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We Are Still Here (2015)
Overrated, Maybe Worth Just the One Watch..
I went into this movie just like many others - seeing the incredibly high score on Rotten Tomatoes - and assumed the film would be a rare treat for horror fans. And while I can't say it didn't have it's moments of greatness, they were sparsely hidden throughout an otherwise mediocre film. So lets break it down and see where they went wrong.
The Acting: I always appreciate new faces, and this film features character types that are all too uncommon to a genre that's always struggled to be fresh and inventive. There are some moments that were generally well-acted, but I can tell you that the one thing that bothered me the most about this film was the amateur hour acting. Throw in some slightly messy dialogue, and this one has no chance. Within the first few minutes of We Are Still Here I think most will realize that they might have made a bad choice in trusting the reviews and shutting out the naysayers. Half the actors seem to at least be able to hold their own, but overall, the entire thing gets dragged down with the core group of characters.
The Story: Actually, somewhat refreshing - if not only because it puts a unique spin on something so overdone in horror. Right from the synopsis you get where it's going, but I don't think you have any idea of how it's going to play out in this one, which should always be welcome. If nothing else, We Are Still Here wins a few points from me here, that is, until the end of the film. See, it seems like we're on track to wrap up nicely, hopefully digging our way up through the muck of the first hour, and then nothing. No great unraveling, no twist that made it worth it, nothing out of the ordinary. Just a typical, if somewhat confused, horror ending.
Everything Else: Make-up and special effects were fantastic for me, but I know there are going to be a lot of mixed feelings on the latter here. I also enjoyed the setting, it fit very well with what the director was trying to accomplish here. And for a first time director, I should say that he doesn't do too bad a job at all. If we threw in a few decent actors, and had a provision or two enter the script, I think we're close to greatness. For me though, it just didn't make it, and left a pretty bland impression overall.
Would I watch it again? Absolutely not. If I could go back and stop myself from watching it in the first place, would I? No. I might save myself a few bucks and rent it instead of buying it outright though..
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
I Don't Know What You Were Expecting Either..
I'd like to preface this review with a statement to those who found this movie to be overrated, underwhelming tripe. What exactly was it that you were expecting? Did you want a film that flowed along the same lines as the very dated original film? Did you expect a wry, sophisticated thriller that generated line after line of unforgettable genius? Honestly, I'm unsure of what a well-versed movie-goer would have wanted and expected from this film upon admission to their local theater.
Those of you who live in the present will understand that this is a high mark for this generation, in action and stunning visual creation, that need not be taken for granted. The acting was not at all legendary, and it didn't need to be. The story was not at all realistic. And it wasn't supposed to be. The film, as a whole, was pretty much void of deep character progression. And it HAD to be. This is one of those films that you watch, and as it all unfolds and comes to a close, you sit there in your seat and think to yourself, "I hope to God they make a sequel so that I can further explore this vivid, raw, and highly imaginative world." That is, in my opinion, an obvious mark of fantastic storytelling. Everything about this film demanded descriptions like 'high-octane' and 'thrill-ride' like no movie before it. Its entirely unique, yet somehow comfortable enough to the common moviegoer rather quickly, and connections are made without the need for forced complexity or cadence. This film is bold and assertive, and unapologetic. A landmark; an absolute masterpiece.
House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
You May Hate This Movie - But Here's Why I Love It
Before really getting into how I feel about this film, let me explain a few things. I'm not a fan of Rob Zombie, other than his work in creating this film. He's made a few songs I've enjoyed, but if I won tickets to a concert tomorrow, I'd probably just sell them. If he releases a trailer for a new movie tomorrow, I probably wont find out for another six months, if at all. Let me also make it clear that I am hugely critical and somewhat snobby in regards to my taste in film. I don't get a kick out of anything that's made to be low brow and campy, and Im very picky with horror. Now that that's out of the way, let me get into what this movie's all about.
