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The Open House (2018)
The Open House is a horror thriller centered on a son (Logan) and mother (Naomi), whom after a family tragedy, move into an open house that all kinds of potential buyers come to check out during business hours. The realtor is trying to sell it but having a difficult time acquiring a purchase.
The film sets up an interesting premise, in a fancy house with a dark and eerie basement that becomes a main focus in this feature. Logan and his mother Naomi are trying to cope amidst hard times, while becoming increasingly suspicious of foul play transpiring.
The tale weaves decently; however, the longer the reel rolls, the more you realize this flick has no direction, a severe lack of storytelling and fleshed out explanations. You can't expect an audience to be satisfied if you're not revealing or elaborating why what is happening is happening. Sure there are few subtle hints sprinkled but ultimately this one falls disappointingly flat at its conclusion.
Wasted potential? Very much so. You have serviceable acting, a strong premise, a promising-looking film and all that is washed away with a lazy, incoherent script that goes off the rails by the climax. Netflix, you better watch what you buy and recommend.
Little Boy (2015)
A Tale of Faith, Will & Rising Above Discrimination
Little Boy is a film I had briefly heard about garnering acclaim for some time and so, I decided to place myself in front of a home screening of it. What I experienced as a viewer was nothing I was prepared for because the beginning made me unsure if I should have continued, but by the end I realized I had just viewed a family movie gem.
We're taken back to the past around the period of World War II in a small town in California with a conspicuous mountain at the end of it. After bonding greatly with his father James Busbee, Pepper (Little Boy) has to watch his dad leave for the military in place of his ineligible older brother London. From here the biggest question looms over the Busbee family regarding whether if and when James would return from his service, causing internal family issues.
The acting in this film is solid and remarkably brings forth the emotions out of you as you watch and relate to the depicted situations. Jakob Salvati in the lead truly takes the ball and runs with it, amazing the audience with his presence and charm playing the bullied outcast boy with a strong interest in magic and wonder.
Faith, will and rising above discrimination are focuses that are at the helm of this movie. It explores good deeds and how its karma can result in a higher power granting us favors in return. It shows that if you want to accomplish anything, all you have to do is believe and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. It teaches viewers the feeling of being discriminated against and how right it is for us to just love one another equally no matter what race we are from. This entire motion picture is a heavy and effective inspirational dose altogether.
Other aspects of the film I love is the firm direction and smooth cinematography. The whole production came off heartwarming and charming at times before being tension-filled and emotional.
Little Boy turned out to be a fantastic movie that I'll definitely be watching more than once. It's the kind of movie that leaves you thinking while it leaves you inspired by what you've seen. If there is one movie to recommend this year, I'd say go watch Little Boy right away.
This Could Be the Summer Hit
Extant revolves around a female astronaut known as Molly that goes on a 13-month solo space mission for the Yasumoto Corporation, a private sector company. She returns home to re-adjust to life with her temperamental Android son Ethan and her Atheist and scientist husband John, working for the Humanichs Project, an organization experimenting in the creation of human robots. Although she has made her return, something went terribly amiss in the space station she had spent the 13 months and it threatens her job as well as humankind.
It was Tuesday night when I was watching videos on YouTube and I just happened to come across an ad and decided I was surely going to watch it because it featured Halle Berry prominently. By the end of it all, I was pleased that I gave the show a look, as it turns out that it has some serious potential to become the summer hit. Only time will time though.
I do, however, consider the premise a bit far fetched. I mean how does one lady get sent to outer space for a mission and spend 13 months by herself? And there, she deletes incriminating video footage of something happening to her in the space station that should realistically be wired with live feed for the private firm to supervise her safety and well being up there. Hey, maybe that's just me. Other than that, I like the rest of the plot set in a futuristic time, with advanced technology like smart mirrors, smart photos, smart projectors and android robots. Coupled with the nice production values, it really gives off that cool, in-depth look into the prospects of the future of our world.
