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Jason Bourne (2016)
Riskier, Less Intelligent
All sequels have the unenviable task of making a movie as good or at least as competent as the first installment (well in the case of sequels following good movies anyway). Jason Bourne was no different. Likewise, Jason Bourne was not different than sequels in that they are usually less original and less intelligent. Ordinarily, to make up for the lack of originality and/or intelligence there's added flash and bang. In the case of Jason Bourne they just made it much riskier.
I got what I expected from Bourne (i.e. bad assness) but of course Bourne can't do it all alone. He always requires just a little bit of help from someone else that's connected (ala Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles)). Nicky was again en force but there came some added assistance and it didn't add up to me. Without giving away the movie I'll suffice with saying as I said before, it was a little less intelligent.
The Fourth Kind (2009)
Some mysterious things are happening in the sleepy town of Nome, Alaska and a psychologist by the name of Abigail Tyler (Milla Jovovich/Charlotte Milchard) wants to get to the bottom of it.
The movie is done in re-enactment style. Dr. Abigail, played by Charlotte Milchard, discusses with an interviewer what has happened to her and her family while it is being "re-enacted" by Milla Jovovich. I suppose this is to lend the movie some credibility but I think they should've ditched the re-enactment bit and made it a regular movie.
It is supposed to be an alien movie but the purpose is to leave you guessing. So we're left with some sketchy footage, incomplete memory recalls and people speaking Sumerian (an ancient dead language).
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
World Domination Old Hat
Comic book-wise, X-Men has always been my favorite. I was introduced to them at a very young age and have always been a fan. Movie-wise, X-Men are starting to fade. Still better than most movies but no longer able to keep up with the high bar set by other movies in the MCU. There are only so many huge and cataclysmic events that can be foiled before it becomes routine. As a quote I read once stated: "If miracles happened everyday they wouldn't be miracles."
The nemesis of choice in this movie was Apocalypse and his goal: world domination (of course). Along with Apocalypse we were introduced to some new characters (Psylocke and Jubilee) and reintroduced to a couple of other characters (Storm, Angel, Cyclops, Jean Gray and Nightcrawler). The point in showing any character should be for displaying his/her skill set. Since the majority of the characters had already been seen at one time or another between X-Men (back in 2000) and X-Men: Apocalypse there were no real surprises with what the characters could do. If any character made me giddy it would've been Quicksilver and the demonstration of his abilities.
Besides the rehashing of characters the story wasn't that compelling. Apocalypse claims to be God and wants to dominate the Earth. He frequently references himself as a deity and refers to mutants as his children. It was overly dramatic and unoriginal. I don't know if this movie is the last of the X-Men before being laid to rest but if it isn't; they need to dig deep for the next installment.
From the title and the movie jacket there is no mystery as to what "Containment" is about. There has been an outbreak of a mysterious virus and the British government wishes to contain it before it spreads too far. I've seen enough of these types of movies and a few of them have been done really well. I expected this movie to be along the lines of "Contagion", "REC" and others like them.
"Containment" started off really hot. Right away the main character finds himself locked into his own flat. From that point on it is a matter of finding out why. He is joined by other neighbors and one of them is just a powder keg ready to blow. It was at the time of the neighbors joining one another that the movie began to sour for me.
I get that you need drama in movies for them to be exciting and worthwhile and a lot of times the drama comes from the characters themselves, but these characters were just plain unlikable. I get that stressful situations brings about certain behavior, but is it too much for people (neighbors no less) to be in accord just once? Because they were quarantined together I had to put up with this maddening motley crew for the entire movie. The focus was very local, as in you knew nothing more than what was going on at the apartment building under quarantine so all decisions being made were with the information available to the imprisoned. The containment situation went from bad to worse as level-headedness gave way to hysteria.
Hats Off to Alejandro Amenabar
A teenage girl named Angela Gray (Emma Watson) holes herself up in a church and refuses to leave. The reason: she's claimed that her father sexually molested her and it was all a part of a satanic ritual.
"Regression" was a terrific movie. From the beginning I was drawn in. Why would this guy do that? Who is really behind it all? What demonic forces are at work here? Detective Bruce Kenner (Ethan Hawke) was the lead on the case and he attacked it voraciously. As he tried to uncover the truth he became more and more consumed and the facts became more and more hazy.
I knew, almost from the beginning, that the movie was trying to fool me but in which way? The entire movie my mind was spinning and spinning: is this satanic stuff real? Is it a farce? The movie was done in such a way that I didn't want to trust any conclusion I came to. Everything was a possibility, even that which I hadn't considered.