Rob Zombie has somehow created a masterpiece out of a choppy, lucid nightmare of an idea. If you're well acquainted with classic horror films, you'll find a lot to be nostalgic about, but what could have been a simple homage was crafted into a unique new tapestry of horror. Personally, I found this movie to be deeply distressing, uncomfortable, gritty, and completely unapologetic. But it isn't my job to convince you to love it. Whether or not you enjoy the film is, in my opinion, largely based on the setting you watch it in, and how well you're able to suspend your own disbelief and just watch what happens. And at the end of it all, you may not enjoy it regardless. But if you do, there's no doubt it will have been because of the excellent picture Rob Zombie paints with an almost perfect cast. Please remember while watching - this in no way, shape, or form, is designed to be a comedy, or a horror/comedy combination film. If you find yourself uncomfortable after hearing what you thought was a joke, that was the intention. I feel as though this film actually digs into the human psyche and brings back with it the things that could only happen in our confused, manic nightmares. The entire movie just feels like a horrible nightmare someone had and worked into a film. Minus a bad actor or two, it really hit the nail on the head for me. It's disgusting, I hope you love it.
This Is the End (2013)
A Resurgence for Rogan and Pals
Five years ago, the Hollywood movie scene was in love with Seth Rogan and his band of unconventionally lax co-stars. In the time that's passed, the comedy group has put out more misses than hits. Fans were clamoring for the guys to get back together and work on projects that included the familiar faces that made films like "Knocked Up" and "Superbad" so hugely successful with movie-goers. And after half a decade, our dreams have come true, as Rogan, Franco, Hill, McBride, Robinson, and Buruchel come together in this dream-team apocalyptic comedy. We're even lucky enough to see the likes of Michael Cera, Jason Segal, Paul Rudd, & Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
But you have to get past the 'wow' factor of all that star power. After all, it sure didn't help films like "Valentine's Day" in terms of quality. Actually, more often than not, it can do a lot to hinder the quality, and what you're left with is a miscast, over-budgeted film with less-than-desired character development and screen time that's unevenly distributed for the sake of getting the biggest names involved a good chunk of the spotlight. This film really breaks the mold.
This is the End not only delivers us the very best of this generation's biggest comedians, it also brings something very original and unique to the table. The film stars each actor as themselves, and takes us to the world of fame, fortune, and Hollywood partying. Jay Buruchel, not a fan of the wild, fast-paced Los Angeles lifestyle, visits the city to spend time with Seth Rogan, who's adopted the scene as his own through his success in recent years, along with some famous new friends. Buruchel is reluctant to go to a big Hollywood party at James Franco's house, but goes anyway as a favor to Rogan.
This film portrays the two main characters the way you would expect them to be in real life, which is great because it won't take you long to invest in the characters if you've followed their respective movie careers closely enough. The other actors all have a unique twist, (with the exception of maybe Robinson) which is also good because it shows the men in a new (usually hilarious) light - and provides a bit of suspense in discovering new sides to very familiar shapes.
The acting is great for what the movie is. It isn't phenomenal, and you shouldn't expect it to be based on the silly premise of the movie and the catalog of performances by each of the film's main characters through the years. This film provides some of the best comedy I've seen since the 'golden age' of last decade though, and it's downright hysterical.
Having said all of that it's nothing groundbreaking in the world of comedy. It's definitely something new, and breathes new life into the comedy careers of the main stars of this film. The nostalgia is incredible on top of that, as most fans of these guys have been waiting a long time to see them paired up again in some fashion or another. For many like myself, hope of seeing something as funny as the movies that introduced all of these stars to the world of comedy was beginning to fade, and a lot of us began to wonder if they had lost their touch and played all of their best cards already. This film not only debunks that, but it makes two things vividly clear - Rogan needs to write more of his own movies, and these guys have plenty left in the tank.
Evil Dead (2013)
Disgusting, Gory, & Completely Unapologetic
Fans of this type of horror movie should be very excited. This movie is a class-A remake and fantastic update of a cult-classic.
Those of you who have seen the original know that the film is known for several things. Absolute carnage and a unique development. This reboot of the classic franchise isn't short on either. From the very beginning, the viewer isn't quite sure where the movie is heading. The opening scene (and several afterward) leave you wondering if this is going to be another remake that doesn't take enough chances to stand on it's own, or if it's another that strays too far without finding any common ground with fans of the original. This film walks that line wonderfully.