Halle Berry delivers a fantastic performance as astronaut and faithful wife, Molly Woods. Her glow and charm radiates on screen and I found myself captivated by her presence. She is a magnificent actress. Goran Visnjic plays her husband John Woods well and his character has good depth with his science over religion theory typical of a scientist, but also stands up for what he believes in, the latter which makes him likable. Pierce Gagnon is quite good in his role playing the moody Android son, Ethan Woods, who is the center piece of John's Humanichs Project and also taken in due to infertility problems between John and Molly. You also have Hiroyuki Sanada portraying Hideki Yasumoto, the Chairman of Yasumoto Corporation and Michael O'Neill as Alan Sparks, one of the top Board of Directors, both of which are very intriguing to watch.
Overall, I think this show has an immense amount of potential and I hope within the next few weeks that the show blossoms and gives us a great sci-fi drama. If we take any indication from what was offered to us with the pilot episode, I believe we're in store for some really good and entertaining TV.
Rating: 7/10 (for now)
Xena: Warrior Princess (1995)
A Dynamic, Adventurous, Great Childhood Thrill Ride!
When you're young, there are many faces that you may look up to on television. As much of a boy as I was, it wasn't Spiderman, Superman, Batman or even Wonderwoman that I looked up to, it was Xena Warrior Princess that inspired me and made me respect strong woman from so young an age. After all, it was the first time a woman got such a strong leading role on television. It paved the way for women on TV, that's for sure.
Xena Warrior Princess was my childhood heroine. She was everything to me when I was a kid. At home and during recess at elementary school, I was so obsessed with her portrayal as an exceptionally skillful warrior woman that I began doing her battle cries, flipped myself to perform cartwheels and threw frisbees pretending they were her signature chakram weapon. I just loved this woman so much.
The show itself, based in an historically ancient time in Greece, taught me values about the importance of strong relationships, respect, will power, forgiveness and perception. What made it even more intriguing were the well composed soundtracks, the implementation of a bit of Indian culture and of course, all of Xena's abilities were fun and spectacular to see depicted and played out.
Here was this extraordinary unearthly warrior woman looking to make amends for a sinful past and as a result, she is betrayed by her own army. From there, she finds and bonds with her best friend and bard girl, Gabrielle, and they evolve as characters and head off for a sometimes wacky, but heavily dramatic, war-filled and emotional roller coaster ride, dealing with some friendly but many threatening forces along the way.
Callisto has to be the single greatest female villain on the show and arguably of all time. The character's back story of surviving a village fire that barbecued her family because of Xena and her army was heartbreaking and it fit greatly with reminding Xena about how heinous her actions of the past were. Put that together with how unstable, psychotic, cold and vengeful Callisto is in the show and you'd agree. Also, Xena's fights with Callisto were some of the most heated and amazing girl fighting sequences.
The show did have some challenges in the special effects department in the early seasons, but I was glad they enhanced it a ton as the seasons carried on. The only season I was barely fond of was the final 6th season. It just didn't live up to my fondness of the past seasons and felt like a departure from the true essence of the show. The ending was realistic in that anyone that lives by the sword, will die by the sword. It was just unfortunate Gabrielle was left lonesome instead of dying along with her soul mate, Xena.
Breaking Bad: Granite State (2013)
All Hell is Ready to Break Loose
Another episode, another gut wrenching experience watching this fantastic television series. This show never ceases to amaze its viewers, and they did it again tonight. In this penultimate episode, they offered up content that crushed us emotionally yet again and it seems they were aiming at saving all the greatness of the epic showdown for the very last episode of Breaking Bad.
I just want to touch on how I thought they perfectly executed the scene involving Jesse. I mean not only was his escape very intelligently written, but the moments to come after it were so gripping. I felt so empathetic to see Andrea get wiped out like that by an increasingly psychopathic Todd and Jesse's reaction to it completely sold it. It ripped a piece out of me.
The father-son phone call between Walt and Flynn where Flynn said "why aren't you dead" to his dad was just wow. I don't know how the creators do it, because I was personally despising Walt after what he did to his family last week, but now here I am feeling sympathetic for him once again. He truly values his family and will do anything to ensure their comfort and security after all the wrong he has done, but he really got his wake up call tonight.
Next week marks the end, guys. This is it! One of the greatest television series of all time is going to rest in peace. But you can guarantee that next week's episode, "Felina", is not going to be for the faint of heart. All hell is going to break loose, all conflicts will be solved and all resolutions will be seen for the final time. It's all going out with a bang!
