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You'll feel like you're in space with them
I finally got around to seeing Gravity, and it was one epic experience that certainly lived up to the hype. Sandra Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone (yes, she's a chick with a guy's name), a medical engineer on her first mission in outer space, accompanied by George Clooney's Matt Kowalsky, a veteran astronaut who's on the brink of retirement. Everything seems to be going smoothly until an accident involving space debris destroys their shuttle, leaving the two of them floating aimlessly in space, where no one can hear them and no one can find them. All they have is each other as they try to make it out of their terrifying predicament alive. Just imagining being in that situation is freaking me out right now as I'm writing this.
When I first saw the trailer, I thought the idea seemed original and it looked like it could be entertaining, but I wondered how much of a plot and how much character development could occur in a movie that seemed to be merely about two people stranded in space. It turns out that my skepticism was unjustified, as it offered more than just an amazing visual experience. The plot may be basic, but it's laid out extremely well. The two main characters, especially Ryan Stone, have interesting enough back stories to keep the audience interested and focused on more than just how tremendous everything looked.
Sandra Bullock gave an excellent performance. It's hard to believe that 20 years ago, she was driving a bus with Keanu Reeves breathing down her neck. She may even get a second Oscar nomination and stick the middle finger up to anyone who said her 2010 win for The Blind Side was an undeserved fluke. George Clooney did what he did best: he acted like George Clooney.
I have never truly felt like I was there when watching a movie until I saw this one. I imagine that this is the closest anyone could get to experiencing what it's like to be in space without actually being there. Everything looked so real, it was unreal. This is the first time I can say that seeing a film in 3D was worth the extra admission price. It would've been even more awesome to see it in IMAX, but I waited until over a month after its release, like a dumbass, so it had already been yanked out of IMAX theaters. The 3D alone was awesome nevertheless, and I can't even imagine seeing it in 2D.
By grossing over $500 million worldwide, Gravity has deservingly become one of the biggest films of the year, and looks to be a serious contender once awards season rolls around. If you haven't yet, I highly recommend checking it out in theaters while you still can.
The Family (2013)
Great cast compensates for mediocre script
You don't want to f*** with The Family. That's the message I took from the trailer when I watched it for the first time earlier in the summer. I instantly became excited to see it because it has an amazing cast, and it looked like it would be full of laughs and all kinds of mayhem. It turned out to be not quite what I was expecting. The trailer tried to sell it as an action/comedy, but some parts are actually very dark and violent, even for a mafia movie. Unfortunately, most of the funniest moments are in the trailer, as seems to be the case with a lot of films these days.
Robert DeNiro plays Giovanni Manzoni, a mafia head who gets stuck in the witness protection program after ratting out a fellow mob boss. Along with his wife Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer), daughter Belle (Dianna Agron), and son Warren (John D'Leo) they must move to Normandy, France and rename themselves the Blake family in order to blend in. They make CIA agent Robert Stansfield's (Tommy Lee Jones) job difficult, as they constantly draw attention to themselves by sticking to their no-nonsense, badass ways of living.
Martin Scorsese executive produced, but I have a feeling that his role involved little more than allowing the studio to slap his name on the poster to give it as much legit mafia cred as possible. Nothing must be said about DeNiro because, well, he's DeNiro. Michelle Pfeiffer, who was perfectly cast with her history in films such as Married to the Mob and Scarface, is still gorgeous, even at 55, and she puts in a stellar performance that will hopefully earn her a Golden Globe nomination. Dianna Agron is quite beautiful as well. I don't watch Glee, but I think I might start now. She proved that she can hold her own in a feature film. John D'Leo is great as well, and he appears to have the potential to have a long career ahead of him. Tommy Lee Jones is his usual emotionless self.
The way that the mafia clan eventually finds out where the family is hiding is pretty far-fetched, even for a film, and I feel they should've tried harder to come up with something more believable. It was also difficult to accept the fact that so many of the French people spoke such good English. I haven't read the book that this movie is based on, Malavita, aka Badfellas for the English translation, so if the filmmakers decided to stay true to the book, then it's not really the movie's fault and these things can be overlooked.
