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Parks and Recreation (2009)
One of the funniest shows I have ever seen
-Parks and Recreation (2009-2015) series review: -Parks and Rec is a comedy series that looks at a group of public workers as the parks and rec department of their local town Pawnee, Indiana. Taking many noted from The Office, Parks and Rec takes a somewhat more absurd approach to this show, adding room for some sharp over-the-top satire about small government, consumers, town hall meetings, etc.
-I love this show so much. It is funny, smart, likable, and full of some really memorable charters I will get to soon! If the comedy scene is not your thing, that is okay. I just reviewed Daredevil. But this is not Daredevil, it's Parks and Rec! -The series plot varies a lot, making it easy to jump into, minus a few character subplots. I love the way the story progresses along with the character changes. And the moments it gets absurd, it is never to absurd it is unbelievable, just absurd to the extremes of realism. For example: Woman complains about snails. Absurd, but not unheard of. Satire to a 'T.
-Each episode is only twenty minutes, minus a few finales, so it is easy to accidentally watch eleven episodes in one night. Not that that happened to me or anything .
-I am going to combine acting and characters for this next part: Parks and Rec stars Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, a workaholic, dedicated, somewhat crazy deputy director at the department. Amy Poehler does a job worthy of the Golden Globe she won for it. I also totally love the character of Leslie Knope. She is annoying at times, but so lovable and heartfelt. She's also a serious liberal, so if you are one of those extreme people who hates every mention of Joe Biden because you think it promoted how wonderful Democrats are, it is just a TV show. Leslie Knope is aided by Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson, an anti-government, anti-people, pro-meat guy who would rather build a canoe with his bare hands than listen to someone discuss their feelings. Nick Offerman is hilarious and my favorite character on a show full of wonderful characters. And then there is Aubrey Plaza as April Ludgate, a younger, sarcastic intern turned secretary who hates everything but dogs and Andy. Chris Pratt plays Andy Dwyer, who is a child-like idiot with a really big heart. He offers a lot to the show in both the comedy area and some really meaningful moments; plus we would not have Burt Macklin, FBI or Johnny Karate without him! Aziz Ansari is Tom Haverford. Like I am pretty sure he is. In real life. Tom is an entrepreneur and is always coming up with self-centered ideas, but his change throughout the show is another one of the many best things about it. Jim O'Heir plays Garry Jerry Larry Gergich, who is another lovable character whom everyone makes fun of because he is a walking klutz. Retta plays Donna Meagle. Treat-Yo-Self! Rashina Jones plays Anne Perkins, but moving on to more fun people! Rob Lowe is literally, the best City Manager in history. Chris Traeger is a very positive individual who is obsessed with fitness to the point of driving Ron Swanson mad. And finally, Adam Scott plays Ben Wyatt, who is a smart nerd who invents his own board game, knows everything about nerd trivia, and loves calzones. I may or may not be him .
-Finally moving on! There is not a lot of music because of the mockumentary style, but we do get some music in the way of Mouse-Rat, Chris Pratt's band. The reoccurring songs The Pit, which is about how Andy fell in a pit, and Bye, Bye Li'l Sebastian, a memorial song for a pony, offer a lot of heart to the show. Somehow.
-I love this show. The more I watched, the closer I felt to the characters and story. It made my tear up several times, which is impressive for a comedy show, and it offers a lot of heart and a lot of laughs. I think it is a great show! No, I think Parks and Rec is . Amazingtastic! -Parks and Rec is TV-PG, but occasionally has some references and conversations that are in the PG-13 realm if it were a film. It also censors some language for humor's sake. And it has one minor character who, due to the insane nature, needs to be pixilated.
John Doe: Vigilante (2014)
Original, compelling, and thought-provoking!
-John Doe: Vigilante (2015) movie review: -John Doe is a masked vigilante who does out on the streets and hunts down serial killers so he can somewhat brutally murder them. Lovely. One of the unique things about this indie film is that you get to hear both sides of the story, one of them from John Doe who has already been caught and arrested, and another from the media and police, which many films dealing with vigilantes focus less on.
-So is this a sort-of superhero film or a crime flick? The film brings the moral issues of taking the law into your own hands and give it to you right out of the gate, leaving it to the audience to decide what side to choose. I like that the film is impartial about it, I really do. And I really liked the film for the most part.
-The character backstory is set up like a superhero film, minus the powers and rule against killing. However the non-linear story helped lay the moral point out in a way that they build on each other from multiple perspectives, which is really good! -The pace was too quick I think. It could have taken longer to wait before just jumping us into it, but it never really got slow.
-The acting was good. Jamie Bamber, Apollo from BSG, stars as John Doe and offers a very deep, compelling performance to a character like this. It has some other actors I didn't know and they did a good job but nobody else really stood out.
-The character of John Doe is a really compelling character because of haw many questions he brings up. The caution he takes is admirable and you can't feel bad for the horrible people he ills, but does it justify killing them? He offers more depth than just that, but I can't say too much. The media characters are pretty interesting, as well as the detectives in charge of the case. There is also a following John Doe develops that take his vigilante thing the wrong way, which is interesting to look at. A certain Batman film did that too if I recall.
-Some of the music seemed low budget, but some other parts sounded really good. So mixed bag here.
-There are some CGI effects in the film that are not great, but to make up for that, the practical effects in the film are impressive. There are a few scenes where I just do not know how they made something look so realistic. I will get back to that in my content section.
-John Doe: Vigilante offers some new elements to an inflated hero/crime genre through unique storytelling elements and some really good moral questions and effects. It did not seem like a super high-budget film at times, but that has cult-classic written all over it. Being a limited release film, I cannot say it is worth seeing in theaters. However John Doe: Vigilante is totally worth checking out! -John Doe: Vigilante holds an R rating, naturally, for some language throughout and some rather violent images and themes. Thus the rally good practical effects. Violence on par with Daredevil and language with the first Punisher. Seems fitting.
-So have you seen John Doe? It probably means you are a serial killer and have not long to live. I would run. Like now.
The Return (2015)
Low quality and poorly written, with a few redeeming factors.
