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Cherry Returns (2016)
A messy storyline makes for a mediocre mystery movie...
I was not familiar with the existence of this movie prior to happening to find it by sheer random luck. And as a fan of Asian cinema, then of course I picked it up and gave it a go. I must admit that I had some expectations for the movie, as the synopsis made the movie sound like it could be a very interesting one. And for the vast majority, then Asian cinema tends to put out rather enjoyable movies.
"Cherry Returns" turned out to be a mediocre mystery movie with elements of crime and drama. However, it was the mystery that was the main focus of the movie.
The storyline was adequate, although it was horribly forced and artificial in a way, which ultimately dragged the movie down into a mediocre soup of a story.
I was only familiar with Ka Tung Lam on the cast list, and he wasn't even in a particularly big role here. So it was sort of refreshing to see entirely new faces on the screen, and I will say that people were doing good enough jobs with their given roles and characters, although they were restricted and limited by the script and by director Chris Chow.
"Cherry Returns" was a somewhat muddled mess of a movie, as director Chris Chow was trying to accomplish way too much and effectively tripping over his own attempts in the process.
The storyline progress at an adequate pacing, although it just comes off as being too random and apparently the red line got cut somewhere along the way, and the movie struggled to find its way back and never got back on track.
The editing of the movie was also somewhat of a confusing end result, because the cuts and transitions between some scenes was just too abrupt and really lacked a coherent and smooth transition to further the storyline. I will say that the production value of the movie was top notch, so thumbs up on that part at least.
And while most of this movie does take place in Hong Kong, it is always frustrating to have to sit through Mandarin dialogue, especially since it should be Cantonese. Sure, I get that some people also speak Mandarin in Hong Kong, but it is not the native tongue there.
This was hardly an outstanding movie to the Hong Kong / Chinese cinema. It was adequate enough for a single viewing, for sure. But other than that, don't get your hopes up for this train wreck of a story.
Alien Reign of Man (2017)
You will be begging for cryo-sleep...
I did not know about this movie's existence when I happened to find it while browsing through the sci-fi section of movies. And reading the synopsis for the movie, I can't really claim to be overly thrilled, but I still decided to give the movie a chance, in order to branch out and watch more sci-fi than I usually get around to do.
Well, I suppose that "Alien Reign of Man" was hardly the best of choices for doing so, as it was a very bland and uneventful movie, that trotted on in a very monotonous pace and offering very little in terms of entertainment and storyline.
The CGI used in the movie was a mixed result; some of it actually looked fair and good enough, while other effects were just downright abysmal to look at, and makes you wonder just how something that obviously fake makes it past the editing table.
As for the characters in the movie, well let's just say that they are one-dimensional and that they are effectively faceless and pointless drones delivering equally pointless dialogue. I assume that this was the fault of writer/director Justin Price, because the actors and actresses seemed to actually be doing fair enough jobs with the limitations imposed on them by the lack of a proper script and storyline. This was the first time that I have seen the actress Khu in a movie, and I must admit that she really carried this movie single-handedly with her performance, just a shame that the movie turned out as bad as it did.
I will say that they found some fairly good locations for shooting the movie, as there is a pseudo-otherworldly feel to the scenery. And spiced up with some CGI, it just works all the better in favor of the movie.
The costumes in the movie were actually quite alright, so thumbs up for the wardrobe and costume design. "Alien Reign of Man" was a very weak addition to the sci-fi genre, and it hardly made any impact at all as it came and went without stirring a ruckus. If you make it through the movie the first time around, it is highly doubtful that you will actually take the time or the effort to sit down and watch it a second time around.
Batman and Harley Quinn (2017)
Hardly a memorable or outstanding addition to the Batman legacy...
Now, I don't call myself a fan of the superhero genre, but at least the Batman concept is a less bitter pill to swallow as he relies on gadgets and doesn't fly around with otherworldly powers. And while I don't go out of my way to get to watch the numerous Batman animated movies, then I do occasionally get to watch one every now and then.
I had no particular expectations to "Batman and Harley Quinn" when I sat down to watch it with my son. And I must admit that I didn't find "Batman and Harley Quinn" to be an outstanding addition to the legacy of Batman in any particular way.
The story was bland and it seemed a bit rushed and forced, which spilled over into the overall enjoyment of this 2017 animated movie. It hardly seemed like it was a necessary storyline to the Batman universe.
As for the animation and art style, well it was adequate. But it was leaning too much towards a kiddie animation for my liking, and by that I mean resembling the style from the animated Batman series.
The voice acting, however, was quite good. And having proper voice actors in an animated movie is a make or break situation. However, I didn't recognize any of the voices, and had to look it up here on IMDb to check who actually voiced the different characters.
"Batman and Harley Quinn" probably cash in on the success of the Harley Quinn character from the "Suicide Squad" movie.
My rating of "Batman and Harley Quinn" is a very mediocre 5 out of 10 stars.
Tale of the Mummy (1998)
A flaccid mummy movie...
Oddly enough, then "Tale of the Mummy" had fully evaded me and slipped past my radar. And it wasn't before 2017 that I happened to find it as I was browsing through the horror section. Being a movie that includes a mummy and being a horror movie, I naturally found it interesting and immediately decided to give it a chance, without reading the synopsis or taking notice of who starred in it.
The movie does start out in an adequate pace, and does establish some characters pretty early on, which was good for the movie.