This flick certainly has its moments, however. One of the highlights of the film, which was shown in the trailer, is when Maggie sets fire to a supermarket after being insulted by the workers for being American. All the characters have their own ways of handling different situations, and they are fun to watch. There is also a reference to a classic gangster film that is too good to reveal here.
It could've been funnier. The script could've been stronger. But the performances and action compensate for it. Although The Family didn't kick quite as much ass as I had hoped it would, it's still worth your time if you're into mafia movies and/or you're a fan of any of the terrific actors who star in it.
The Purge (2013)
Original plot could've been explored further, but it still gets the job done
The year is 2022 and America has evolved into a nation that has an unemployment rate of just one percent, and crime is at an unprecedented low. This is mainly due to the New Founding Fathers' implementation of the annual purge, a twelve-hour period in which all crime, including murder, is legal and emergency services are suspended. This chaos that is created once a year is the perfect outlet to get all of the citizens' anger and frustration out of their systems before it builds up, right? The mayhem that is caused during that one night is worth the near-utopian society that it produces for the other 364 days of the year, right? All the disruption and all the lives lost are justified, considering all of the good that the free-for-all causes
right? On this particular night of purging, wealthy salesman James Sandin, played by the unappreciated Ethan Hawke, plans on waiting the night of uncontrolled violence out with his wife Mary (Lena Headey) and their two kids Zoey and Charlie in their solidly sealed home. James made his fortune selling security systems that are specifically designed for protection during the purge. A good portion of James' sales have been to the members of their neighborhood, and one of their neighbors lets Mary know that they all have been gossiping about them.
All seems to be going as peacefully as planned until Charlie notices a "Bloody Stranger," as he's referred to in the credits, begging for someone to let him in. Charlie punches in the security code and allows the badly battered stranger to slide inside just in time before James and Mary can stop him. Soon after, a group of masked "purgers" show up and their "Polite Leader" (Rhys Wakefield) unmasks himself to reveal that if the Sandins don't release the stranger to them alive, they will bring their hardcore tools to break in and slaughter them all.
The interesting concept is what drew me in, as it was a relief to see an idea that had never been done before, at least not in a mainstream movie. I agree with many critics who have said that more could've been done to expand on the plot, and it fell victim to many clichés of a standard home invasion film, a la The Strangers. In some ways it reminded me of The Happening, where an original idea was wasted by not exploring the unique plot further. However, while the execution of The Happening was horrid, The Purge compensates for its clichés with solid performances, especially from Hawke and the creepy as hell Wakefield, as well as some plot twists you'd never see coming. I give the movie credit for having the balls to go places that other films wouldn't dare go.
Another plus is that aside from some of Charlie's gadgets and the extravagant security system, the filmmakers didn't try too hard to sell the setting as being in the future. I'm glad they decided not to go overboard with futuristic technology because, especially for a thriller like this, it would've been distracting and taken away from the terror that the family was enduring. Nine years from now is not too far into the future, and I can't imagine things will look significantly different by then, considering that things haven't changed much since 2004.
One aspect that the filmmakers should have dove deeper into was its political commentary on how our society thinks of poor people as being worthless and expendable. They suffer the most during the purge because they can't afford the high-tech security systems. It's hinted that the murders of poor and/or homeless people, such as the stranger in the film, are what caused the unemployment rate to plummet, and the purge was created for the purpose of improving the economy by eliminating those who are considered to be unworthy of taking jobs from the middle and upper classes.
Despite mixed reviews, The Purge made $16.8 million on its first day at the domestic box office, more than five times its $3 million budget, and landed at number one with $34 million for its opening weekend. Due to its financial success, a sequel is already in the works. I can honestly say that I'm looking forward to a sequel because it could potentially explore other aspects of the purge and show how other people deal with it, as well as address any unanswered questions and fill any plot holes that the otherwise well-made first film left.
World War Z (2013)
More action than zombie horror, but still entertaining
So a couple of weeks ago, I won passes through a radio contest to the New York City premiere of World War Z, which went down last Monday(6/17/13). When I initially won, I was more excited about the thought of seeing Angelina Jolie (and her new breasts) in person than the actual movie, but it turned out that she was MIA that night. It was still cool to see Brad Pitt in person when he stopped by to introduce the movie after the film's director Marc Forster spoke for a few minutes. Pitt ensured us that they had a good movie in store for us, and he said that we should get the film going and not waste any more time.