Because I was expecting the unexpected the end didn't totally surprise me. That's not to say that the ending was not good, it was, it's just that my mind was so open to any potentiality that I accepted the ending like a glass of fresh water: "Aaaaah". In fact, the ending was very gratifying; not too much, not too little. Hats off to Alejandro Amenabar for a very creative and well directed movie.
I think I was cursed. I had to have been because that was one painful experience. I must've been bewitched into even watching this drivel. I don't know what I liked less: the constant yelling, the old English or the backwardness of the family.
Just to bring you up to speed real quick: It's 17th century America and a family has just been banished from a colony due to their particular practice of the Gospel. Not long after settling in their new digs the baby is stolen away by what is presumably a witch. From that point on a lot of yelling, praying and insanity ensues.
I couldn't understand them much of the time due to the accents, the speech and the volume. And remember, it's the 17th century which means no electricity--so be prepared for darkness to ruin some scenes. I know that the Salem Witch Trials were real but this movie just made a mockery of it all. The more the family doubled down on prayer the more psychotic they became. I don't know if this movie was about the frailty of faith and prayer or the power of witchcraft. Give me the good ol' green witch on a broomstick.
The Wolfman (2010)
My Checklist For A Good Werewolf Movie
The werewolf tale has been done many times and in many different ways. I'm always intrigued by the liken/werewolf movie so it never gets old for me. I liked this rendition as well.
What I was looking for:
1.) Plus CGI/special effects with the Wolfman. There was plenty of that in his transformation and his speedy movements.
2.) A display of the Wolfman's strength and brutality. It is a werewolf movie after all. There must be sacrifices.
3.) A halfway decent story. It didn't have to be great just serviceable and it was even better than I expected.
To me, it was an above average werewolf movie. Bravo.
Pumpkinhead Not Even a Minor Leaguer
1988 or not, Pumpkinhead was an awful movie. Some vacationing city folk wrong a country feed store owner. To right that wrong he unleashes the fury of Pumpkinhead. Even if I put aside the lame story I cannot forgive the star of the movie: Pumpkinhead.
If Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, the Mummy and the Wolfman are hall of fame monsters and Cenobites, Gremlins and the Thing are allstars, Pumpkinhead never even made it to the pros. If there was a party and the aforementioned monsters were there along with Alien and Predator, Pumpkinhead would not be invited. Pumpkinhead would be outside trying to sneak in with the Trolls. He was as absurd as his name. A slow moving, synthetic looking gargantuan with an ever-present light show and rattle snake sound behind it. It fails to evoke any kind of fear or awe. He was simply bad. Maybe he can work on his game a bit more and get a tryout with a pro team someday.
After AVP I was anxious to see a sequel, which is funny to say because I only heard about AVPR last week. You'd think if I was that anxious I'd have known about AVPR well before 2016.
AVPR didn't have the same appeal as AVP (which is customary for most sequels). Once again Predators are fighting Aliens and Aliens are fighting Predators and the battleground is planet Earth. I wonder how many times they chose our planet to duke it out? Gunnison County, Colorado happened to be the unfortunate venue for these ugly extraterrestrials this time around. They went at it like Crips and Bloods with humans being the collateral damage.
The acting in this movie as well as the script was substandard. There were so many bland and unlikable characters introduced that it became a guessing game of who would be canon fodder and who would survive. There were your regular gambit of scary movie cliché characters: the girl, the boy, the coward, the prick, the cronies, the kid, et al. I will say that they made an adventure out of guessing who would live and who would die. Most deaths were predictable, but the unpredictable ones were the best.
Still, the story just wasn't as compelling and the extra carnage seemed gratuitous. Another problem I had (and this could've been my computer screen and/or the website) was most of the movie took place at night and I couldn't see who was who and what was what. Was the predator defeating the alien? Was the alien defeating the predator? Did one of them escape? I'd see flashes of action then green blood.
Putting aside my viewing difficulties it was still an average movie and the ending was just abysmal.
More Characters More Wackiness Please
I am a Key and Peele fan. They do push the envelope at times and some of their skits are too over the top for me. Even with that I wanted to go see this movie. I hadn't seen a comedy on the big screen in ages so this was a first for me in a sense.
I won't say the movie disappointed but it certainly didn't live up to what I'd expected. Honestly, I expected a laugh-a-minute and I expected to be sweating with laughter. I got none of that but it did deliver on some laughs.
The story was something new and the movie wasn't just a skit fest. There was a point to the plot and they drove steadily to that final point with some wacky events occurring along the way. I wouldn't be averse to them producing another movie if they used this movie as a feeler just to gauge public reaction. I almost felt as though they were holding back just a bit. I think they could've gone a little wackier and played a few more characters--that would've been more in their wheelhouse and far more appealing in general.