Laying on her death bed, Paul McGuire (Nicholas Cage) promises his… MoreLaying on her death bed, Paul McGuire (Nicholas Cage) promises his wife, that he will leave his life of organized crime behind to be there for his daughter. That all changes when a decade later his daughter goes missing. The gloves come off and McGuire connects with his old crew and goes after old enemies to find his daughter. This was an entertaining film, but I think it would have been so much better if it were less violent. I love violent action films as much as the next guy, but the story here calls for a more investigative approach, but all McGuire wants to do is beat people for answers. Nicholas Cage stars and is one of those action stars that never goes out of style. He's been going after the bad guys and surviving impossible odds for nearly three decades, becoming very good at it. Despite being an independent film, Rage has a huge cast with many notable names that really help the story along. In fact, with all the named actors in the film, I'm really surprised that Rage wasn't released in theaters. While being entertaining, Rage isn't anything you haven't seen before, as it's your typical who done it, with all the gun fire and explosions you'd expect from an action movie. The cast is experienced and very good, while the plot does have a back story and moves at a reasonable pace. Rage is one of those film where you don't really have to think and ultimately it is somewhat forgettable, but if you're looking for something to watch without having to think too much, than Rage is a perfect choice and it is currently streaming on Netflix.
Has Nicholas Cage ever made a bad movie? Granted that some haven't… MoreHas Nicholas Cage ever made a bad movie? Granted that some haven't been as good as Trespass, but when you see Nicholas Cage's name, you know you're always going to be entertained. Teaming up with famed Director Joel Schumacher and the always intense Nicole Kidman, Cage stars in a type of film we've all seen before. Trespass has a common storyline, but it's done in an unexpected way, with an ending that will leave you speechless. Kyle Miller (Nicholas Cage) is a wealthy diamond merchant, who has finally built the mansion he's always wanted. It has also made him a target for a sophisticated team of thieves, who want their share. Surprised at home one night, the Miller family is held hostage. Positive that if he gives them what he wants his family is dead, Kyle refuses their demands, leading to an epic standoff. Nicholas Cage shows a different side in Trespass, as he's not the cunning hero that saves the day, but rather a family man, trying to protect his family. He's paired with Nicole Kidman, who while being a terrific actress, usually makes films I have no interest in seeing. An action thriller is also something out of the norm for her, but she handled it like a pro and her chemistry with Nicholas Cage was outstanding! Finally, the cast is rounded out by OC star and teen heartthrob Cam Gigandet. I've made it clear that I feel a lot of these "heartthrobs" only get jobs because of their looks, and if that's the rule, Gigandet is the exception. Playing both sides in the conflict, the young star does an outstanding job. Gigandet's character is easily the most complex, having to play the good and the bad guy. It's his role and the twist associated with it that makes the whole film rise above similar films like Panic Room. On the surface Trespass is just another copycat, but the story turns out to be far more complex than a home invasion. A unique cast of characters with terrific chemistry, combined with one of my favorite Directors, make for what can only be called a must see movie!
Jet Boy is a unique coming of age story, that turns out to be nothing… MoreJet Boy is a unique coming of age story, that turns out to be nothing like the description on the back of the box. Many people are going to find it somewhat disturbing, however, unlike similar coming of age stories, Jet Boy does ultimately have a point and it's something most people need to learn. 12 year old Nathan (Branden Nardon) lives in poverty with his mother and all he knows is sex, drugs, and violence, so it's no surprise that at the ripe old age of 12, Nathan is a male prostitute. Things change for him when he meets a man who wants something other than sex. The man wants Nathan to help him with a job, and shows the boy kindness for the first time in his life. Nathan thinks he's fallen in love with this man and makes advances, only to be rejected. From his experiences, Nathan will ultimately come to learn that sex and love are two very different things and that kindness, doesn't always mean what he thought it meant. This film was Branden Nardon's acting debut and what a job he did. Part of me questions how someone with no experience can put on a performance like that, while the other part wants to know what kind of parents allow their kids to do something like this. Nardon doesn't just show off his talent with this performance, but he also shows a fearlessness that could come from upbringing or immaturity. Jet Boy is thankfully no where near as graphic as a film as Mysterious Skin, but it still has a few scenes that aren't easy to watch. This film is strange and someone disturbing, but by comparison it does have a message, that similar films don't. The writer is telling audiences to be weary of people who are overly kind, but in the end it doesn't mean that they're looking for something. In it's own bizarre way, it's also saying that sex is sex, and sometimes it's about anything other than love. An impossible lesson to have to learn at such a young age, but that is the true meaning of the film. Nathan learns something at a very young age, that we should have all learned in our adolescents and he ultimately becomes a better person for it. Jet Boy isn't an easy film to watch and many people are going to be turned off by the sheer age of the actor involved, but I like how everything turned out in the end. I was also introduced to a terrific young talent, and I appreciated the fact that the film got it's message across without being overly explicit. Sometimes we need to leave our comfort zones to experience something different and get a message that we general don't think a whole lot about, and for that I do recommend this film.