When I first heard about World War Z, I had no idea that the Z in the title refers to zombies, and even when I saw the trailer, there was no mention of zombies. If anything, the scene they showed from the beginning of the movie, when everyone was stopped in traffic and they heard explosions, made it look like it might be some kind of lame monster movie like Godzilla or even worse, Cloverfield.
Brad Pitt stars as a former United Nations investigator who reluctantly abandons his family in order to face the task of figuring out what's causing the zombie pandemic all over the world and stop it before it destroys all of humanity. I've never read the book it's loosely based on, but people who have say the only thing the book and the movie share are the title. They wonder why Brad Pitt's production company Plan B Entertainment bothered to buy the rights to the book, which is a collection of individual accounts of the ongoing war against zombies.
Despite his underrated talent and tendency to take on a wide range of roles, I was surprised that he did a film like this, being this is his first "disaster/end-of-the-world" movie. This seems more like something Will Smith would do, not Brad Pitt. In fact, the amount of violence and the creatures themselves were somewhat similar to the vampires featured in I Am Legend.
The zombies featured in this movie are a combination of the virus-infected victims that are featured in 28 Days Later and the traditional Romero-esque zombies. The zombies in this movie would've been a hell of a lot scarier if they weren't CGI 90 percent of the time. Personally, I find the classic slow-moving zombies to be scarier than the fast-moving zombies. This film felt more like I was watching a Roland Emmerich film, like Independence Day, than a horror film. It seemed odd to me that a zombie film is rated PG-13, and I can imagine that hardcore zombie fanatics will be even more disappointed than I was.
I'm not the biggest zombie buff around, but of the handful of zombie films that I've seen, the remake of Dawn of the Dead is one that really stands out for me. Shaun of the Dead was also great at spoofing zombie movies while simultaneously being a great zombie movie, similar to what Scream did for slashers. I can't really see World War Z going down as one of the greatest zombie flicks in history, nor as a great apocalyptic flick for that matter.
Historically, I've never been too impressed with 3D, and this film was no exception. There were a few "jump scenes" that, although looked slightly cooler, I'm sure would've made me jump just the same. For much of the film, wearing the 3D glasses is just distracting in scenes where they're unnecessary, such as the first few minutes inside Gerry's house. At least the official World War Z 3D glasses that I decided to keep are a cool souvenir.
Overall, the film definitely looks great, and some action sequences kicked so much ass that the audience erupted into applause. Although there are better zombie movies out there, you will certainly be excited and entertained, as long as you don't expect the same thought-provoking political commentary that you'd receive from an episode of "The Walking Dead."
More than just a great baseball movie
I'm a big baseball fan, so I was excited to see this movie as soon as I heard about it. The release date of April 12th coinciding with the start of the baseball season, as well as Jackie Robinson Day on April 15th (when every MLB player sports #42 in his honor), felt appropriate and was clever marketing.
In case you live under a rock and/or you happened to go to one of the few elementary schools that didn't require its students to write a report on a famous black person for Black History Month, Jackie Robinson was the first African American Major League Baseball player, who played first and second base with the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1947 through 1956. After doing a little research about Robinson, I discovered that one detail that was left out in those grade school reports was that he wasn't really the first black player in the majors, only of the of the modern era. What I mean by "the modern era" is after the Negro Leagues, which existed for about 60 years, starting in the 1880s. There were actually some black players in the major leagues before the Negro League started. However, this does not make Robinson's accomplishments any less impressive.
I have a whole new respect for Jackie Robinson after actually seeing and hearing the racism that he had to endure. In one scene, a Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher even hits him in the head. (Speaking of which, it made me wonder what the hell took so long for helmets to be made mandatory.) Some of the behavior and racial slurs coming from the crowd, coaches from other teams, and umpires was truly disgusting to watch for someone who was brought up in a generation where it's no longer socially acceptable to be blatantly racist. Sure, racism is unfortunately still alive and well in America, but it exists on a more underground level, compared to 60 years ago when it was considered the norm.