"Tale of the Mummy" has an adequate storyline, although parts of it seemed a bit forced. The storyline is simplistic and very easy to follow, making it feel like writers Keith Williams, John Esposito, Russell Mulcahy and writer/director Russell Mulcahy were followed a generic blueprint of 'how-to-make-a-mummy-movie'.
I must admit that I was more than genuinely impressed with the ensemble of cast that had been hired for this movie, because there are some rather good names on the cast list here. It was a nice surprise to see the likes of Christopher Lee, Gerard Butler, Lysette Anthony, Sean Pertwee, Shelley Duvall, Jon Polito, Jason Scott Lee and Michael Lerner in a movie such as this.
The effects in "Tale of the Mummy" were quite good and actually do, to some extend, still hold their ground even today. So thumbs up for the special effects team that worked on the movie.
It was kind of funny how adept the awakened mummy was at speaking English and speaking it flawlessly.
The movie does let off some of its momentum once it makes it past the halfway marker. Which is a bit of a shame. The movie in whole doesn't really stand out and is not a particularly memorable addition to the mummy movie genre.
And the ending of the movie? Wow, seriously? That had to be one of the most ridiculous endings in the history of mummy movies. It was so phenomenally bad that it has to be seen to believe.
Equipped with a shaky camera and a non-existing storyline. Not the greatest of combos...
Sometimes you just got to stop and heed the warning signs found listed for certain movies here on IMDb. I opted to ignore them and decided to sit down to watch "Moth" because the concept sounded alright and the cover for the movie seemed interesting.
However, this 2016 movie turned out to be an ordeal of a movie to sit through. Why? Well, because it is incredibly slow paced, and also because the character gallery in the movie is very flaccid and quite far from being interesting in any way. The characters are one-dimensional and doesn't hold much of anything to make you take a liking to them.
The dialogue in the movie didn't really do much to help the pacing of the movie, nor did it do anything to promote the characters. The writing of the dialogue was uninspiring and the delivery of the dialogue by the cast was monotonous and was a bit difficult to take serious.
"Moth" is the type of movie where you sit and watch it as you think 'I could just as easily have filmed that myself'. The camera is all over the place, and it feels like a home-made movie in every aspect. This particular style of movie presentation is one that I am not very fond of.
The movie runs with a minimalist cast, which means that there is some expectancy riding on the shoulders of those performing in the movie. And when the cast fails to deliver anything worthwhile, the entire movie just comes tumbling down hard.
And it doesn't really work well in favor of the movie that there is so little happening throughout the course of the entire movie that you will be a great risk of actually hearing your own snoring as the movie trots on at a snail speed pace.
So do take heed of the warning signs and flashing symbols that scream at you not to waste your time, money and effort on movies such as this. Some of us failed to heed the warning and find ourselves with time taken away from us that we will never get back, and got nothing in return for this trade off in terms of enjoyment of a fulfilling movie.
"Moth" scores a meager 2 out of 10 stars from me. And this is without a doubt a movie that I will never return to a second time.
Pray it doesn't happen to you...
As big of a name that David Cronenberg is in the horror scene, then I can't really claim to be a fan of everything that he touches. I have never heard about "Rabid" before I happened to stumble upon in this late in 2017. I read the synopsis and it sounded like something that could potentially be alright, as it did have that zombiesque vibe to it.
I managed to endure 30 minutes of "Rabid" before I gave up out of sheer and utter boredom. I actually found myself with my mobile phone in my hand and was playing a game while watching this movie. Yeah, it was that boring to me.
From what I managed to see during the 30 minutes that I sat through, then there was nothing appealing or interesting here that fell into my taste and preference. So I can in all honesty say that I am not going to return to watch "Rabid" later on in order to finish it.
As for the cast and their acting talents, well, I can't really complain about anything here. The acting seemed adequate considering that the movie was from 1977 and given the limitations of the script and storyline imposed on them.
"Rabid" didn't really make much use of special effects in the 30 minutes that I managed to endure. So whether or not the movie actually did well on the effects department, that I cannot make a proper statement about.
This was a rather bland and uneventful 30 minutes that I will never get back. And from what I saw, then my rating of "Rabid" is a meager 3 out of 10 stars, and I do feel somewhat large and generous here actually. The movie cover boasted "Pray it doesn't happen to you", which actually happened to summarize the feeling of having to sit down to watch the movie quite well.
"The Thing" and Dakota Fanning...
Running at just over 20 minutes, then "Zygote" was initially a movie that I would have passed on, as I am not keen on short films. But I read the synopsis for it and found it to be sounding like it might actually be worth the time and effort.
And let me be the first to say wow! "Zygote" turned out to be a rather entertaining and thrilling short film. I must admit that writers Thomas Sweterlitsch, Terri Tatchell and writer/director Neill Blomkamp had put together something quite good.
Sure, this was blatantly an imitation of "The Thing", but that hardly mattered, because "Zygote" in your face from the very beginning. There wasn't any tallying about.
And with a cast that included just two people, Jose Pablo Cantillo and Dakota Fanning, then there was a certain amount of pressure riding on the two performers. It should be said that they did perform quite well and carried the movie phenomenally. It was a rather nice surprise to see Dakota Fanning in a movie such as this.
The creature was rather interesting and it definitely came off as being realistic given the impressive CGI used. So thumbs up for the CGI and special effects department on their accomplishment here.
