular books, and screenplays, as 'THE PRINCESS BRIDE', 'MARATHON MAN' and many others). Jason Statham takes over the lead role, from Burt Reynolds, and the movie costars Michael Angarano, Milo Ventimiglia, Dominik Garcia-Lorido, Hope Davis, Sofia Vergara, Anne Heche, Jason Alexander and Stanley Tucci. It was directed by Simon West; who also recently directed Statham in the action films 'THE EXPENDABLES 2' and 'THE MECHANIC'. I loved the movie, and think it's one of Statham's best!

Statham plays Nick Wild; a bodyguard working in Las Vegas, who's also trying to get over a compulsive gambling problem. When a lady friend of his (Garcia-Lorido) is brutally beaten and raped, Nick helps her get revenge. He later finds out that the rapist, he helped her humiliate (Ventimiglia), is also the son of a very powerful mobster. Nick resorts to his biggest weakness, gambling, in order to try and earn enough money to escape Vegas for good. He has help from a young rich kid (Angarano), who recently hired him for protection.

The movie is very dialogue heavy, for a Jason Statham movie, and it's brilliantly written, by the great William Goldman! Simon West also does an excellent job directing the flick; which has some of the best fight scenes I've ever seen in a Statham film! I'm a fan of Statham, but I had come to expect a lot less from him, in recent years. He's great in the movie as well, and he has a lot of good support from the rest of the cast (I wish Vergara was in it a lot more, though). The film pretty much has everything you could want, in a cool crime thriller; especially if you're a Jason Statham fan!

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Slow West (2015)
Quirky, touching and violent (in a disturbing but moving way)!, 28 May 2015

'SLOW WEST': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

A western/coming-of-age tale; about a 16-year-old Scottish boy, traveling across 19th century America, in search of the woman he loves. The film was written and directed by first time feature filmmaker John Maclean. It stars Kodi Smit-McPhee and Michael Fassbender (Fassbender also starred in two previous short films, written and directed by Maclean). The movie is quirky, touching and violent (in a disturbing but moving way).

Jay Cavendish is a 16-year-old boy from Scotland; who makes his way to America, in the late 1800s. While in search of the young woman he loves, Jay meets an outlaw, named Silas Selleck (Fassbender). Silas allows the boy to tag along with him, in exchange for cash. On their trek they meet a lot of unique, and dangerous, characters. Jay and Silas also learn a lot about life, from each other.

The movie is very dark and violent, in places (like I said); but it's also touching and beautifully shot (the cinematography is gorgeous). Fassbender and Smit-McPhee are both outstanding in the lead roles, and I'm surprised Fassbender let the younger actor take top billing (considering he's more famous, and he also served as an executive producer on the movie). The film also has a good supporting turn from Ben Mendelsohn, in a villainous role. It's definitely an impressive debut, from John Maclean!

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I love this type of 'Rodriguez and Tarantinoesque' grindhouse action flick!, 27 May 2015

'ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE': Four and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

Ultra low-budget indie 'grindhouse' flick; about a biker gang from Hell, collecting virgins to sacrifice to Satan, and a slain wimpy nerd, revived by God himself (over and over again), on a mission to stop them. The film was directed by first time feature filmmaker Jeremy Garner and written by first time feature film writer 'The Vocabularist'. It's the first feature produced by Frenetic Films (an Oregon based film company) and it was shot on a budget of just $20,000, in three weeks, in (and around) Eugene, OR. The movie stars a cast of mostly unknown Oregon actors; including Nick Forrest, Todd A. Robinson, Ehren McGhehey (aka Danger Ehren, of 'JACKASS' fame), Joshua Lee Frazier, Sarah Kobel Marquette, Joseph Sullivan and Hunter O'Guinn. If you're a fan of sleazy and gratuitously violent B-movies, you'll probably really enjoy this film (like I did).

The story revolves around a motorcycle gang, literally from Hell, called Satan's Sinners. They're viciously hunting down virgins, to sacrifice to Satan, and brutally killing anyone in their way. They murder a nerdy virgin, named Nick (Forrest), on his wedding day; and kidnap his wife, Bobby Sue (Marquette). A cowboy (Sullivan), claiming to be God, then shows up, and magically brings Nick back to life; so he can rescue his wife, and stop the evil biker gang. Although Nick is extremely weak, and inexperienced, he'll stop at nothing to save Bobby Sue; even if it means he has to die, very violently, multiple times.

The movie has some obvious production flaws, at times (some poor audio, weak acting and cheesy dialogue), but that's to be expected from a film like this. You can't go into a micro-budgeted B-horror flick, and not expect these things. It also has some pretty graphic violence, and a decent amount of explicit nudity, so it's definitely not a movie for everyone; but I think fans of the genre will be more than pleased. For debut filmmakers, on such a limited budget, the movie is very impressive! It's also a lot of fun! Some of the performances are pretty good (I especially like Forrest, in the lead), and the characters are all quirky and entertaining. Those looking for a lot of gruesome gore, and raunchy distasteful jokes (including a lot of dark religious humor), definitely should find what they're looking for. I love this type of 'Rodriguez and Tarantinoesque' grindhouse action flick, and this one definitely doesn't disappoint.