Newcomer Chadwick Boseman did a fantastic job. I'm glad the producers cast an unknown because it made it easier to believe that he really was Jackie Robinson. It would be cool to see him be recognized with an Oscar nomination, but even more importantly, I hope this will be the start of a long career. The supporting actors were great as well, particularly Lucas Black as Pee Wee Reese, the Dodgers shortstop who supported and stood up for Robinson the most during his rough first years on the team, and Alan Tudyk as Ben Chapman, the unapologetically racist Phillies manager who was one of Robinson's worst tormentors. Tudyk was so convincing in the role, it was hard not to hate him. Then of course, there's the legendary Harrison Ford as Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey, the man who helped break the color barrier by deciding to sign Robinson. I didn't realize just how old Harrison Ford is until I saw him in this. He was almost unrecognizable, and really disappeared in his role. At 71 years old, he still looks good for his age though.
It was great to see how his teammates went from signing a petition against him playing with them to gradually accepting and respecting him. The only problem I had with the film was that it ended very abruptly. I was shocked when the concluding notes of what happened to all the characters started rolling, as they typically do in films based on true stories. I felt like they stopped telling his story too early. Aside from that, I was very impressed with the film's authenticity and honest portrayal of the characters and time period.
"42" has already proved to be a hit. It opened at number one at the box office, and it broke some records for baseball-themed movies. At $9.1 million, it had the best opening day ever, and at $27.3 million, it had the best opening weekend. This will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest baseball movies of all time. In my book, it's right up there with "The Sandlot" and "A League of Their Own." What's great about "42" is that it's far more than just a baseball movie. It's a movie about overcoming obstacles, staying strong during difficult times, believing in yourself, and standing up for what is right.
Brilliant "Where Are They Now" of Fairy Tale Characters
There's a recent trend in Hollywood of films that have to do with hunters and slayers, starting with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter coming out last summer and Jack the Giant Slayer coming out on March 1st. The current addition to this "killing mythological characters" craze comes in the form of Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.
I wanted to see this because Jeremy Renner, who plays Hansel, is a great actor, and I thought it was a cool idea to have a "where are they now" of fairy tale characters. I also wanted to see it because I enjoyed Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. They both have over-the-top violence, but Hansel and Gretel makes Abe Lincoln look like one of those lame PG-13 horror remakes that have come out in recent years. The gore is gratuitous and the action is aplenty. In fact, some pussies in the audience were so squeamish that they had to look away during some parts.
The film opens with a brief retelling of the classic story, with Hansel and Gretel's father leaving them in the woods, and subsequently they are lured into the witch's candy house, where they shove her into an oven and ultimately burn her alive. Fast forward 15 years later (although it looks more like 25 in the case of 40-year-old Renner), and we find the sibling duo living the life of hunters who slaughter witches and helping rescue children whom the witches abducted. Gretel is played by the gorgeous Gemma Arterton, who reminds me of Jennifer Garner, except even hotter.
The witches were very frightening. Children who have parents dumb enough to bring them to see this will be freaked out by the witches, not to mention scarred by the blood and guts. I liked how, aside from the traditional witch in the opening sequence, the rest of the witches were unique-looking, such as one with spiky hair that looked like horns. The towering and beautiful Famke Janssen is perfectly cast as the head witch, Muriel. Having played villains before in films such as Goldeneye, The Faculty, and parts of the X-Men franchise, she exudes the right amount of evil and sexiness.
I also loved the contradiction between the modern-day guns and bows and arrows, and fighting sequences, taking place in a setting of 300 years ago. It was even more bizarre hearing fairy tale characters say modern-day swear words. Look out for some witty one liners from Renner.
Both Abe Lincoln and Hansel and Gretel involve a mash up of genres. They differ in that the serious tone and more subtle humor found in Abe Lincoln is appropriate for a history/horror film, while more straightforward comedy of Hansel and Gretel suits a fairy tale/horror film. As I previously mentioned in that movie's review, Abe Lincoln would not work as a comedy.