-The Return (2015) movie review: -The Return is the latest film by director Ryan Prin- oh. Well I am going to be biased here. No way around it. Aaaand since it has a runtime over 45 minutes, here we go! So The Return follows a small group of people who become locked in a music theater with a masked man, and they must escape before it is too late! -I said I was going to be biased, but that is not necessarily a good thing, because I do believe this is one of my lesser projects. Now the backstory behind it is that we were testing camera equipment and decided to turn it into a film. The final result being a somewhat unprepared film that lacks in several arenas. Silly me.
-The story is moderately cliché and there was no script. Always a bad idea. However I do like that not everything gets explained. Can ambiguity make of for cliché? Nah.
-The pace is good in my opinion.
-The acting is good for the most part. The film stars the crew that was testing equipment, featuring Ryan Prince, who it not too bad, but totally forgettable in the role; Charles Payne, who is really funny, Arielle Geiwitz, who successfully adds a lot of suspense the film would not have without her (in a good way); Daron Faltz, who does a really good job with some improvisation, and Gabe Garcia, who has my favorite improve moment in the film.
-The characters are interesting to say the least. The two leads are compelling because of their backstory and how that develops later on. Arielle's character is shallow and cliché. That is in me, not her. Daron's character, the cop of the bunch, is interesting because you feel like he has his own story and own unique personality. Props to the cast yet again.
-The music is from Marco Beltrami's "The Thing" (2011) and is fairly creepy and compelling. I would slam not having an original score, but for a film with no composer, the mix score suffices well.
-There are some good moments in the film that, through the actors' improve, are really enjoyable. It has some creepy scenes that try to avoid cliché some. Because I hate jumpscares. So it is not all bad after all! -The quality of the film is not super-high because we were still testing all of the equipment. The lighting is unique, props to Chad and Gabe. The cinematography is functional, but inconsistent because there were three cameramen with one camera. The audio works and the editing works. The makeup team did a great job! Arielle Geiwitz can make subtle makeup very well.
-To wrap up the praise to everyone but me, the idea of the film and the way it was executed is somewhat lazy. Not having a script is unacceptable and it has some very amateur elements to it. However, there are some moments that shine because of a great cast/crew and make it somewhat entertaining. Especially if you know them, as I suspect much of this target audience does. I personally think it is not worth the time, but it will be free on IMDb and YouTube in a few days, so if you feel like checking it out, I would really appreciate the support! -The Return, not having an official rating, would equal a PG-13 rating for peril, some violence, and some mild language and slurs. Nothing bad, just a few remarks here-and-there that extreme people would not love. Like the writer of Christian spotlight extreme.
-Have you seen The Return? What did you think? Be sure to leave a like or a comment letting me know! Also it is available for rating on IMDb and will be available for watching very soon! I would really appreciate the support if anybody were to rate it!
Last Knights (2015)
A good film that suffers in the middle
-Last Knights (2015) movie review: -The latest in big budget films starring well-known actors that only made it into limited release, Last Knights follows a group of dishonored knights who attempt to rise up against a heartless ruler. Decent budget? Check. Good cast? Check. Quality filmmaking? Check. I don't get the whole 'limited release' thing sometimes.
-I am usually a big fan of medieval pics like this, and this one is no exception! It does have its flaws though, making it not quite on par with films like King Arthur.
-The story is good, and it has an ambiguous setting, which helps it have more room for an original story. I will say that the film takes a large chunk (the middle third) of the film and does nothing with it. It leads the way for a plot point that is very forced, but it gathered itself for the last third of the film. The first third, being the set-up, is also really good.
-The pace suffers much like the story in the middle. It has a great start, compelling first act, and action-packed final act that makes it worth it.
-The acting is pretty great! Clive Owen is right for these roles and he pulls it off very well. The villain, Aksel Hennie, plays his evil, Wormtongue-dislikable villain very well. And who doesn't live Morgan Freeman? He has been going through a patch of generic performances for unnecessary characters, but he does a really good job in this and offers much to the film.
-I liked the characters for what they were, which is subject to the film's missing segment of plot development. Morgan Freeman's character has values that are incredibly easy to respect, making his character just very likable. The villain is a bit cliché, but the more dislikable you make a villain, the more cliché you need to be. At least in more cases. Clive Owen's character takes a really odd turn during the middle that make him less likable than the first act, but the finale act makes up for it.
-I really liked the music. None of it was fantastic, but it was good.
-The film's production value was good. There were a few shots where I just know the background was fake, but small things like proper sword sounds or realistic fighting totally make up for those.
-The film also breaks a few clichés by having lesser villains that are likable, realistic medieval politics, and a few turns near the finale that make you think, "Yeah, that's how it would happen." -Aside from the middle of the film that slows down and takes its eyes off the main story, Last Knights is a well-made, well-acted, somewhat unique medieval film that I enjoyed. Without any further adieu, I will say that I would totally but Last Knights in a $5 bin.
-I was puzzled for most of the film why Last Knights help an R-rating due to a lack of language, only some suggestive content, and realistic non-gruesome violence. And then some extra got stabbed violently, and I was like "Oh! Wow. That's why." So Last Knights is Rated-R for violence.
Killing Jesus (2015)
Missed the mark and the point
-Killing Jesus (2015) movie review: -Killing Jesus is a TV movie by National Geographic, giving a look at the ministry and death of Jesus of Nazareth from both his perspective and the perspectives of those who ordered his death. This attempt as a religious telling takes a non-biased look at the story of Christ, essentially adding biased against the truth told in the actual story. I'll get in to that later.
-Technically, it was not that bad. I will review part of it from that standpoint. However I am also going to review the content and what it represents, which was less than satisfying for a film that only needed to do the same as the other hundred films like this one.
-The story was told from both the perspectives of Jesus' captors as well as Jesus, so it feels inconsistent. They also skipped a few points that help develop other points in Christ's ministry.
-The film had a slow start and an odd pace that rushed through a bit of time without letting the audience know. Rushed ending too.
-The acting is functional. Haaz Sleiman plays a good Jesus, but not a great one. It also has some people like Kelsey Grammar, Rufus Sewell, and John Rhys-Davies in it, who do a good job.