It would be great to see "Zygote" as a full length feature film, although I can't really see what it would bring to the genre that hasn't already been done and seen in movies such as "The Thing". But still, with the entertainment level that they managed to pull off with just 20 minutes, then it would be fun to watch a full length movie with this stuff.
"Zygote" is definitely well worth the time and effort if you enjoyed "The Thing". I am rating "Zygote" 7 out of 10 stars.
Tales of Halloween (2015)
A surprisingly entertaining Halloween anthology...
Now, I will say that anthologies is usually something that I am not overly keen on because they are mostly too shallow and you hardly get invested in the segments as they tend to be too short in time. However, I must admit to being more than pleasantly surprised with the outcome of "Tales of Halloween".
This anthology is comprised of ten stories spanning 1 hour and 32 minutes in total, which makes for a small amount of time per segment, for sure. But what works in this anthology is that the segments are precise and to the point; there is no trotting about and wasting time. But better yet, the fact that each of the stories is connected with another stories in the anthology just makes it all the more enjoyable and watchable.
Most of the stories were quite good, and there definitely was a good variety of stories here, so there is something for just about everyone in the audience, whatever your preferences and tastes may be.
What really impressed me in "Tales of Halloween" was the amount of familiar actors and actresses that they had popping up in all of the segments. It was an actual joy of sitting and recognizing familiar faces and trying to spot them. The cast includes names such as Barry Bostwick, Lin Shaye, Barbara Crampton, Stuart Gordon, James Duval, John Savage, Lombardo Boyar and more. So there definitely was a bunch of talents to be seen here.
"Tales of Halloween" is listed as a horror comedy, which is exactly what it is. Sure, there were spooks and creepy stuff to be had here, but nothing in the likes of being too much for it to still be a family spook fest. And the combination of horror elements and comedy worked out quite nicely.
The special effects and practical effects in the anthology was quite good. The effects were believable and really served their purposes quite well. This was good, because effects are quite important to anything related to the horror genre.
Of course, some segments were better than others, but in overall, then this was a very enjoyable anthology. And it definitely turned out to be a rather great surprise. I sat down to watch it with my family, and everyone had a good time. So "Tales of Halloween" is a well-worthy addition to any movie marathon that you might host during Halloween.
If you haven't already seen "Tales of Halloween", then I can highly recommend that you take the time to do so, because this really was quite a blast.
Funky Monkey (2004)
Sometimes monkeying around is a necessity...
When I sat down to watch "Funky Monkey" with the family, I must admit that I didn't have any particular expectations to the movie, given the synopsis. But it turned out that "Funky Monkey" was actually a rather funny and entertaining movie for being a family movie and all.
The story is about a top secret program to develop super soldiers from monkeys. Yeah, I know. But when the main chimpanzee escapes captivity with help from his trainer, things change dramatically as both trainer and chimpanzee have to find places in life outside the research facility.
There is an abundance of hilarious scenes throughout the movie, which had the entire family laughing loudly many times. So the enjoyment factor of "Funky Monkey" is rather big if you sit down as as family to watch the movie.
Now, the chimpanzee did perform quite well in its scenes, but there were some fighting scenes where it was just gut-awful obvious that it was a man in a chimpanzee costume trying to pass for a monkey.
There are a couple of familiar faces on the cast list, which includes Matthew Modine, Taylor Negron, Gilbert Gottfried, Fred Ward and Jeffrey Tambor. The hired cast were performing well with their given roles and characters, taking the storyline into consideration.
All in all, then "Funky Monkey" is an enjoyable movie for the entire family.
Black Mirror (2011)
Interesting enough concept...
I had not even heard of "Black Mirror" before I was recommended to watch it at the local place where I usually make most of my movie purchases, given the usual stuff that I purchase there. So I went home and started season 1 as it was available on Netflix.
I managed to endure almost 3 episodes of the first season before I gave up. I will say that it was refreshing for a series to have each and every episode to be independent of one another, that each was a self-contained and complete story in itself. So you could essentially sit down to watch them in any random order. I managed to get almost through the third episode of season 1 before I gave up.
It turned out, that despite each episode being very well produced and also having some interesting concept behind it, that the premise of the series was just not appealing to me. Why? Well, because I am not really all that interested in technology.
The acting in the three episodes that I watched was good, and it was nice enough to see story lines poke fun at things that are wrong with society today, such as how desperate for fame people are that they are willing to participate in "talent" shows, or the fact that most of our lives are spent online in one way or another, etc.
I guess that "Black Mirror" would have a wide appeal, and at first glance it seems like it is something that might slip under the radar of most people. I, for example, hadn't even heard about it prior to being recommended to watch it.
A documentary for the real fans...
Being a huge fan of the "Friday the 13th" franchise and finding Jason Voorhees to be the ultimate of all slashers, then of course I would eventually find my way around to sitting down to watch "His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th". Oddly enough it wasn't before now in 2017 that I actually got around to doing it.
"His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th" offers an extensive insight into the franchise through numerous interviews with directors, actors and actresses who performed in the movies (either as victims or as Jason himself), producers, and other such people whom has been tied in with the franchise in one way or another.
This documentary didn't really reveal much of anything new that I wasn't already familiar with to the franchise. Although it did offer some nice enough experiences from cast and crew working on the "Friday the 13th" movies. And it was fun enough to hear about their experiences, but it hardly gives you anything new to bring to the movies when you watch them.