As was the case with Abraham Lincoln, Hansel and Gretel received scathing reviews from critics who were expecting it to be something it's not, and what it is, is a B-movie fantasy/action flick whose job is to be bloody ridiculous. They refuse to give it credit for succeeding at what it set out to do. They also don't get the sense of humor. For example, Hansel is a diabetic as a result of eating the candy house as a child, and he has to give himself an insulin injection, centuries before it even existed in real life. Anyone who can't see the humor in that seriously needs to get a life.
Some reviewers questioned why a respected actor like Renner would take on a role like this. Sure, he's a two-time Oscar nominee, but there's nothing wrong with him doing a fun film every now and then. His career is currently much more on track than many Oscar winners. Anyone remember Cuba Gooding, Jr.? Exactly. Plus, this movie was originally supposed to come out last March, but the studio pushed back the release date in order to allow time for Renner to film a couple of more blockbusters while he rose to become an A-list star. This was a wise decision, because Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters debuted at number one at the domestic box office, and it's been making a boatload of money around the world. So forget the haters.
Killer Joe (2011)
Like nothing you've ever seen
When I went to see Killer Joe, I hadn't been so pumped to see a movie since The Dark Knight. Maybe it was because it got excellent reviews and had a great cast. Maybe it was because it was the first time I headed into the city to see a film in limited release. Maybe it was because it was the first NC-17 rated movie I'd be seeing in theaters. Maybe it was all of the above.
I thoroughly enjoyed Killer Joe, so much so that I can't remember the last time I was so satisfied with a film. One of the best things about it was the performances of its stellar cast, including the title character. It would be a crime for Matthew McConaughey not to get nominated for an Oscar, or at least a Golden Globe (which he's more likely to get). He really impressed me, even after seeing him in serious roles, such as The Lincoln Lawyer and A Time to Kill. Sure, he does a lot of shitty romcoms, but when he's in a good movie, damn is he good. He pulled off playing a manipulative, sadistic villain so well that I almost found myself rooting for him, especially since compared to the screwed up family, he didn't seem all that bad. But I've already said too much. And trust me, as I've heard others say, the less you know about this film going in, the better, which is why I'll keep the plot summary as simple as possible.
Emile Hirsh plays Chris, a Texan drug dealer who finds himself in considerable debt. He consults his father Ansel (Thomas Haden Church) about hiring detective-slash-contract-killer-on-the-side Joe Cooper to kill Chris' deadbeat mother in order to obtain a $50,000 insurance policy, which will go to Chris' younger sister, Dottie (Juno Temple). Because Chris can't afford to pay Joe's mandatory $25,000 up front fee, Joe allows his rule to slide in exchange for keeping Dottie on "retainer" until he can get his money. The always sexy (even when she's playing white trash) Gina Gershon rounds out the cast as Sharla, Ansel's second wife and Chris and Dottie's stepmother.
I seek out different, shocking films, and boy, did this one deliver. The violence is nothing that hasn't been seen in many R-rated movies. In fact, it was even less violent than many of them. What makes it so disturbing in this film is how real the violence is. It's one thing to be accustomed to over-the-top violence in movies such as Sin City or the Kill Bill films. It's another thing to be shocked by brutally realistic violence. Director William Friedkin, of The Exorcist fame, really takes you into the gritty reality of southern life for some people. It was actually filmed in New Orleans, but you'd never know that because Friedkin paints such a convincing depiction of redneck Texas.
What really makes this film earn its NC-17 rating is the overtly sexual nature and overall tone. The filmmakers tried to appeal the rating, but when they were rejected by the MPAA, they decided to release the film uncut. I respect them for that because it shows that they didn't care about the movie being able to make more money. They value art over profit, and the movie benefits from their decision. The same shock value wouldn't be there if they had toned it down to an R.
This film had me laughing in obviously funny places, and in some other places where I almost questioned why I was laughing. Almost. Some of the wicked plot twists and bold, daring turns will leave your jaw hanging open. It's like no other film you've ever seen, and most likely will never see again.