-The characters are not all that good or accurate. Jesus whines and at one point talks about how He wants to lead a rebellion with swords. Because that obviously happened. To make this part short, when it comes to characters there is almost no regard for the actual Bible.
-I liked the music. It was very Bear McCreary-esque.
-The production value was acceptable, and I loved that they had a Jewish looking Jesus. Other than that, this film is both factually and Biblically inaccurate through most of its passive attempt to tell the story of Christ. Ending it ambiguously while not having things like the Holy Spirit in it once just truly take everything out of the meaning.
-Technically, it is not terrible. It has a decent design, acting that is not too bad, and a good score. Biblically and historically, it gets little right and takes the extra step to ensure this comes from a non-biased worldview, which in turn takes God out of it. Killing Jesus is not worth the time.
-Killing Jesus holds a PG-13 rating for violence and some partial nudity.
Batman vs. Robin (2015)
Very dark, but good
-Batman vs. Robin (2015) movie review: -In honor of the new Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice teaser trailer, I thought I would review this recent animated film from the DC Universe. Batman vs. Robin, which I am assuming follows the comic series, follows Damian Wayne, one of the latter Robins, who struggles with the moral issue of killing, which Batman enforces against, and outside influence from a dangerous secret society The Court of Owls.
-Wow that was dark. I don't follow any of the animated Batman series, or other animated Batman films, or the Batman comics, but I enjoyed it for what it was.
-The story was well told and, although sometimes forced, compelling. It stayed on track too, which I appreciate.
-The pace was good. Very good.
-The voice acting was fine. The kid who played Robin did a good job as young Robin. The lead Owl guy was good, but generic. The guy who plays Nightwing (Original Robin gone independent) was good. I honestly though the voice for Batman was the weakest of the bunch. Strongest of the bunch? 'Weird Al' Yankovic as The Dollmaker. You'll see .
-The characters seemed pretty accurate to what I know about them, and I enjoyed watching the internal struggles they had. I also liked that they had one of each type of Batman villain, a complete psycho and an organization trying to take order through chaos.
-I didn't really care much for the music, but it seemed above par for an animated Batman film.
-Other than that I don't know what else to judge, mainly because I know little about the comic it is based on. I will say is just seemed way too dark for animated. I think it was darker than the live action Batman films, minus The Dark Knight of course.
-An entertaining, more mature take on a Batman comic that keeps the audience interested the entire time? Totally worth Netflix rating. I honestly wouldn't pay to see it because of the overall darker tone though. For example: -Batman vs. Robin holds a PG-13 rating for a good amount of language, violence, and suggestive material throughout. That is why I didn't enjoy it as much.
The Wedding Ringer (2015)
Funny, but nothing new
-The Wedding Ringer (2015) movie review: -Kevin Hart is back as The Wedding Ringer, owner of a company that hires out grooms for weddings. He must rise to a whole new level though, when Josh Gad comes along and needs not one, but all of his groomsmen.
-Almost a token comedy that exceeds some comedy clichés, I found some good entertainment value in The Wedding Ringer. I also hold the opinion that it is not strong film in any way.
-The story is original, but ultimately one of those comedy stories that takes the same direction as all of the others. Until an original ending, so props.
-The pace was fine.
-The acting was fine. Kevin Hart is as good as always. Josh Gad is fine. The supporting cast is fine.
-The characters are just comedy clichés. There is a good amount of character development, so I will give it that too.
-The soundtrack was good. It was fun and fitting. It used some high-profile songs too, which surprised me.
-So the film tried hard for laughs. The harder it tried, the less funny it was. However it did very well in the actual jokes and funny moments it had. The situational humor just was not funny to me.
-I can't think of anything else to talk about. So The Wedding Ringer was funny and entertaining. It was not all that original and did not stand out too much, but I think it would be worth watching if it is ever on Netflix.
-The Wedding Ringer is rated-R for some language, which was moderate, but not too bad. Fitting for a film like this actually. It also had some somewhat inappropriate scenes that made the film awkward at times and helped the rating to a higher R.
Lost River (2014)
I unique film tat missed the mark
-Lost River (2015) movie review: -Lost River, Ryan Gosling's first directorial film, focuses on a dark, possibly dystopian, town and a few people living there. When one of them discovers a river in the town that has a city buried beneath it, he decides to uncover the mystery, and foretold curse, behind the underwater town.
-I understand subplots, but you can make another film about the main plot being an underwater town. I know, my wordplays are getting worse. I was not impressed by this film, although I do hope to see more of Ryan Gosling in the directing arena.
-The story was unique, but soooooo unfocused. There were three subplots going on and, even though they kinda came together, there was no discernible main plot.
-The pace was pretty slow. It was intriguing, but the more the plot dwindles the slower it feels.
-The acting was fine. It stars Christina Hendricks, Iain De Caestecker, Saoirse Ronan, Ben Mendelsohn, and Eva Mendes who all do fine. None of them were impressive, but they all worked. Props to Matt Smith as the villain though. He was great.
-The characters were somewhat forgettable. There was a lack of character development because the film focused more on what they represented or their goals than who they were. Again, I liked the villain. He was creepy and memorable.
-The music was super weird, and I liked it! -So I like seeing films by new directors because we usually see something really unique. This film offers some interesting techniques and story-telling elements that I just have not seen before. Hard to describe, but I liked the visual look of the film and the style they set it in.
-If Lost River had a more focused plot and some character development, it would have been a unique achievement. Instead it is a somewhat failed first attempt by a new director. I really do hope to see more from him, but Lost River just is not worth the time.
-Lost River holds an R-rating for some language (not a ton), a scene of violence, and some suggestive content. Some language really.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (2015)
Very dumb, but somewhat entertaining
-Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (2015) movie review: -Kevin James is back as Paul Blart who, after years of keeping his mall safe, finally takes a vacation with his daughter. But when a team of criminals tries to rob the hotel he is staying at, he must rise to the occasion and once again save the day! This sequel did see a different and probably more experienced director at the helm!