Whether or not if you have seen "His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th" or not, then it doesn't really change the way you perceive the franchise, nor does it give you much of any kind of enlightenment of issues and questions that you might have for the this long-running franchise.
Sure, this was entertaining enough for what it was, however this is a niche documentary, that caters only for fans of the "Friday the 13th" franchise. If you are not a fan of this franchise, then there is very little of any worth or interest for you to have by sitting down to watching it.
Having seen it now, I doubt that I will return to watch it a second time. I could have wanted for a more in depth look at the production of the movies as well, with focus on the special effects. Sure, it was there, but not just as elaborate as I would have liked.
This 2009 documentary hosted by Tom Savini scores a 6 out of 10 stars from me.
Strippers vs. Mexican Evil Dead?...
It was three things that made me pick up "Peelers" and give it a chance. The first thing was, of course, that it is a horror movie, and I am a huge fan of the horror genre and always have been. Secondly, then the movie's DVD cover did look rather interesting; I mean, a dismembered leg hanging on a dancing pole above a body on the floor. Thirdly, I noticed the word "infected" in the synopsis, so chances are that this was a zombie movie of sorts, and I am, after all, a huge zombie aficionado.
"Peelers" starts out quite nicely at a good pace and throws the action, and then it trails over into the intro which is accompanied by a rather interesting choice of music. So yeah, I will say that "Peelers" is off to a great start. However, after a somewhat impressive start, the movie slows down in pace and falls prey to the usual prolonged setting up the mood and setting over an extensive period, so it takes close to half an hour of the movie before it starts to pick up pace and become interesting.
The movie does fall prey to the stereotypical approach of pointless nudity that is often seen in horror movies. Sure, as the movie does take place at an adult dance club, but still... It hardly serves any purpose to the movie, aside from catering to a pseudo-perverse aspect of the horror genre fans - if one finds this to be appealing, of course. And there was, naturally, an abundance of dance scenes with scantily clad ladies, given the nature of the movie. Again, it serves no real purpose in order to promote the storyline. It is just eye candy, nothing else. I am not a prude and got no problem with nudity and the naked body, but when it becomes a nuisance and a drag to the pacing of a storyline in a movie that I sat down to watch, then it definitely becomes annoying.
I wasn't familiar with anyone on the cast list for "Peelers", and I do like watching new faces on the screen. And admittedly then people in the movie were doing good jobs with their given roles and characters. The acting was good and they did have some interesting characters and dialogue to work with from writers Lisa DeVita and Sevé Schelenz.
There is actually a good amount of blood and gore to be seen in this movie, which definitely was somewhat of a factor that sort of made it up for all the pointless nudity and wasting of screen time with dancing and other such things that hardly served any purpose to the movie.
Another thing that "Peelers" suffers under is the stereotypical approach of having filmed everything in the dark. So many of the scenes were filmed with an annoying lack of light, which meant that a lot of detail were lost and it was just downright frustrating to sit and watch one dark scene after another. This was especially annoying because if they had opted for brighter and better lighting then the movie could have been so much more fulfilling to watch.
And much to my disappointment, then it turned out that "Peelers" wasn't a zombie movie, but it was more of deranged maniacal killers on the prowl.
"Peelers" was a horror movie with the right intentions and the right ideas, but unfortunately those things were lost along the way as naked women seemed to become the main focus of the movie.
Ghost Note (2017)
A bland horror movie that was lacking scares...
When I stumbled upon "Ghost Note" in the horror section, I must admit that I was immediately lured by the cover art. I hadn't heard about the movie prior to finding it by sheer random chance. I must admit that after having read the synopsis for the movie, then I wasn't all that thrilled about it. But still, I decided to give the movie a chance and picked it up to watch.
Most of the cast was non-familiar faces to me, which was essentially good, because I do enjoy watching new talents on the screen. And not being familiar with the actors and actresses often leaves room for impression, especially when the performers do well with their given roles and characters.
30 minutes into the movie and I still didn't really know whom the characters were. Aside from the lead character, which made for a somewhat flaccid character gallery. And that did reflect somewhat poorly onto the storyline of the movie. It should be noted that as the movie progressed I didn't really come to grow attached to any of the characters in any way, and that mean that the character gallery was one-dimensional and flaccid.
"Ghost Note" seems to follow a very old school recipe for making a horror movie. And one of the good things about the movie is that it throws you right into the action, and doesn't waste well over half an hour in order to establish mood and setting, like so many horror movies tend to do. However, the movie sort of stumbles and loses momentum some time before halfway through, and that takes a toll on the enjoyment of the movie.
Certain aspects of the storyline were good and interesting, but the overall coherency and presentation of the storyline was just not an impressive result. For a horror movie, then "Ghost Note" was lacking things that would actually make it a scary movie. Now, I am not saying that it was a bad movie, just don't expect to be bedazzled by something that will revolutionize the horror genre.
"Ghost Note" turned out to be somewhat of an ordeal to sit through. And I can in all honesty say that I am not going to return to this movie a second time.
Bed of the Dead (2016)
Bed of mediocrity...
Admittedly, I was lured in by the title of the movie; "Bed of the Dead", as it could have been either a comedy addition to the zombie genre, or that it might actually be a movie about a deadly bed. And being a life-long fan of the horror genre, then of course I did opt for sitting down to watch "Bed of the Dead", even without having read the synopsis for the movie.