A fiercely entertaining ride
When I first heard about this movie, the idea immediately intrigued me. I thought to myself: I like vampires. I like Abraham Lincoln. It's a win-win. I realize that the concept is a little too unconventional for some moviegoers, but it should be given credit at least for being original, which is rare in Hollywood nowadays. People constantly complain that all the current releases are either remakes or sequels, and when something original finally comes around they pan it and mock its concept. The vast majority of these dimwits haven't even read anything about the movie, let alone seen it, before they start jumping to conclusions. The idea of a mashup of genres is brilliant, and the filmmakers succeeded in blending historical and horror nicely.
The plot revolves around a nine-year-old Abe Lincoln witnessing his mother being killed by a vampire, which leads him to seek revenge as a young man. In the process, he meets Henry Sturges, who trains him to become a vampire hunter, and Lincoln begins slaying the vampires that Henry directs him to. Many years later, after he becomes president, Lincoln picks up his silver-coated ax again, making it his mission to defeat the vampires as they side with the Confederacy.
I've read that some fans of the book it's based on were disappointed in the movie because it differed so much from the book, despite the fact that the screenplay was written by the novel's author, Seth Grahame-Smith. As is the case for most film adaptations of books, some things had to be changed in order to fit the structure of a film, and to appeal to a mainstream audience. Although I haven't read the novel yet, I understand that it reads like a biography of Lincoln's life, and the vampire aspect is incorporated into that. The film would've been too long and most likely a little too dark if it had followed too closely to the novel.
The main problem I had with the film was the lack of transition throughout. For example, it seemed like Lincoln was a young lad slaughtering vampires, and before I knew it, he was living in the White House with his signature beard. Very little time was spent at all showing him campaigning. Also, for about a 15-minute period nothing exciting happens during his first few years as president, so that part seemed to drag slightly. However, the action-packed third act made up for it.
The film features one of the best transformations into a character I have ever seen. Benjamin Walker embodied Lincoln. Unfortunately, it seemed like the makeup crew spent so much time making Walker look like Lincoln that they forgot to age the rest of the characters convincingly. Aside from a few gray hairs, Mary Todd and Lincoln's friend Will Johnson hardly look different at all. If I didn't know any better, I would've thought that they were supposed to be vampires themselves.
I saw it first in 2D, and then I went again to see it in 3D. I can count on one hand the number of films I've seen more than once in theaters, so that tells you how much I enjoyed it the first time. I must say that I wasn't too impressed with the 3D. There were a couple of moments that made me jump where the 3D added a little something to the effects, but overall it didn't really make me enjoy the movie any more. The vampires were fierce and scary enough in 2D, so the 3D wasn't really necessary. Speaking of which, it's good to know some filmmakers are still capable of creating the real, old-school vampires instead of that Twilight trash.
It's a shame this movie didn't make more money than it did, considering it's cleverer and more entertaining than 90 percent of the crap Hollywood has been dishing out lately. The film knows its concept is ludicrous, and it presents itself with a serious face because it simply would not work as a comedy. The humor is subtle, as it should be. Anyone who was deeply disappointed with it was clearly expecting it to be something it's not.
Bottom line: I paid to see Abraham Lincoln kick some vampire ass, and that's exactly what I got.
Most realistic depiction of death...ever
Is it the most enjoyable Buffy episode? No. It's sad, and most of the time, I'd prefer to watch some of the scarier or funnier episodes. Is it one of the most heart-wrenching, undeniably well-made episodes of television ever created? No doubt. It's ironic that a show about the supernatural was able to create the most realistic depiction of death that I have ever seen, in any TV show or movie. Like others have already said here, it really is exactly the way it happens.
I first saw this episode when it originally aired, when I was in 8th grade. I was sad as I was watching it, but mainly shocked that they decided to kill off an important, recurring character, in a natural way. It wasn't until I watched it again this past summer, right after my grandmother passed away, that I was so moved that I cried. In fact, this is the only television episode that has ever made me cry. The part that really got me is when Anya breaks into tears as she's trying to explain her genuine confusion with the idea of death, a totally unfathomable concept to a former immortal demon. Another great scene is when Tara tells Buffy that she also lost her mother, when she was 17. Buffy asks Tara if her mother's death was sudden, to which Tara replies, "No. And yes, it's always sudden." She's saying that even if you are expecting it, death will still feel sudden.