.but the same writer.
-You should know that I am going to try to be fair, but overall it does come down to what I personally thought of the film. Ultimately if you enjoyed it that is fine; I thought it was cute and entertaining, but kinda dumb.
-The story's plot develops through convenience and I think it highly unlikely that these villains would rob a high profile hotel while it is hosting a security conference. The subplot and subsequential added drama works fine though. Cliché, but it is hard to have a super original plot for a movie like this, so I am understanding of that.
-The pace was actually pretty good. Yeah.
-Kevin James did an over-the-top job as usual, because his character is kinda ridiculous. However I can't think of anyone better for the role, sooo . The rest of the cast did fine for as goofy or simple as their characters were.
-One of my problems with some films like this is that it is very hard to take any of the characters seriously. I know, I know . Family comedy. Paul Blart's character is just soooooo overdone. And all the other 'team' he assembles is too. Plus they literally had to make the villain have two different eye colors to make him stand out. Although there was one super random exchange they had that had me laughing a good bit.
-The music was good but generic. Rupert Gregson-Williams, Harry Gregson-Williams's son I believe, composed, and I hope to hear more from him. There was also one scene set to classical music that had me laughing. A lot.
-There are some good laughs in this film, some of which are in the trailer, and most of which are situational humor. However most of the film is Kevin James making a fool of himself, which some people probably find funny. Personal bias, I don't.
-Ultimately I thought it was funny, but poorly written and kinda cheesy. Nonetheless, it was not made to be a super great film, or even a believable film. It was made to entertain, and it kinda does. Is it worth paying to see? I don't think so, but I am just usually not into these films. So I will personally land somewhere between not worth the time and Netflix, but if you are looking for a fairly entertaining time with no brainpower required, by all means don't let me stop you! -Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 holds a PG rating for some peril and one SUPER gross scene I literally had to look away from. Oh my gosh. It was for laughs, but I just couldn't.
A failed attempt at original or scary
-Unfriended (2015) movie review: -Unfriended is the latest cyber-horror flick that sees a group of friends being targeted by the online accounts of their friend who killed herself on that day one year ago. Essentially a revenge slasher film, this one adds the unique element of having the entire film through the computer of the main character, which for most of the film is a video chat with the group.
-I did find a few things I liked about Unfriended. However, there is really nothing new this film has to offer, and to make it worse, nothing that the film offers is good. I tried to think of a better word. I really did.
-The story give an interesting and consequences and cyberbullying, but it has been done before too. The plot is pieced together by conveniences that usually make something in the film inconsistent or inexplicable.
-The film had a very slow start and didn't get to the actual plot until about 10 minutes in, which for an 80 minute film is slow.
-The cast has its ups and downs. I don't know any of them, but they are functional. None of them are that good and the harder they try at drama the more they feel like stage-actors not teens yelling at each other. They are not sci-fi original bad though.
-The characters in the film use all the horror clichés in the book except the back guy. There is the darker-haired protagonist, the somewhat questionable boyfriend who offers motivation for the protagonist, the blond, the jock, the smart but heavy kid, and the dislikable redshirt. Another major problem is that, although the characters have all done wrong things, it is not like this anonymous cyber villain or ghost or whatever is standing up for a perfect girl that killed herself.
-There was not much music in the film because it was on a screen. There was a good amount of bacnose to add tension, but it gave away every scary thing that would happen. There was one part though where these characters are yelling at each other and tensions are just going through the roof, so the cyber whatever plays a classy song about lying. I don't remember the song, but it was very funny.
-The scares were one of the worst things about the film. I didn't jump once and was not tense at all. Now I know I am harsh on jumpscares, but when a film tries so hard for jumpscares that it uses the same ambient music and the same internet connection glitches to try to throw the audience off for EVERY SINGLE ONE, they have no effect. Especially since they are all predictable and most of them were shown in the trailer. There was one moment that I didn't see coming, so I will give it that.
-The dialogue was pretty iffy and only existed to propel the plot. The entire film was supposed to add tension, but the only thing I was wondering in those moments was "Why is this girl taking 45 seconds to click every single thing. Normal people don't do that. Also there are no exposition websites that will tell you what happens next when the plot stalls. Google is the answer to everything, even plot-holes apparently.
-The film also banked on the whole cyber-thing to not give the film high quality, so it looked like it had a $20 budget. I also found out that "The filmmakers created a mock Skype interface for the film to avoid technical issues such as lag." Which is dumb because they depended on lag for 80% of the scares.
-One last thing. The whole 'one-take on a computer' thing that is supposed to be original? It is called Open Windows. You might remember it from my Top 10 Worst movies of 2014.
-It was not terrible, but that does not mean it was good. Unfriended only offered a few moments of writing to try to make up for the poor plot development, obvious clichés, failure to scare, and overall lack of effort. I am not going to give it my lowest rating because its actors tried hard and made a few parts entertaining and compelling. However, Unfriended is still not worth the time. Especially because It Follows is still in theaters! That is a good horror film! -Unfriended holds a somewhat confident R-rating, featuring a fair, but realistic amount of language including several F-words. It had some suggestive content and references, but showed no actual nudity. There is some violence, but the quality and insane amount of glitch-cuts make it watered-down. So R for language and one somewhat gross scene.
Le dernier loup (2015)
Fantastic, but emotionally trying
-Wolf Totem (2015) movie review: -Wolf Totem is a Chinese film, made by the French director of Troy, based on the novel (based on a true story) following two Chinese students staying in a modern (1960s) nomadic group of Mongols who raise horses and sheep. They live in a somewhat dangerous area inhabited by Mongolian wolves, so when a corporate residential manager decides to essentially steal food from the smartest species of wolf on the planet, the wolves are forces to get into a turf was with the Mongolian shepherds. It is like the set-up for The Last Samurai if the samurai were the wolves.
-This ambitious endeavor paid off with a massive visual appeal, fantastic production value, and an incredibly emotional story. It was quite a great film.