It was a little bit hard, no pun intended, for me to get fully into the groove and atmosphere of this movie, as it was set in an underground sex club. I am not a prude or anything, but the setting of the movie was just a bit too tacky.
I can't claim to be familiar with anyone on the cast list, for better or worse. Admittably then I usually do find it refreshing and nice to have all new faces perform in movies, as there are no associations to previous characters portrayed in other movies. And such was also the case with "Bed of the Dead". The cast was doing good jobs with their given roles and characters.
Writer Cody Calahan and writer/director Jeff Maher opted for a story that jumps back and forth between what happened in room 18 to the four young people and the present time where the police are investigating the gruesome scene in room 18. Personally, I can't claim to find that to be a particularly good way of presenting a story, because you are already made well aware of the outcome of the movie right from the very beginning, leaving little room for surprises and plot twists along the way.
The visual effects and CGI in the movie were quite good, and there is a fair amount of violence and gore to keep most gorehounds and fans of the horror genre satisfied.
Story-wise then "Bed of the Dead" didn't prove to be spectacular or outstanding in any way. Was it entertaining? Well, sure, it was entertaining enough for what it turned out to be. Just don't expect to be blown away or kept at the edge of your seat. And this is hardly the type of movie that you will return to watch a second time, provided you get through it the first time.
I will say that the movie is fairly well paced, although it loses its momentum some time after the halfway point, where the movie settles down into a slow paced trot. Which only makes it all the more of an ordeal to actually maintain interest and focus on the movie.
All in all, not the best of forays into the horror genre, but definitely not among the worst either. The overall impression with "Bed of the Dead" was a mediocre one for me. As such, then I am rating it 5 out of 10 stars.
At first glance then I must admit that "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie" falls a bit out of the usual movies that I would take the time to sit down to watch, especially since I used to sell the books during my years working the book retail store. However, I opted to sit down to watch "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie" with the entire family as the chance presented itself, and it might just be something for my seven year old son.
I must admit to being pleasantly surprised, as "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie" turned out to be rather enjoyable for the entire family. This was not just another animated movie aimed for the youngest of audiences.
It turned out that there was a lot of comedy and laughs to be found in the storyline, and the characters were very likable and hilarious. The characters that worked the best for me was Captain Underpants / Mr. Krupp and Professor Poopypants.
And for an animated movie then the art style and the CGI was just spot on.
The voice cast for "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie" was quite good, and they had some nice talents to do the voice acting.
I was more than genuinely surprised with how entertaining this animated movie turned out to be, and it was a blast for the entire family to sit down together and watch it one and all.
"Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie" is definitely worth taking the time and effort to sit down to watch. I can highly recommend it to families and to anyone who enjoy a good animated movie.
Minutes Past Midnight (2016)
An anthology that holds a little bit of everything...
The intro sequence was rather nicely made, as it set up the mood for the anthology quite well, plus it had some interesting CGI and very moody music.
Let's just say that the anthology starts out pretty intense. Which was good, because you don't have to sit around for a long time while the story is being established and set up during a long introduction.
There are some surprisingly good special effects in the anthology, and that came as a pleasant surprise, which only added so incredibly much in terms of enjoyment value for fans of horror and the macabre.
Segment 1, titled "Never Tear Us Apart" brings a family close together, if you can keep your head on, that is. This particular segment really kicked off the anthology in a fast pace.
"Awake" is the name of the second segment. This story was a little bit weak, because it is not fully clear what is going on. Is the child possessed? Was he sick? And what kind of parent would his their child with a frying pan if the child bit them on the arm?
The third segment, titled "Crazy For You" starts out with a rather idyllic setting, which quickly take a turn for the brutal. I guess even serial killers have a blooming love-lives. This was definitely an interesting story, though I can't claim that I cared for the ending.
Breaking the style of the anthology is "The Mill at Calder's End", the fourth segment. This is a animated segment. The props and the puppets really looked good and had nice textures, but the animation was incredibly wooden, rigid and stunted. Luckily, the story and the mood of this segment was enough to make you look past the wooden animation.
The title of the fifth segment, "Roid Rage", definitely was an outstanding and instantly catchy title. This was definitely one of the more weird of tales, but also one that brought laughs with it because it was so odd. And it was unnecessarily made gross with the hairs at the lubrication. And the doctor was just wonderfully bizarre and hilarious.
"Roid Rage" gives way to "Feeder", which is the sixth segment in the anthology, which incidentally turned out to be one of my favorite segments. It was about some unknown entity or force at an apartment complex that demanded a bigger and bigger sacrifice of flesh. The story here was nicely constructed and it was the one that appealed to me the most in terms of being interesting and entertaining. Writer Guy McDouall and director Christian Rivers had really constructed something unique here.
Next up was "Timothy" which was a truly wicked segment. I mean that because it was a twisted take on a children's imagination brought to life with a horrible outcome. This segment also stands out because it is in Spanish, though with English subtitles. This seventh segment was a short one, but one that had a big impact.
The concept of the eight segment, titled "Ghost Train", was a rather interesting one. I found that to be rather entertaining, and it was nicely brought to life on the screen. This was definitely among the more memorable of segments that appeared in "Minutes Past Midnight".
And the ninth and final segment, titled "Horrific", had a great amount of comedy in it, and was a wonderful mixture between horror and straight up comedy. I was laughing a lot when it turned into a "whack-a-mole" situation, that was just hilarious.