Everyone's acting is superb, the dialogue is perfect, and the lack of music adds to the reality of the situation that the characters must endure. "The Body" is brilliant regardless, but I would definitely recommend viewing it if you have lost a loved one, which of course, most people have.
Scream 3 (2000)
A great finale to an outstanding trilogy!
OK, let me start by saying that Scream 3 is definitely the worst of the series. However, that doesn't make it horrible overall, considering that the first two were phenomenal and this script unfortunately wasn't written by Kevin Williamson. The violence was toned down WAY too much, and on top of that, the death scenes were very uncreative. Almost everyone died the same way: a knife in the lower back. I was particularly disappointed with the opening death scene. First of all, the choice of characters to kill was very poor, since we already knew one of them. The actor that played him isn't even that well-known either, and that's what one of the best things about the first two films' opening scenes was. Seeing Drew Barrymore, Omar Epps, and Jada Pinkett die in the first scene was completely shocking. This opener just didn't have that same effect. Also, many of the characters were very one-dimensional.
Alright, enough on the negatives - now I'll focus on the good things about this movie (surprisingly, there were many). Although this movie was not very scary, Ehren Kruger, who took Williamson's place on this one, was able to make it very action-packed and came out with a decent thriller, only because Wes Craven returned as director. This was also by far the funniest of the Scream movies. I enjoyed the clever dialogue between Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox - who by the way looked TERRIBLE in this! My God, her hair! I don't get it! She looked so hot in the second one!) and Jennifer Jolie (Parker Posey - the funniest character in the film) who is playing Gale in Stab 3. David Arquette is funny once again as Dewey, and Neve Campbell rocks reprising her role as Sidney. I also loved the part where Randy (Jamie Kennedy) explained the rules of a trilogy on a video. Everyone else - Jenny McCarthy, Scott Foley, Patrick Dempsey, etc. - were all great as well.
Another fantastic part of this movie was the fact that the mystery was not just simply "who is the killer?". It was more complex than that - it involved "how is the killer related to the 'back story'?". The killer would leave a photo of Sid's mom after each murder, and that built up to the very clever identity of the killer at the end. This is what makes me believe that it's a really great finale to the trilogy because it concludes the story so well.
Although it has its flaws and it's not quite as enjoyable as the first two, it's not as bad as it may seem. I found it to be fairly disappointing, despite the fact that it was fun to see at the movies, because i waited over two years to see it, and i couldn't help but expect something spectacular after hearing countless rumors about how well they kept the script and everything under raps. But I saw it again on video and realized how well it concludes the story. It's very entertaining - not as much as the first two - but still a can't-miss for fans of the series nontheless. 8/10
Not just my favorite scary movie...
...it's my favorite movie of all time! It's so much fun; every time I watch it, I love it even more. It's extremely clever, hip, funny, and of course, absolutely terrifying! I remember the first time i saw it. I was like 10 and it was on Starz! and I couldn't watch the first scene w/o switching the channel. Actually, it wasn't until i rented it on video a couple years later that i watched the entire movie from beginning to end - simply because I couldn't change the channel!
Scream is so original and creative - from Kevin Williamson's fresh, witty script, to Wes Craven's awesome direction. And of course, the terrific score doesn't hurt, either. One of the best things about this film is that it has many things that most other horror movies lack, such as a plot (big one!), well-developed characters, and even good acting!
Drew Barrymore shines as Casey Becker. I mean, if she weren't able to cry so well on cue like she did, that first scene just wouldn't have been as believable as it was, nor would it be one of the most classic scenes in horror movie history, right up there with Psycho's shower scene. Neve Campbell (Sidney Prescott) is a very talented actress as well and makes a great leading lady. David Arquette is perfect for the role of Dewey. And who could forget Courtney Cox - she's such a good actress that when I watch Friends, it's hard for me to believe that Monica is the same person who played Gale Weathers! Jamie Kennedy makes a great movie geek - he's probably my favorite character in the whole trilogy. Everyone else is great too - Matthew Lillard was hilarious as Stu, Skeet Ulrich made a creepy boyfriend, and Rose McGowan was a cute best friend. After all, this movie did launch all of their careers!