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9 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
'INSIDIOUS' is a much better homage to Spielberg and Hooper's classic!, 22 May 2015

'POLTERGEIST': Three Stars (Out of Five)

Remake to the 1982 horror classic (which was written and produced by Steven Spielberg, and directed by Tobe Hooper); about a family terrorized by a poltergeist, in the new house they recently moved into. It was directed by Gil Kenan and written by David Lindsay- Abaire. The film stars Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt and Jared Harris. It has a few good scares, and some pretty cool visuals, but it's nowhere near as good as the original.

The Bowens move into a new suburban house, after the father, Eric (Rockwell), recently lost his job. Eric and his wife, Amy (DeWitt), learn, at a dinner party, that their new home was built over the ground of a recently relocated cemetery. Their youngest daughter, Madison (Kennedi Clements), starts noticing a supernatural presence right away, and she's later pulled into a 'netherworld' with them. The family enlist the help of paranormal investigators, including a famous TV personality (Harris), to help get her back.

The original 'POLTERGEIST' is one of my all-time favorite horror films, it's also one of my favorite Spielberg movies as well. The new writer and director don't seem nearly qualified enough, to do a just remake to it (Sam Raimi did produce it though). The cast is great (I love Rockwell and DeWitt) and it has some great scary scenes (with some awesome 3D visuals); but as a whole, it's pretty disappointing. 'INSIDIOUS' is a much better homage, to Spielberg and Hooper's classic!

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The film raises some interesting questions about race relations, but it fails to answer them fully., 22 May 2015

'BLACK OR WHITE': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

Race relations drama flick, written and directed by Mike Binder and starring Kevin Costner. Costner also costarred in the 2005 comedy drama film 'THE UPSIDE OF ANGER', which Binder also wrote and directed; he was so passionate about Binder's screenplay, for 'BLACK OR WHITE', that he financed it's $9 million budget, himself. It tells the story of a recently widowed alcoholic, who becomes involved in a bitter custody battle for his granddaughter, who's half black, with her grandmother (who's black). The movie costars Octavia Spencer, Jillian Estell, Anthony Mackie, Andre Holland and Bill Burr. The film raises some interesting questions about race relations, but it fails to answer them fully.

The movie opens with Elliot Anderson (Costner) finding out that his wife, Carol (Jennifer Ehle), died in a car accident. He goes home and drinks himself to sleep, and then struggles to tell his granddaughter, Eloise (Estell), about her grandmother's death, the next day. It turns out that Elliot and Carol raised Eloise, since her birth; when her mother died during the delivery. Eloise's father, Reggie (Holland), was an abusive crack addict, who was never there for her. Now that Carol's gone, Reggie's mother, Rowena (Spencer), thinks that Elliot is unfit to raise Eloise alone, and she wants joint custody. Elliot refuses, and a viscous court battle ensues.

The movie is well made, and Costner gives a great leading man performance in it. It's dramatic, emotional and it also has a lot to say about race relations; as well as substance abuse. The movie never really answers the thought provoking questions it asks though (about racial prejudice or drug and alcohol addiction). It addresses the issues in a seemingly realistic way, for the most part (although some of the characters seem a bit too much like stereotypes), but it doesn't really draw any satisfying conclusions to them. Things get wrapped up, but not in a way that really teaches the viewer anything about the important issues, it brings up. The film is ambitious though, and it has a lot of heart.

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Mortdecai (2015)
0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Depp should be concentrating on making better films!, 21 May 2015

'MORTDECAI': Two and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

Another box office bomb from the drastically fading movie star Johnny Depp. In this one he plays a quirky art dealer, who's constantly going on adventures with his manservant/bodyguard. In this adventure, the two are trying to retrieve a stolen painting; with a code to finding hidden Nazi gold. It was directed by David Koepp and written by Eric Aronson; based on the book 'Don't Point That Thing at Me', by Kyril Bonfiglioli. The film also stars Paul Bettany, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Olivia Munn, Johnny Pasvolsky and Jeff Goldblum. In addition to it's financial failures, the movie also received mostly negative reviews from critics, and movigoers alike. I don't think it's as bad as all the negative hype, but it's certainly not a good film either.

Mortdecai (Depp) is an eccentric, aristocratic art dealer; who's recently came into financial troubles, and has been forced to sell many of his belongings. He's constantly going on adventures, with his manservant Jock (Bettany), and takes orders from his wife, Johanna (Paltrow). Inspector Alistair Martland (McGregor) is attempting to retrieve a stolen painting, with a secret code to a hidden bank account; containing a treasure of Nazi gold. He asks for Mortdecai's help, and Mortdecai agrees to give him his services; in exchange for 10% of the money, made from the painting once it's sold. Complicating things is the fact that Mortdecai and Alistair are bitter rivals, and Alistair is obsessively in love with Johanna; dating back to their college years.