The acting in the various segments was generally adequate, though there were of course some performances that far outshone others, and some that were just downright bad.
As for the effects in the different segments, well it was adequate for most parts. Again, some segments had better effects than others. Which made for a very diverse experience.
Each segment is definitely different in style, approach and delivery, which really makes for a very diverse experience. So there is something for everyone here.
I was genuinely entertained throughout all nine segments, and must admit that it was actually a much nicer anthology than I had expected it to be. This can warmly be recommended to fans of the horror genre. And my rating of "Minutes Past Midnight" lands of a 6 out of 10 stars.
We Are Still Here (2015)
A modern horror story based on a retro recipe...
When I came across "We Are Still Here", I was browsing through the horror movie selection. I had not heard about this movie prior to happening to find it by sheer luck. I noticed that Barbara Crampton was in the movie, and I did enjoy watching all the horror movies that she starred in during the mid- and late-80s, especially all the Lovecraftian movies that she starred in. So I decided to watch "We Are Still Here" without even reading the synopsis.
The storyline presented in "We Are Still Here" is rather generic if you have grown up with horror movies, as I have. That being said, I am not saying that the storyline was bad, but it was just something that has been seen before in many other horror movies. Writer and director Ted Geoghegan did hit the nail right on the head, because the movie worked out quite well on many levels.
As for the acting in the movie, well it was actually nice to see Barbara Crampton back on the screen in a horror movie such as this, because it definitely had roots in the classic way of making horror movies. It was also nice to see Andrew Sensenig, although I wasn't familiar with him prior to this movie, but he really performed well and added a great deal of flavor to his role and character. Monte Markham also made for a short appearance, and he is always a familiar face on the screen.
"We Are Still Here" has a good character gallery, as the characters are well-detailed and fleshed out on the screen. They have distinct personalities and traits. It was interesting characters that did add a good amount of worth to the storyline.
The special effects in the movie were good, convincing and believable. The movie wasn't an abundance of special effects, which some movies tend to be. However, despite the scarcity of the special effects, the practical and CGI effects in the movie were functional, effective and to the point in bringing the storyline to life on the screen.
The music score used in the movie was rather simplistic, but it worked so marvelously for the movie, because it was very atmospheric and mood setting. The music that accompanied the scenes really helped bring the setting of the movie and the atmosphere of the movie to life.
All in all, "We Are Still Here" is an adequate horror movie, though it wasn't particularly scary. But it had a really good atmosphere to it.
Predictable and generic, sure. But still entertaining...
I had no expectations to "Hush" because I hadn't even heard about it prior to happening to find it in the horror section. I read the synopsis and found that it sounded interesting enough. So I decided to give the movie a go.
Writer Kate Siegel and writer/director Mike Flanagan had put together an entertaining enough movie, though this was hardly a revolutionary movie within the genre. The movie was fast paced and well-told, although it did suffer from being generic and predictable, as many movies in this particular genre tend to be.
The ensemble of acting performers on the cast list was fairly limited, so there was a bit more of a performance pressure on their shoulders. It should be said that the actors and actresses in the movie did carry themselves and the movie quite well. Kate Siegel was really outstanding with her performance in the movie, and she was the one doing most of the lifting.
This is more of a thriller than it was a horror movie, so don't expect to be scared out of your seat. This is the type of movie that slowly sinks in and creeps under your skin.
"Hush" doesn't make much use of special effects or CGI, but director Mike Flanagan proved that the movie didn't really need to rely on such effects in order to be effective and entertaining.
This movie is actually well worth taking the time and effort to sit down to watch if you have the opportunity. But I have to say that I hardly see myself returning to watch the movie a second time, because it just doesn't really have that repeated viewing quality to it. My rating for "Hush" is six out of ten stars.
The Sublet (2015)
Wasn't a particularly impressive movie experience...
I didn't know anything about this movie prior to sitting down to watch it. I didn't even read the synopsis. All that I needed was knowing that it was a horror movie.
However, it turned out that "The Sublet" was somewhat of an ordeal to sit through. It was a rather slow paced storyline with very little happening throughout the course of the story actually. Director John Ainslie actually did manage to construct a movie that built up a suspense in a good way, but despite the build up of suspense it didn't climax into anything worthwhile.
The acting in the movie was adequate, and people were doing good enough jobs with their roles and characters, despite the limitations imposed by the script and storyline.
"The Sublet" was not a horror movie that was big on special effects or practical effects for that matter. Nah, this type of movie is the kind that makes good with mood and atmosphere. Was that a good thing? Well, yeah sort of, as the build up of suspense and keeping the audience in the dark was good.
This was a less than mediocre foray into the horror genre, and "The Sublet" doesn't really offer anything to the genre that hasn't already been seen before in other horror movies. So don't expect anything overly innovative here.
I must admit that I found my interest and attention span ebbing as the movie progressed and I was actually tempted to just give up and eject the DVD with only 15 minutes left of the movie. I did, however, decide to finish the movie. Which wasn't a particular improvement to the rest of the movie.
There are far better horror movies available. And the few scenes and ideas throughout the movie that actually were nicely constructed was hardly enough to make it up for the rest of the movie. "The Sublet" scores a meager 4 out of 10 stars from me.
Mega Shark vs. Kolossus (2015)
Everybit as expected...