Now, if you aren't a lover of horror films of all types, you may or may not enjoy this movie. It's disgusting, gory, and completely unapologetic. That isn't all this remake of the 1981 classic has to offer though. The story is going to be something you've never quite seen before in a big-budget motion picture. Not only that, but it sneaks into the film in a very clever way, making everything that happens in the first 40 minutes or so decently believable, yet horrifically unreal. The character development isn't exactly golden, but is definitely above the standard set by the reincarnations of other hit horror films. The acting is sometimes fantastic, sometimes only average, and sometimes a little lacking. It should not distract from the gross imagery, but the dialogue at times can come off as a little awkward for modern audiences.
As an avid horror fan and a pretty big fan of the original Evil Dead movie, I can say without any doubts or reservations, that this movie is by far the best remake of a horror film this generation has seen to date. Enjoy it for what it is, not what you want it to be.
Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)
The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
Well, let's start with...
The visual effects are 2nd to none. Raimi and his team have given their audience a bright and colorful world of wonder in a much more 'wowing' Land of Oz than that of the original film, and possibly even one that's more visually attractive than any other film to date. A very fun and crafty Rachel Weisz takes the role of Evanora and grips the audience with charm and viciousness in all the right doses. The supporting cast also performs pretty well, sometimes capturing that original 'Wizard of Oz' magic.
Going into this film with high expectations for the dialogue, & acting is going to leave you very disappointed. Two of the most featured roles of the film, Oz (played by James Franco) & Theodora, (played by Mila Kunis) are surprisingly and inexcusably portrayed very poorly. Franco's Oz is written to be about how you would expect him to be - complete with charm, wit, & deceit. However, the depth that you would expect to come with such an anticipated resurgence of a character is missing, & you can tell that Franco is having trouble buying into the role himself. The character quickly becomes stale at about 45 minutes in, and doesn't ever fully recover. Kunis feels the same - bored & devoid of passion for the lackluster lines given to her. Her character also has an issue with development, and is rushed from high to low so quickly that the audience doesn't have the opportunity to invest in her. The performances aren't the worst thing you'll ever see, but the lifeless script & awkward dialogue make it hard to stay focused. Even with a great script though, I feel as though Franco & Kunis weren't the best choices for their respective roles.
The worst part of this movie is the story. It leaves you waiting for some kind of clever & unexpected plot twist, a little divulgence of the characters motivations, or even just some depth for the main focal points of the story. It's also somewhat obnoxious that this film takes elements of the original film that should have been left alone because the original film portrays Dorothy's entire journey as a dream in the end. (Such as transferring characters of "the real world" into characters of The Land of Oz) Without saying too much, I can tell you that this film is stuck somewhere between being a fun and family friendly revitalization of the original story and being a serious and intriguing fantasy film for a wide movie-going audience - and the formula just doesn't work.
Having said all of that, I do not regret having gone to see Oz: The Great and Powerful, as the visuals do a great job of making up for everything that didn't work. I will warn you though, that the films run time of just over two hours can be difficult to sit through at times. Don't be afraid to take a bathroom break when it gets dry, you probably won't miss too much.
Daddy Day Camp (2007)
All in all, it's still terrible...
Really, I'm only commenting because the original "most useful" comment was idiotic, and praised the movie. Upon seeing the case for the movie, I realized that Eddie Murphy was not in the movie. I turned the case around, and discovered that the same character was being played by another actor; an actor who shouldn't be in terrible sequels, playing an already well-known actors character, only a few years after the original had come out. The film itself delivers a lack-luster storyline and secondhand laughs. The acting isn't so great and the believability of the entire thing is low, much unlike most of the first movie. I'm going to have to say, for Oscar-winning Cuba Gooding Jr. to take a role such as this, he may have risked his entire career's great overview. The original itself wasn't exactly sequel prone, but at least it was watchable.
The Ring Two (2005)
Lets just hope for a Ring 3
This was a very good movie in my opinion. I think that the acting was great and directing was really great but the story was not expected. It was a little bit of a disappointment because it didn't make enough sense. It pulled through at the ending but a few questions were unanswered. It did have many scares but thats another problem. It didn't make you really think during the movie. some things were out there too much and they tried to make it look like it was hard to understand but through a lot of the movie it wasn't. I think the images were an A+! They were terrific! I suggest you watch this movie with lowered expectations but at the same time just be willing to enjoy the movie. I liked it and say that you should watch it if you've watched the first one and are in for a scare and a surprise. It is sometimes changing and the story makes sense sometimes but sometimes itr doesn't. Rent it first, if you like it, buy it.