-I'll go ahead and say this, if you don't like animal deaths or tragedy that might come with said true events surrounding the decline of two impressive races, Mongolians and Mongolian wolves, you will not enjoy this film. However, the story is well told and filled with smart writing to drive the point home and beyond. You will get more that you bargained for.
-The film takes a short while to really pick up, but it has a good pace for most of the film.
-The acting is very good. I do not know any of the actors or wolf actors in it, but the actors did a compelling job and the wolves were so much better than just having stock footage of wolves.
-The characters offered a lot to the story. Each character represents a human trait in a way. The main character, Chen Zhen, offers the hope in humanity and the attempt to see the best during dire situations. His best friend character is more of the ambitions, progressive look at those people who just don't care. There is the village leader, who represents the old ways and greatness of tradition. And of course, the sorta-villain who represents everything wrong with change and industrialization.
-The music is the best thing about it. James Horner composes one of his best, most beautiful, and most heart-string-pulling scores. It was actually how I found this film in the first place.
-Again, the design on the film is visually stunning. Very good practical effects, cinematography, and impressively good wolf training. Fun fact: This project was turned down by every major Chinese director because they thought it too difficult to train Mongolian wolves.
-It is an emotionally draining film and the true story makes it even harder to enjoy, but it is truly a compelling, well made, beautiful film that I think is totally worth checking out! -Wolf Totem does not have a rating, but it has a PG-13 amount of violence and language, so I would say PG-13. Makes sense.
Superdumb! ....yet really funny.
-Superfast! (2015) movie review: -Superfast! is a parody film by the creators of The Starving Games, but this time, they take on the Fast & Furious franchise! And basically take the plots of the first, second, fourth, and fifth Furious movies and that is the plot of this one. Except the entire thing is making fun of those films.
-As someone who has now seen the Fast & Furious franchise, minus 7, I thought this spoof film was pretty hilarious. It was still dumb, but it was a lot less dumb than every other film in this specific genre, so I really enjoyed it.
-The story took every weak element of the franchise and made fun of it, such as the undercover cop thing, stealing from a really lazy criminal, being pursued by the FBI because reasons, stuff like that. They bring up several points throughout the entire thing that just make a lot of sense.
-The pace was really good actually.
-None of the actors needed to be good, they just needed to be dumb versions of the other characters. And they did just that very well! The cast did well and had noticeable fun. Extra props to the guy who plays The Rock, because he was really funny and 100% on point.
-The characters were the best thing about the film. You have Vin Diesel, who does things like shave his head while driving, makes rants that have zero sense, and suddenly turns on his bearded friend for no apparent reason. The character of Paul Walker was not really based on him that much, (which I found respectful) but instead was a complete idiot and still managed to make fun of the writing in the first film. The Rock, constantly using baby oil, hitting things, and ignoring any sort of actual police work, was just the best. And finally, the rest of the crew: Rapper Cameo, who does nothing, Cool Asian Guy, who eats food in every scene, and Model Turned Actress, who does nothing. On point satire here.
-They made fun of the overly-tense instrumental score, which made me laugh the most.
-They also made fun of pretty much everything else, from easy plot points to logic behind dragging a giant vault. I really appreciate a few more things, while I am at it: The film made no effort to parody other films, but stayed within its franchise. It also was smartly written and had a lot of moments that would really happen, like getting your seatbelt stuck trying to pull it too fast. It also directly references the Fast & Furious franchise. A bold, but funny move.
-So Superfast! had smart writing and was littered with hilarious characters and moments that perfectly capture everything wrong with the Fast & Furious franchise without making you hate them of think less of them. It was still dumb and had a lot of dumb moments, but things like telling them to wrap up the chase because it has exceeded the runtime and budget help propel this film to $5 bin worth for me. I really enjoyed it. But it was Superdumb! -Superfast! is rated PG-13 for some language throughout, and some suggestive content including references and a pixilation. Not as bad as The Starving Games though.
Into the Grizzly Maze (2015)
Really missed the mark with the direction
-Grizzly (2015) movie review: -Grizzly, opening in wide release next month, is a thriller following two brothers set out on a hike together in the woods after they reunite, having not seen each other since childhood. They soon discovery they are being stalked by a massive grizzly bear who has been terrorizing a local town. And it is from the director of some of the Saw sequels. Great
. That makes sense.
-This film missed a lot of opportunities to be meaningful and well done, plus with a cast like this, there is really no good excuse. Maybe if it was made by someone NOT known for horror movie sequels .
-The story is not too original to be honest. Reuniting and forgiving through desperate circumstances so they can work together? Plus the bear is apparently killing people and other bears because it is mad about deforestation. In Alaska. IN ALASKA. His next film will include a group of killer polar bears out against a local research base. In the middle of the Arctic .
-The pace was good, and it did keep me from being bored or too disinterested. It really it not all bad of a film. Kinda.
-The acting is passable. James Marsden (Cyclops) did not have to try too hard, and he did fine. Thomas Jane (Punisher) did not try at all and it kinda shows. Piper Perabo (Covert Affairs) did a very good job. Billy Bob Thornton did fine. And Scott Glenn played himself yet again.
-The characters were somewhat interesting, but none of the character motivations or development went anywhere. You start to get to know someone and then that is all, moving on to the next scene.
-The music was very forgettable. Because I don't remember it. Soooo .
-I have to talk about the effects now. The special effect in the movie are weak. The editing is good though. There were a few times that they made the bear look like it was there. Being a pretty gruesome movie, there were a lot of practical effects in it. This is where the director of Saw II shines, because the film was really over-the-top bloody and gory without cause. In fact most of it did not even make sense.
Another thing, if you are going to have a finale, make it good. Don't have characters you want to win get thrown around by a bear only to have them totally fine without a scratch. Add some tension. I was so tense at one point, then I realized that the leads are immune to bears. Take some decent production design and some not-to-bad editing and ruin it with an over-the-top ending that didn't need to be, and you have a very anti-climactic film with no actual danger.
-One more thing: A film like this does NOT need a plot-twist. No spoilers, just sayin'.
-Grizzly combines some good production design, editing, and acting with a poorly-made animal slasher film. It could have been a good film, and it was slightly entertaining, but ultimately, the direction of the film drove it into the ground too deep for a cast that could care less to redeem. Grizzly just isn't worth the time.