Another "Mega Shark" movie, and with the entire series being questionable and cheesy, then there is still something alluring about creature features that involve sharks. So naturally I did sit down to watch "Mega Shark vs. Kolossus" as I had the chance to do so.
As for the cast that starred in the movie, well I can't really claim to be familiar with anyone who was in the movie, aside from Illeana Douglas . Now, that is definitely not a bad thing for me, because I do enjoy watching new faces and talents in movies. And people were actually doing good jobs with their given roles and characters, given the cheesy and campy concept of the movie.
The story in "Mega Shark vs. Kolossus" was as to be expected, and you know what you are getting yourself into here if you have seen any of the other movies in the series. If you are new to the series of "Mega Shark" movies, then do not take the movie too seriously, because it is definitely rather outrageous in concept and idea.
It should be said that the effects in this particular movie were actually quite good, and might very well range among the better of CGI and special effects seen in the "Mega Shark" movie series so far. However, I just can't grasp the concept of having sharks growl. Sure, because a silent killer is not as menacing as one making sound. But come on, a growling shark just makes it seem ridiculous.
Now, the concept idea of a massive kolossus doomsday machine was just a bit too far out there. But it did fit in well enough with the rest of the campy concept of the movie in a way.
While "Mega Shark vs. Kolossus" is not a movie experience of Shakespearian proportions, then it is still entertaining enough for what it turned out to be. If you enjoy these cheesy and campy shark creature features, then "Mega Shark vs. Kolossus" should prove entertaining for you.
Great CGI, good action, but mediocre story...
Another entry to the "Starship Troopers" franchise, and it is another CGI animated movie nonetheless. I can only speculate as to why they opted for a CGI animated movie and not a proper live action movie.
I found "Starship Troopers: Invasion" to be entertaining, and it was a definite improvement on the "Starship Troopers: Roughneck" animated series. So I was pleased to see that this 2017 "Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars" was very much in the same arena as "Starship Troopers: Invasion". So if you enjoyed that one, then you will definitely also enjoy this one.
The CGI was great, with lots of detail and great textures in every scene, ranging from characters and bugs to scenery and environment. It very much resembles the likes of the "Resident Evil" CGI animated movies in style of visual and design.
It was nice, of course, to have Casper Van Dien to return to reprise his Rico character, although the visual presentation of the character in the movie didn't really look much like Van Dien.
"Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars" is a non-stop action movie with focus on the battle of humans against the bugs. Which, I might add, it has essentially every other "Starship Trooper" addition to the franchise. So you should not expect a complex and deep storyline. You just lean back and enjoy the action of watching humans fighting bugs.
The dialogue in this 2017 CGI animated movie was somewhat stale and staggering. It didn't really feel natural and it was too simplistic, which was rubbing off negatively on the overall enjoyment of the movie.
This is definitely for the fans of the the "Starship Troopers" franchise. I was adequately entertained throughout the course of the movie, despite the fact that the storyline was unfathomably predictable.
Toxic Shark (2017)
Looking for questionable CGI animated sharks that growl and squirt acid? Well, look no further...
Admittedly I am a sucker for creature features, and I have always been fascinated with sharks. So of course I do sit down to watch the shark movies that I stumble upon, regardless of how silly the title might make the movie appear. And lets face it, "Toxic Shark" hardly screams top notch movie.
And the fact that this is a SyFy movie hardly works in favor of the movie in general. Although in all fairness, then SyFy do put out the occasional impressive movie. And who knows, "Toxic Shark" might happen to be one such movie, despite its goofy title.
The characters in the movie were rather annoying and seemed to be more stupid than necessary for the purpose of entertainment. I disliked many of the characters portrayed in the movie, as well as the dialogue they were dishing out.
Now, I am not saying that it was the acting that was bad, but it was the characters themselves, so writer Ashley O'Neil hardly created outstanding or lovable characters for the movie. The acting talents performed well enough with the limitations imposed on them by the script and storyline.
The sharks were, well, lets just say that it was different having sharks being able to project a squirt of acidic substance out from a protrusion on the head towards their prey. Yeah, that was the shark concept here. And the CGI effects for the shark were bland, as one has come to expect from SyFy movies. The CGI effects work well enough for their intend, but it didn't look all that realistic. So don't expect an impressive display of Hollywood special effects here. Some of the shark scenes were nice, but the majority was plagued by questionable CGI that couldn't pass for realism.
And true to so many other questionable shark movies, then they opted to have the sharks growling here like ferocious beasts. No, just no! Why do they go for that approach? Sure, I get that it is for dramatic effect as silent killers are not always a crowd pleaser. But having sharks growl like angry bears just doesn't work. It makes the scene seem stupid and amateurish.
"Toxic Shark", was unfortunately, every bit as generic and mass produced as you would expect from a shark movie from SyFy. It is still fun enough to watch, don't get me wrong, just don't expect to be impressed or terrified of going back into the water after having witnessed the somewhat questionable CGI animated sharks tear through the visitors at a single's retreat.
And while "Toxic Shark" isn't the best of movies in the shark creature feature genre, then it wasn't among the worst either. There are far, far worse sharks movies available, many of which also brandish the SyFy logo.
Empire of the Sharks (2017)
Every bit as to be expected...