Although Scream is responsible for a lot of crap (bad imitators like Urban Legend, horrible attempts at mixing genres such as Idle Hands, and unnecessary sequels to classics like Halloween: H20 and The Rage: Carrie 2), there's no way any horror movie fan won't like this! I'm telling you, it's sensational! 10/10
Scream 2 (1997)
Finally, a worthy sequel!
Although Scream 2 has its flaws and may not be as entertaining as the original, I found it to be just as scary, funny, enjoyable, clever, and even as original as the first Scream. The opening theater scene was just plain genius! Great dialogue, GREAT casting (Jada and Omar make one terrific team!), and of course, horror! It was very intense - I was VERY into it - and it was so clever how it was the complete opposite of Scream's opening scene (Casey was alone in a house, while Maureen and Phil were in a crowded theater/bathroom). Although Casey's opening scene was scarier because you're more likely to get killed at home then in a crowded theatre, (and it was weird and far-fetched how no one noticed that poor Maureen was being stabbed to death) it was still just as clever and intense.
Once again, Kevin Williamson delivers a script with witty dialogue and well-developed characters. It may not have as great a plot as Scream and Scream 3, but considering it's a sequel to a masterpiece, I'd say it's good enough. And, of course, Wes Craven is able to produce extremely intense, suspenseful death scenes, complimented nicely by another one of Marco Beltrami's magnificent scores. My favorite scene was the car crash. Completely terrifying! It's great how just when Sid (Neve Campbell) and Hal (Elise Neal - pretty good actress) get out of the car and you can breathe a sigh of relief, Sidney decides to unmask the killer, and, unfortunately for Hallie, it backfires and the killer pops out again!
I have to admit that guessing who the killer was wasn't quite as fun as in the first, but the identity of one of them (Billy's mother - played well by Laurie Metcalf) was a great twist and made up for it. Also, Mickey (Timothy something) was just as funny as Stu in the original.
I was heart-broken when Randy (Jamie Kennedy) and CiCi (Sarah Michelle Gellar) died (I'm a big fan of Buffy) but their performances were superb nonetheless. Jerry O'Connell was even pretty good as Derek, Sid's new sane boyfriend (my sister always goes ga-ga over his cafeteria singing scene) and Liev Schrieber was great in his biggest role of the Scream movies; he made a good possible suspect. Neve, David, and Courtney do great jobs as well reprising their roles.
It would be unfair to say that this is just as good as the original (after all, Scream is a masterpiece), but Randy was wrong: all sequels DON'T suck! I gave Scream 10/10, so Scream 2 gets a respectable 9/10.
Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999)
What the HELL are you all talking about?
I hate how all of you comment on this movie, completely trashing it, pretending you're real film critics, and that you actually know what you're talking about! The truth is, although it may not even compare to classics like Scream, it's a very enjoyable movie, especially if you're a teen like me! I guess I liked it so much because I could relate to it. I've had quite a few b***es like Mrs. Tingle, and I'm not even in high school yet! However, I probably still would have liked it nonetheless, for a few reasons:
First, although it wasn't very violent (it slacked off just like Scream 3 did), it was still able to offer that edge-of-your-seat suspense that all three Screams did.
Second,the acting was even good. Although Mirren and Coughlan stole the show, Katie and Barry's performances weren't too shabby either. I also enjoyed Vivica A. Fox's cameo; i just wish she had a bigger part.
Before I forget, I'd like to say props to Kevin Williamson for an original, entertaining script and a fine directorial debut!
Granted, this film may be slightly far-fetched, but many times, that's what makes a movie so entertaining. The fact that this movie bombed makes absolutely no sense to me. People are always complaining how thrillers are all the same, but when something finally comes out that's different - VERY different - they refuse to accept it. It's shocking to think that many people couldn't relate to this or at least find it as fun as I did. Even if you're a mature adult, I recommend that you see this. Maybe it'll make you start to remember YOUR high school teacher from hell! Grade: A-