-Grizzly holds a strong R-rating for violence really. It also has some language in the film, as well as a short scene of nudity that didn't fit anything else in the film. Thanks director of Saw II, III, and IV.
Kill Me Three Times (2014)
Trying really hard to be a fun Tarantino film
-Kill Me Three Times (2015) movie review: -Kill Me Three Times is a much anticipated indie film following contract killer Simon Pegg who gets involved in this one job that turns out to be a part of two other murder/blackmail/revenge plots revolving around a bunch of idiots.
-Kill Me Three Times is like if Quentin Tarantino directed Burn After Reading, but it turned out to be not as good as Burn After Reading. So Kill Me Three Times did not live up to the anticipation.
-The story was interesting and functional, but it has been done before and it has been done better.
-The pace was fine.
-The acting: Simon Pegg did a good job and he was convincing and funny. The supporting cast includes Teresa Palmer (the girl from I Am Number Four), Alice Braga (the girl from Elysium), some guy, Hemsworth #3, and Callan Mulvey (Crossbones from Captain America 2). However none of them were that good. They were functional, but some of the performances, like Luke Hemsworth, were just bland.
-The characters were pretty shallow, but funny. There was no motivation for most of the things that happened, partly because there was no backstory or setup for the things that happened. However seeing this conglomerate of idiots and Simon Pegg's killer meet in Tarantino fashion was pretty enjoyable.
-The music was fun and Tarantino-influenced. BUT it was the same two pieces over and over and over again through the entire film, giving it a repetitive feel.
-The film was funny and, even though it was flawed and had a lot of bland elements, tried hard to be entertaining. I was mildly entertained through much of the film, so I am going to say that Kill Me Three Times would be worth watching on Netflix.
Lily & Kat (2015)
Very unfocused, but sprinkled with realism
-Lily & Kat (2015) movie review: -This indie-flick drama follows two best friends (in NYC I think), thus the title of the film, but when one of them announces she is moving to London to follow her career. Thus drama and we have our film.
-I cannot really tell what this movie was trying to be. It had some realistic elements and some comical elements, but added things that makes each element less dramatic or focused.
-The story was somewhat original and something that is realistic. It really had trouble focusing on a story as opposed to drama involved in it. Which I guess is at least realistic.
-The pace was good, but it had some trouble wrapping up neatly.
-The two leads had some realistic acting, but some of the supporting cast fell into 'eh' realm trying to be realistic.
-The characters had some depth and realism that made them compelling, but there was no build up or backstory, so you are thrown into their friendship and expected to keep up with the drama. So the development kicks off at the beginning of the film in the middle of this important friendship.
-The music was trying to be The Skeleton Twins. I loved that film and not this one, so I have to disagree with the music arraignment.
-Some of the editing was somewhat pointless. There are a few scenes in the film that really feel out of place and a few weird ones that go unexplained.
-The realism of the film almost makes it compelling and almost makes up for some out-of-place elements, copycat music, and unfocused story. Almost. Unfortunately, I didn't find it memorable or that entertaining. I am going to say that Lily & Kat isn't worth the time.
-It holds a moderate R-rating for some language and some sexual content minus nudity.
Flawed, but compelling miniseries
-Houdini (2014) miniseries review: -Houdini is a two-part series following the life and career of Harry Houdini, played by Adrian Brody. Mainly focusing on his rise to fame and career as a major entertainer, Houdini looks at various elements of his life, such as his marriage, family, rivalries, and of course, escape magic tricks.
-I honestly wish Houdini would have been a film. If has a total runtime of 2 hours 20 minutes, a great cast, and high production design. But as a series, it was still pretty darn good! -The story was well focused and very compelling. The second half is very different from the first half because of Houdini's change in interests, but that is what actually happened, so .
-The pace was fantastic. It never became not interesting to me. I binged-watched it because I could not turn it off.
-The acting is very good. Adrian Brody does a very convincing job and the supporting cast did great.
-The characters all feel very human and flawed, which is something I am glad they showed because of how inhuman Houdini appeared to everyone at the time. I also really liked seeing his rivalries with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Charlie Chaplin.
-The music did not fit very well. It had a very modern vibe to it, which aided the pace, but made the overall tone feel too . hip? Something like that.
-The editing was also pretty choppy. It matched the fast cuts in the music, which was played for suspense, but was not needed for it. It is prevalent that he lives through dangerous escapes, but his life was still on the line, so modern music and quick-cuts don't were overkill.
-The production design on the film was great. Everything from costumes to makeup was done very well. I also really liked seeing how tricks were done, and some of them are explained afterwards, making you guess first. I am also not going to complain about an anticlimactic ending, because that is how Harry Houdini went, very anticlimactically.
-Houdini had some flaws trying to add style and suspense, but despite its best efforts, it was very well done, well-acted, and compelling due to an engaging story and relentless pace. Houdini, being slightly shy of Amazingtastic, is definitely worth checking out! -Houdini is TV-14 for some mild language, intense scenes, some violence, and some brief sexual content, but no nudity.
McFarland, USA (2015)
Not just your average sports film!
-McFarland, USA (2015) movie review: -McFarland, USA is based on a true story about a football coach (played by Kevin Costner) who ends up having to move to the small town of McFarland, which is predominately Latino. While there, he sees the opportunity to create a cross-country running team.
-I am not always a big fan of inspirational sports movies, but I thought McFarland, USA was pretty great. Apparently if you follow the inspirational sports movie formula and add some small elements deviating from cliché, you get a really compelling film.
-The story is inspirational, partly because it is true, because of the themes it tackles, such as success and self-worth. It played with elements of race and family, but was not too pushy about race, nor too Lifetime about family.
-The film did feel longer than two hours, but I enjoyed the entire thing, so at least I was not bored.
-The acting is good. Kevin Costner plays the same character he always plays recently, but he has still been good. The supporting cast also did a great job! Carlos Pratts was probably the best in the film. I love it when unknowns impress me.