The movie is mildly amusing; and going into it with such low expectations, definitely helped me enjoy it more. The performances are decent and some of the jokes are funny. The plot isn't all that interesting though; and the action isn't very involving, or exciting, either. The film is definitely not a train wreck, but it could have been a lot better. Depp should be concentrating on making better films though; rather then mindless junk like this.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
I finally got the Vergara I love!, 19 May 2015

'HOT PURSUIT': Two and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

Buddy comedy flick starring Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara, as a mismatched odd couple; involving a cop protecting the widow of a drug informant. The film was directed by Anne Fletcher (the director of such buddy and romantic comedy flicks as 'THE PROPOSAL', 'THE GUILT TRIP', '27 DRESSES' and 'STEP UP'). It was written by David Feeney and John Quaintance (two TV writers) and it's gotten nothing but negative reviews, from critics and (most) moviegoers alike. I agree with them, mostly, but it does have it's moments.

Witherspoon plays a dedicated, but clumsy, police officer, named Rose Cooper; that grew up watching her father, obsessively, doing the same job. As an adult she's too square, and by-the-book, to gain acceptance from her peers, or attract any male romantic interest. She finally catches a break, when she's assigned to help protect a drug informant, Felipe Riva (Vincent Laresca), and his wife, Daniella Riva (Vergara). The two find themselves on the run from the law, and dangerous criminals, when Cooper's partner, and Daniella's husband, are murdered.

The movie is full of bad clichés, lame jokes and silly comedy gags. Part of the problem is that the film's two writers are experienced mostly just in TV, and they specialize mostly in bad sitcoms; so this movie (to me) feels a lot like a bad sitcom. Witherspoon gives arguably the worst performance of her career and Vergara's comedy shtick is getting really tired, annoying and old. There is a twist, at the end of the second act, that turns things around though. I'm a big fan of Vergara, in the right role, and after the twist, I finally got the Vergara I love. It's a pain to sit through until then, though. I'll rate this movie a little better than trash, due to it's more satisfying third act.

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Blackhat (2015)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Classic Michael Mann!, 19 May 2015

'BLACKHAT': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

A cyber-thriller directed by Michael Mann and starring Chris Hemsworth; as an expert hacker who's released from prison early, in order to help the US and Chinese governments stop a malicious hacker terrorist group. The film was also co-produced and co-written by Mann, along with Morgan Davis Foehl. It costars Tang Wei, Leehom Wang, Viola Davis, Holt McCallany, Ritchie Coaster, Yorick van Wageningen and John Ortiz. The movie received mostly negative reviews from critics (with a few notable exceptions) and it was a bomb at the box office, but I really enjoyed it!

After a dangerous hacker group attacks a nuclear plant in Hong Kong, and hacks into the Mercantile Trade Exchange in Chicago, the FBI decides to team up with the Chinese government, in order to stop them. Captain Chen Dawai (Wei) is put in charge of finding the culprits, in China. He suggests to the FBI, that they spring his old friend, Nick Hathaway (Hemsworth), from a 15-year prison sentence; in order to help them. It turns out that Hathaway is an expert computer hacker, and he and Dawai actually wrote the computer code, used in the terrorist attacks, many years earlier. It's a deadly race against time to stop the terrorist group, as Hathaway also bonds with Dawai's sister, Chen Lien (Wang); a networking engineer also assisting Dawai and Hathaway in their mission.

The movie is classic Michael Mann; it reminds me of the gritty action thrillers that Mann, and other stylized directors like him, used to make in the 80s and 90s. It's slick, brutally violent and dumb; just like a lot of great 80s and 90s thrillers (from yesteryear). It's hard to follow, and I don't think the film probably makes a lot of sense anyway, but that doesn't matter; because it's still a lot of fun. Mann is still at the top of his game, in stylish directing, and Hemsworth makes a very engaging, leading man action hero. It's definitely an action film that's worth the time to watch; if you like Michael Mann, you shouldn't be disappointed.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Mildly funny, and mildly moving., 18 May 2015

'ADULT BEGINNERS': Three Stars (Out of Five)

A comedy-drama flick co-written by and starring Nick Kroll; as a failed entrepreneur who's forced to move in with his sister and her husband, and become the nanny of their three-year-old son, when his company goes under (overnight). The film also stars Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale (a real life couple) and it costars Joel McHale, Paula Garces, Josh Charles, Mike Birbiglia and Bobby Moynihan. It was written by Kroll, Jeff Cox and Liz Flahive (all first time feature film writers) and directed by first time feature filmmaker Ross Katz. The movie is mildly funny, and mildly moving, but ultimately forgettable.

Kroll plays Jake; an entrepreneur who invests all of his money, and his friends' money, in a project that fails overnight. He asks his pregnant sister, Justine (Byrne), and her husband, Danny (Cannavale), to move in with them. In exchange they ask him to babysit their three-year-old son (Caleb and Matthew Paddock). Jake, of course, learns about adult responsibilities, for the first time in his life, and bonds with the kid.

The movie is funny; if you like Nick Kroll, but especially for it's supporting turns (from McHale, Moynihan, Birbiglia and others). It's also moving and inspiring, at times, and Byrne and Cannavale give good performances as well. It's just not that funny, or that emotional (not in a memorable way). I don't have any major complaints with the film though.

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