Breaking Bad: Ozymandias (2013)
Breaking Pass the Standard of Amazing!
This very specific episode was simply and easily one for the ages. It was a classic dramatic masterpiece that any show should look towards when it measures itself. This episode epitomizes what emotions and drama is all about. This episode getting an undisputed 10 speaks volumes about how extraordinary this show is. With all of that said, this episode was truly, absolutely, positively epic!
There we were. One episode removed from the uproarious gunfight the previous week that left us to hang in great anticipation for this week. Hank is subdued and eventually killed by Walt's henchmen, even as Walt begs for Hank's life. I was entirely shocked that Hank was gunned down and I thought Walt breaking down and completing his full turn into Heisenberg was handled excellently. Then you have Jesse, who is taken away and held captive, while Andrea and Brock's lives are being threatened which really makes me eager to know what is going to happen and whether Jesse will escape or not. But the true meat of this episode was between Walt and Skylar.
It's not very often that I am extremely moved by scenes that make me so engaged in the show and allow me to absolutely feel the situation. However, I was watching this episode with my relatives and I swear the moment Skylar reached for that kitchen knife, I was like "s**t is about to get real!" and it took off far pass my expectations. Everyone I watched the Walt and Skylar scenes with were silenced and blown away. The whole time I was in awe, while throttled by intensity, suspense and emotions. It was unbelievably amazing!
This episode was simply one of the greatest hours of television in the history of television and I have to thank Vince Gilligan and all the actors, writers, producers, and the production crew for putting together one of my all time favorite TV shows. You guys are bright-witted, adeptly talented people and I hope the hard work put into this project earns you many Emmy Awards!
Surviving Evil (2009)
A Decently Delivered Horror Marred By a Lousy Ending
Set on the remote Mayaman Island in the Philippines, comes the story of six documentary filmmakers, who plan to spend six days shooting a survival special until they find out the island they perceived as uninhabited, reveals to have a Philippine folklore creature, the Aswang, lusting for their blood. The plot itself is intriguing. 6 people, a deserted island, and a mythical legend about a superior creature that looms over them. You can't go wrong with that, but somehow "Surviving Evil" didn't fully pull out all the stops when they had the chance.
I thought the cast was finely assembled. The performances of the actors were, for the most part, solid. Besides the atmosphere which was well established and the aerial shots of the island being beautiful, the acting came in as an added bonus. The characters all had their own conflicts affecting their lives, but the film makes a mistake spending over 40 minutes to flesh out these characters in their setting, leaving the creature to roar in hunger in the background. It just took way too long for the suspense to build up and nearing the end of the film, it felt like it was rushed to squeeze in a few things. And don't even get me started on that "to be continued" TV show episode ending. I surely hope they intend to make a sequel, because the ending is lousy.
All in all, "Surviving Evil" is decent horror worth a watch. You'll probably be exhausted with it for at least 30-40 minutes due to the lengthy character build-up taking away too much from the action to even begin, but when they deliver the last 90 minutes, it's pretty action packed. The directing and script may not be perfect; however, it's more than tolerable. Give the movie a shot. Sit back, relax and enjoy it.
The Call (2013)
The Call...Was Decent
With the history of WWE creating or having a hand in films, of course I was not expecting anything more than above a dud. I mean with their crappy films like Chaperone, what else would you think? So I went to the theatre with members of my family and thank God I wasn't the one paying I thought. However, by the end of the movie, I found that it was actually a decent movie-going experience.
In reviewing The Call, I had some gripes about the film. The first thing is which teenagers live by themselves in a big spacious house like we saw in this movie during the attack of the first victim? That is one part I just could not buy very much. Another pet peeve I had was with the second victim and her cellphone that made the whole film contrived. Shouldn't the deranged, psychopathic teen killer have made sure that he deprived the girl of any weapon or device that could have helped her escape after knocking her out with the chloroform? Instead she ends up with her phone to call the police and the killer doesn't know about the phone idiotically till way later in the movie. That's ridiculous.