-The characters were all pretty deep characters and had a lot to offer. I really liked seeing them deal with different aspects like dealing with a dad who disappears and comes back or trying to be on a team while dealing with working in a field as a full time job that supports your family.
-The music varied from fun Hispanic music to an inspirational score that I enjoyed.
-The film has a lot of heart and is full of scenes that are either fun or emotional or tens or happy. None of it went beyond realism, and when it set things up to look like a cliché, it ended up beating the cliché in a realistic way.
-McFarland, USA was a by-the-numbers inspirational sports film that feels a tiny bit too long, but it is also full of really good performances, a lot of emotion and meaning to the film, and it was just really easy to get involved in the film. I will say McFarland, USA impressed me, and it is definitely worth seeing in theaters! -McFarland, USA is rated PG and has no language or anything, but does have some violence and a few racial slurs.
Montauk Chronicles (2015)
Nothing impressive, but still entertaining
-Montauk Chronicles (2015) movie review: -Montauk Chronicles is a documentary following a series of 'alien' events at the town of Montauk. Basically it is a UFO documentary.
-It was 'aight. I don't care much for documentaries like this, but I was at least entertained.
-The story was true, but definitely told in a biased way.
-The pace was surprisingly good.
-The people that were in it were interesting, but not that interesting. They were real, but also very biased. You can tell they had already formulated their opinion, so when the film opened with an opening stating it would tell an unbiased story, and then only interviewed the people that believe it, it kinda lied.
-The music was not great and sounded really synthetic, but that also fit an alien film.
-Basically if you can be entertained by documentaries where you don't buy into anything anybody ways, but are somewhat interested by it, Montauk Chronicles would be worth checking out on Netflix or anywhere else you can see it without paying for it.
Rage: Midsummer's Eve (2015)
Yet another cliché, generic horror film.
-Rage: Midsummer's Eve (2015) movie review: -I am going to make this quick. Rage: Midsummer's Eve is a generic horror film about a group of young adults who go to a creepy house and there's death and bad things and stuff.
-The story has been done to death, -The film took forever to start and didn't pick up that much until the last third.
-None of the acting is anything better than any other film like this.
-The characters were all horror stereotypes minus the black guy.
-I did not pay attention to the music because none of it stood out to me.
-Nothing else in this film is original or better than cliché in any way. Therefore, Rage: Midsummer's Eve is not worth seeing. Ever.
The Timber (2015)
The slowest film of the year so far.
-The Timber (2015) movie review: -The Timber is an indie flick that takes place in the North-west during the eighteen-hundreds. It follows two brothers who are sent to collect a dangerous bounty in exchange for keeping their family's home.
-This should have been, and could have been, really good. Unfortunately, it was not so.
-The story was unique, but the film had so much trouble focusing on the actual story instead of little side-stories all throughout.
-The pace was the worth thing about it, because it was excruciating. Nothing happens for most of the film. And when stuff actually happens, the editing is really bad, so yeah. It feels very unsatisfactory.
-The acting is fine. It stars James Ransone and Josh Peck, who I thought did a good job, but not a great job.
-The main characters are worth rooting for, but there is not much to anyone else in the film.
-I don't remember the music that much, but it was slow.
-There were some cool sequences in the film. Some good effects and a few gun fights I enjoyed.
-Even with a few cool moments and other elements that are not too bad, the pace of this movie just kills the entertainment factor. Unfortunately, The Timber is not really worth the time.
-It has some violence throughout, so probably R, but I do not remember much else in the film. I could be wrong, but I was not really paying attention too much. Because I was bored.
More serious than Sharknado is not a good thing for a bad film
-Zombeavers (2015) movie review: -Zombeavers is the latest in the genre of intentionally stupid horror films, this one following a group of young adults staying at a cabin who get attacks by a group of zombie beavers. Potential Oscar contender right there.
-At the end of the year, I am going to make two Top 10 Worst lists. One of the Top 10 Worst films of 2015 and one of the Top 10 Worst Horror films of 2015. If that gives you any indication of what this review is going to be like.
-The story is cliché and presented with every cliché in the book as painfully stupid as possible.
-The pace was fine once the film got moving, but it took one-third of the film to get moving! -The acting was not bad, except one guy, but nobody was that good.
-The characters were all shallow horror-clichés.
-I don't remember the music that much, but I do remember a song about Zombeavers at the end. It was classy. And pretty funny. Better than the Sharknado song.
-The effects were what made the film bad on purpose, because yeah. Puppets.
-The biggest problem with all of Zombeavers is that, unlike Sharknado, it was not trying to be stupid 100% of the time. It was stupid, but not funny stupid. Just stupid stupid. You'd imagine a film called Zombeavers would at least make an effort to make fun of the horror genre, but all it does is add to the other dumb films like it.
-Zombeavers was dumb. It had a tiny bit of entertainment value and a funny song during the credits, but that can't make up for a film that had mockery effects and cliché everything else. Yeah Zombeavers is not worth seeing. Ever.
-It also carries a stronger R rating with some language throughout, violence, some sexual content, and some nudity.
A flawed film, but better than the first?
-Insurgent (2015) movie review: -Insurgent is the sequel to Divergent and part of the Divergent series based off the Divergent books, which is the whole dystopian future young-adult genre I don't really need to describe. In Insurgent, we pick back up with Tris and Four as they are hiding out from the government who it trying to track down Divergents because they represent a threat to the government. I am not going to say too much about it actually, because if you have not read the books like me, you won't know the plot until you see the film. Thanks unhelpful trailers.
-I got a lot of disagreement when I said Divergent was worth watching on Netflix (or for free) only, so we will see how the review of its overall lesser sequel goes! -The story did not progress very much, but that is probably because I expected it to be different. It also added a lot of plot points that made the movie a little too convoluted.
-The pace was good. There are enough interesting things that happen to keep interest most of the time. However I am slightly worried they put too much into wrapping up this film. One thing that I was happy about was that all the dream sequence tests or whatever that made up all of the trailers did not take half the film. It had its amount of space, but it was not too much.