First of all I must say that I was lured in given the title of the movie, as I am a fan of the creature feature genre. And yes, there is just something fascinating and interesting about sharks in particular. But the title alone for the movie had B-movie screaming all over it, and when the SyFy name appeared, I must admit to a 'oh, one of those types of movies!' thought crossing my mind.
But still, I decided to sit down to watch the movie, because it is sharks after all. And who knows, SyFy have been known to make a great movie every now and then. They are rarely, but they do exist.
As for the acting in the movie, well I was familiar only with John Savage, and he is always fun to watch in movies. It was really hard to take Jonathan Pienaar serious in this movie given his body gestures and way of acting, whether it was called for in the script or it was his style, I have no idea, but it sure was annoying.
"Empire of the Sharks" falls prey to the usual SyFy level of special effects and CGI. So don't get your hopes up. The effects and visuals are there and they function well enough for their purposes, but they are not impressive eye candies to behold. And the fact that the sharks were growling menacingly as they were swimming about was just ridiculous.
There was something in the movie that was taken directly out of "Conan". It was the scene where chained people were working some kind of milling wheel. A subtle homage or just a random coincidence? Who knows...
I suppose that "Empire of the Sharks" can best be classified as "Water World" meets "Jaws".
The storyline in the movie was easy to follow and required no complex thinking from the audience; so it is essentially just to lean back and watch the movie here. However, the concept of an army of sharks controlled by someone wearing a pair of gloves was somewhat difficult to accepts as a serious idea.
For a shark movie then "Empire of the Sharks" was not overly impressive or particularly enjoyable. It is just another movies in an endless line of less than mediocre shark movies that clutter the genre.
Nothing extraordinary here...
What initially drew me in to watch "Sacrilege" was the poster/cover for the movie. It shows a ghostly nun with some Satanic imagery as well. So it did seem like it could have the potential to be a rather interesting movie, and I must say that the poster/cover was quite nicely made and looked rather professional.
The movie, well it didn't really fully live up to what I had expected it to be. Was it better? Nope, most definitely not. The movie is adequate, I will say that much, it just turned out to be something rather different from what I thought it would be. And the movie's poster/cover has absolutely nothing to do with the movie, so disregard this from being connected to the movie. It only serves as bait to lure you in.
I will say that the production value of the movie was quite good and it was definitely one of the stronger aspects of the movie. Especially so since the storyline itself was very generic and mundane. If you have seen other movies that involve supernatural entities and hauntings, then you already know what you are in for here. Don't expect to be surprised in any way.
As for the acting in the movie, well people were doing adequate jobs with their given roles and characters. I wasn't familiar with anyone on the cast list, which usually works well for me and in favor of the movie; as I enjoy watching new talents in movies.
The music in the movie was a bit too over-dramatic and was bordering on being downright annoying at times. Sure, it was supposed to supplement the suspense and intensity of the movie, but what they thinking with some of the music they opted for? And it was also a bit too loud compared to the dialogue.
"Sacrilege" is a rather bland and mediocre movies in this particular genre. It was adequately entertaining enough for what it was, just don't get your hopes up too high for this movie.
The storyline was predictable and straight forward. And there were no twists or turns to the storyline along the way, which made for a rather plain and plotted course throughout the movie. The pacing of the movie was rather slow, but at least things were happening.
All in all, then "Sacrilege" is a below average movie for this particular genre. There are far better movies available if you enjoy this genre of movies.
Amelia 2.0 (2017)
What about the soul?...
When I found "Amelia 2.0" I didn't even read the synopsis for the movie, nor did I know anything about the movie, I just picked it up and decided to give it a go.
First of all, I must say that writer Rob Merritt definitely came up with a very interesting and entertaining story here. And better yet, it is a story which raises a lot of questions in the audience as you view it, in terms of your own views on the issues being dealt with throughout the movie. And for a movie to be able to raise that kind of questions, that is something that I find rather impressive.
The special effects and CGI effects in "Amelia 2.0" were quite good and really worked in favor of the movie. And for a Sci-Fi movie of this nature then having special effects is definitely a plus. If the movie had less impressive CGI, then the movie would have been much less enjoyable or convincing.
"Amelie 2.0" has an ensemble of good acting talents, which were for the most part new faces to me. And I do enjoy watching new actors and actresses on the screen, as there are no associations to other previous characters linked to the performers. So that was a definite plus in my book. The actors and actresses in the movie were doing good jobs with their given roles and characters, and that was working well in favor of the movie.
Director Adam Orton did a great job in bringing writer Rob Merritt's story to life on the screen.
The characters in the movie are quite well-rounded and they have very distinct personalities and traits. And the dialogue throughout the course of the movie was well written and delivered by the various actors and actresses.
The movie makes use of way too many short shots of random and pointless images that serves absolutely no purpose to the movie, aside from being fillers. That was particularly true for the first 10-15 minutes of the movie.
I really enjoyed how this movie raises some issues and questions about humanity, the ability to replace the body in parts or as a whole, and how the soul fits into all of this if you take a religious stand on it. But also how traditional and inbred thinking stands in the way of technological advancement and the fear of embracing new and innovating things that break up with how things traditionally are and have been for a long, long time.
I have a feeling that this movie might be very underrated and slip under most people's radar. However, I can most strongly recommend that you take the time to sit down to watch "Amelia 2.0" if you have the chance.
The ending of the movie was not really one that did the movie or the storyline much justice, and it felt just like it was a very, very wrong way to end the movie.