Other than that, I thought this film was gripping, intense, and suspenseful. At times it was also comedic like the scene where some guy was locked in the trunk by the killer and got all claustrophobic-stricken trying to beat the trunk open. But yeah The Call had everyone by the throat in the theatre I was in because Halle Berry truly nailed her role as the desperate police department operator and the killer was such a tense nut-case. The roles were played very well. The girl who played the main victim was OK, nothing more, and slightly annoying sometimes too.
I was sort of disappointed with the ending. First off, 911 back-up should have been called, that's logical and safe protocol the operator should have exercised. Secondly, I wanted more of a climax. It was perhaps that I was expecting Halle Berry to go all Cat Woman on the killer or at least beat the crap out of him for costing her so much pain after she was unable to help the first victim. But still, The Call managed to present a decent movie for the viewers that I'd probably give another watch to.
Teen Wolf (2011)
What!? I'm Shocked! MTV... Has A Solid TV Series?
--MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS--
The advertisements of Teen Wolf aired on MTV, or from my location, MuchMusic and I was skeptical of the show, thinking it was slated to be another Twilight. I am no fan of that film franchise that everyone seems to overrate, thus, I thought it would not appeal to me and grew annoyed with MTV about to feature another lackluster show, because the network doesn't have much interesting to offer in my opinion.
So one night, I decided to give the series a look while on the web, running behind about 4 or 5 episodes and after watching and catching up on all of them, to my dismay, I was hooked on this series! Now, I anticipate every episode that gets aired and immensely enjoy all of them, something I never thought was possible with any MTV program. I have to commend MTV on creating a series that makes me feel upset if I happen to miss it.
The show is loosely based on the 1985 comedy-drama film, Teen Wolf, where a young teen, wanting to be more than an average kid, has to cope with bearing the heredity of werewolf genes that derived from his father, and with the extraordinary abilities that accompany his life as a werewolf, makes him popular at school. I haven't watched the film factually, I only actually managed to seek out the trailer, and it looked pretty cheesy to me anyway so I couldn't care less about it or if the series followed its plot and characteristics bit for bit.
MTV's Teen Wolf surely has a darker, suspenseful and edgier premise, and being an avid horror fan, is the reason why I really dig this show. One recurring factor about this show is that it has a great, well-balanced amount of horror, suspense and comedy. It maintains an fun thrill ride and by every commercial and by every end of an episode, there is always an event building up. A lot of potential is definitely going for the series.
This show is about a teenage social outcast at Beacon Hills High School, and a lacrosse player at the school that spends more time on the bench than playing. One night, he is bitten in the middle of the woods by a werewolf while in search of a dead body he hears about. After discovering his unwanted inner werewolf, and the remarkable abilities he gains from it that help his normal life out, he is forced to balance two lives (hiding the werewolf one) and protect those meaningful to him.
Tyler Posey plays the aforementioned character known as Scott McCall and does a pretty good job acting the role. He has quite the charm in his on-screen presence and has nice chemistry with Crystal Reed, who plays his high school dream girl, Allison Argent. Dylan O'Brien is his genuine best friend on the show playing Stiles Stilinski, and by far, he signed up for a very colorful character that contributes so heavily. Stiles is practically the comic relief guy, who is there to help Scott keep himself collected from harming people during periods of werewolf rage. He's nerdy and suffers from ADD, but that doesn't stop him from being witty, intelligent and sarcastic which leads to some hilarious moments that Dylan executes splendidly. His lines and delivery are certainly top notch. With certainty, Stiles is my favorite character in the show.
Tyler Hoechlin is Derek Hale, a survivor of a fire that took out his family, is a mysterious werewolf in town seeking out his sister, Laura and allies and mentors Scott to help him master and control his werewolf abilities. A decent character so far in the show, the role is acted fairly. You also got Holland Roden as Lydia Martin, the mean-girl type and Jackson Whittemore, the lacrosse team captain played by Colton Haynes, both roles of which are being played pretty good.
Speaking from a post-teen perspective, Teen Wolf is a superb supernatural teenage series right now on cable television. I have to compliment Jeff Davis on this project as well as Russell Mulcahy, who added the horror element. It brings me back to the days of enjoying shows like Big Wolf on Campus, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. My only pet peeve is how there is only 12 episodes in the first season, I mean in my opinion, seasons should have at least 20 or more episodes.
Anyway, 8/10 from me for one of my new favorite TV shows.