-Shailene Woodley did a good job. But she and Theo James were the only ones who tried to do a good job. I say that because the entire supporting cast looked like they just did not want to be there. Probably because they have all moved on to higher things. Jai Courtney has Terminator now, so he was still good, but not as dislikeable of interesting as the first. Miles Teller was great, but he and Kate Winslet, being the best two actors there, did not have to try very hard. Mainly because all the star of Whiplash had to do was be sassy and all the Oscar winner had to do was stand and be angry. Also I was really worried that Ansel Elgort was going to just fall asleep. In every scene.
-The characters were at least interesting. Other than the fact that there were too many characters I was supposed to care about, I enjoyed the character development this film added. And I love Miles Teller's character. Even though he is a dislikable character, he was always entertaining.
-The film's music was about the same as the first, which means I liked it, but it was forgettable.
-There were some effects that were not great. But there were also some good effects.
-The film also had some good action sequences, a few twists, and some moments like the ones that made the first one good. The writing itself, even though the dialogue was a bit cheesy, has some of those moments throughout that made it honestly not too bad. There are soooooooo many little flaws throughout the film though. A few that, if pointed out, can really change the entire film. However, this film also lacked the two things I didn't like about Divergent: Attempts to appeal to a young-adult female audience by using mirrors, and the plot from The Hunger Games.
-Insurgent has its flaws and plenty of them, but it also has some things that the first one did not and had the advantage of breaking away from the now cliché YA origin film. I will be honest, I found myself enjoying Insurgent. If it were not for Miles Teller, I would be like "Yeah, Netflix" but a few small elements of the film helped me to actually be entertained through much of the film. It is not THAT good, but I did feel like I got some of my money's worth, so I will say that Insurgent would be worth buying in a $5 bin! -Insurgent is rated PG-13 for some mild language that doesn't get worse than one S-word and some partial nudity/suggestive content.
Parkour: The Movie....
-Tracers (2015) movie review:
-Tracers is about a bike messenger who tries to escape his debt with the Chinese mob by joining a parkour group. Somehow that makes sense.
-It is pretty much a movie starring parkour. No, I did not like it.
-The story doesn't really line up and it only 'jumps' from plot-point to plot-point through convenience and nonsensical events.
-The film takes a while to get anything done, and then rushes a lot, and then takes forever, etc.
-None of the acting is any good really. It stars Team Jacob from Twilight, who was not bad, but had nothing worth noting. Pretty much everyone is bland and uninspired. The two leads, who are supposed to end up together and stuff, have no chemistry.
-The characters are inconsistent and do things that just do not add up. For example: The lead gets his bike hit and ruined by a car. He lies about it later, which doesn't make sense. Like why would you need to? The villains are also likable, making the lead who can't pay these guys look worse.
-The music was fine. Interesting, fitting, and defining of a modern instrumental soundtrack and album. Doesn't fit the movie's quality in any way, but they get points for trying.
-The film does have its moments and the people in it do know parkour pretty well. But parkour cannot be enough to hold a movie together. Mix that with rather cheesy dialogue and the movie is just not good.
-Another example of the writing: Guy ruins his bike, two scenes pass, goes to a meeting with the Chinese mob in different area with his bike, and throws out bike. Does that mean you took the broken bike around with you? For like a day? Walking? To your meeting with the Chinese mob?
-Tracers is a poor excuse to feature parkour in a film. Kinda like Divergent. But not as good. Tracers is not really worth the time.
-It has some suggestive content and a PG-13 amount of language.
The Culling (2015)
The most generic movie I have ever seen
-The Culling (2015) movie review -The Culling is yet another indie-horror flick that follows a group of students who get trapped at a creepy house and creepy stuff happens. As usual.
-In a word? Generic.
-The story is generic, cliché, and nothing was new or even presented in an original fashion.
-The film took forever to take off and never got that good.
-The acting is nothing special.
-The characters literally are just the horror clichés minus a black guy who dies first.
-The music was generic creepy music.
-The effects were B-grade effects and there was nothing in the effects, film quality, or anything else what was impressive. The Culling is a generic movie with a generic plot, generic characters, and generic genericness. It offers nothing new to the genera in any way, and nothing works because of it. The Culling is not worth seeing. ever.
-Easiest review ever.
The Seuma Life (2014)
If The Office were one big inside joke
-The SEUMA Life - Season 1 (2014-) series review: -The SEUMA Life is a short series created by myself and Luke Parrott, so I will try to be unbiased as possible. Anywho, it follows a crazy group of online college students just doing everyday life. It is also a mockumentary like The Office, which makes the commentary even more hilarious.
-In case you did not guess, it is about the Southeastern University Mid-Atlantic campus students at Crosswalk Community Church, which I am a part of! So naturally, I really enjoy this series.
-The series does not really follow one single story. In the first few episodes, the director Ben Rothwell is instituting a new safety policy. The last few episodes build up to an epic lightsaber battle. So I would have to say it feels original. #humblebrag.
-Some of the episodes are longer than others, and some of them feel longer, especially the ones where nothing happens.
-The acting is very accurate. I will say that everyone is more exaggerated than their usual selves, but they all do a crazy fun version of themselves and look like they had fun doing it.
-The exaggerated characters are also very funny and entertaining. The odd part is trying to tell just how exaggerated they are though, because nobody is unrealistic.
-There is no music except for a few songs in the series and the opening.
-Some of the editing is not great, and the single camera appeal is pulled off well, but it leads to a lot of unfocused shots in some cases. Silly cameraman.
-As far as the events go, nothing is over-the-top enough to be unreal, which makes everything that happens even more hilarious. Much of the series was also completely unscripted, so discerning between exaggerated and authentic is difficult, making everything pretty entertaining.
-So with only a few things not enjoyable, The SEUMA Life is like The Office, but without a script, and you probably know the cast, which makes it hilarious. I will say that if you don't know the cast, it will not be as funny because of how authentic some of the series is, but since my target audience knows the cast, The SEUMA Life is definitely worth checking out! And the entire series is free to watch on YouTube! -The SEUMA Life does not have a rating, but it has a few references that would make it a strong PG or light PG-13. No language or anything though.