Horror movies like this one really drive me crazy, because it sounds… MoreHorror movies like this one really drive me crazy, because it sounds good, the previews are great, and when you sit down to watch it you find that the characters are so unbelievably stupid, that the film has no credibility what-so-ever. What happens when eight friends at a party get tired of drinking? Just like anyone else, they wind up going into a store room and using a Ouija board to contact the dead. In their ignorance, they forget to close the portal to the other side, and a demon escapes intent on hunting them all down. Las Vegas's Marsha Thomason stars and pretends to be some kind of spiritual expert, when in reality she doesn't know shit. She is this whiny, annoying, know-it-all who I couldn't wait to see get her head chopped off. The rest of the cast isn't much better, as most of them just blindly follow her lead. To avoid this demon's rage, what do they all decide to do? Stick together in an old house, a good idea, but of course they can't stay together in a room forever, and that's when the demon starts picking them off one by one, in textbook slasher fashion. When you have a ridiculous story, combined with no background information, and a cast of characters that makes the cast of Duck Dynasty seem smart, what you get is a film that is beyond terrible. If there was some humor or even a break from the main story, maybe parts of Long Time Dead wouldn't have been so bad, but this film is pure garbage from the drunken night out to the bloody end.
The Heat is Paul Feig's follow him to his smash hit comedy,… MoreThe Heat is Paul Feig's follow him to his smash hit comedy, Bridesmaids. The trailers for this film made it look absolutely hysterical, a completely can't miss comedy, but it's extreme raunchiness turns out to be it's worst enemy. When an ambitious FBI agent (Sandra Bullock) is sent to Boston to catch a monster, she sees it as an open and shut case. What she didn't expect was to run into a local detective who is anything but conventional. The background story and case the pair are working on is really terrific and very well written, with just the right amount of comedy, this really could have been the female version of Lethal Weapon. Instead, the Heat goes so far over the top, that by the end it just isn't that funny anymore. Sandra Bullock is terrific, despite playing her usual whiny loner character. When she finally has had enough of McCarthy and snaps, it really is the best part of the whole film. Mellisa McCarthy is the problem here, as she too is playing her usual character, but to a real extreme. I find her to be very funny, but in this film, nothing is serious and every other word out of her mouth is an F bomb. Every time the story really starts to take off and become interesting, she shows up to screw everything up. Don't get me wrong here, this film is much better than some of the other comedies to come out lately, but as it's destine for a sequel, my hope is that they will tune it down a bit. The right line at the right time can really make a film like this and some scenes are hilarious, but the truth is, when the jokes are non-stop and the action is few and far between, it really hurts the film. Lethal Weapon would be the perfect template for a team like this and with the right jokes at the right time, they could find even more success than Glover and Gibson did.
Boss of Bosses told us the story of Paul Castalano, Gotti profiled the… MoreBoss of Bosses told us the story of Paul Castalano, Gotti profiled the Dapper Don, and finally Witness To The Mob is the story of mob enforcer, Sammy "The Bull" Gravano. Unlike the other two films, for some inexplicable reason, Witness To The Mob was made for network television. While the film turned out to be very accurate, it was also twice as long as the other two and lacked the typical violence associated with a mafia movie. Sammy Gravano was John Gotti's second in charge, an enforcer, who eventually turned states evidence and testified against the Mob. He was an interesting guy, but should his bio film really be longer and more in depth than that of John Gotti's? NYPD Blue's Nicholas Turturro stars and while his performance didn't blow me away, he wasn't nearly as bad as I thought he would be. The story is further given credibility by it's supporting cast, which is the same people you've seen in every mafia movie since the late 80s. There were actually seven members of the Sopranos cast, who had some type of part in this film. It's not surprising, as some guys just have the right look and do mafia type films almost exclusively. Witness To The Mob is very accurate and has the typical large cast associated with these films, but being over three hours long and made for TV, really hurts a film like this. You can make the case that the language and violence aren't really necessary to the story, but I really felt like it took a lot of credibility away from the film. How believable is a gangster that constantly says "freaking?" It was interesting to see things from The Bull's point of view, but the producers of this film really should have held out for a cable or direct to video deal, in order to make this type of film what it should be, raw and emotional.
There are thirty-two Horrorfest films, AKA 8 films To Die For. As… MoreThere are thirty-two Horrorfest films, AKA 8 films To Die For. As someone who has seen roughly a dozen of them, I can tell you that they have all been really good or just awful. There is no in-between with this series, and unfortunately Wicked Little Things falls on the awful side. I had high hopes for this film, as it has a great back story and features Kick-Ass's Chole Moretz in her debut role, but the film moves far too slowly and plays too much like an R.L. Stein book. Following the death of her husband, a woman moves her two daughters to an old house in the middle of nowheresberg, Pennsylvania. The house they move into used to belong to an evil millionaire, who owned the local mine, and used child laborers, many of whom died in accidents. The souls of those kids aren't at rest and they don't like having a new family in their house, so they lure anyone within range, into dangerous situations. I was surprised that the acting in this film was actually pretty good and that some of the scenes in the woods are pretty edge of your seat, but the problem here is that nothing really happens. If it wasn't for the older daughters over use of the F bomb, this film really could have been rated PG. I love the back story and the acting wasn't nearly as bad as I expected, but do you really want to watch a "Horror" movie that moves at a snails pace and really doesn't show much? I don't!
After watching this film, I'm still not sure if the title, Tormented,… MoreAfter watching this film, I'm still not sure if the title, Tormented, refers to the students of the featured High School, or the audience that had to sit through this film. Tormented is one of these films that has a deeper meaning, but it takes it's message to such extremes, that it becomes completely obsolete. Tormented is actually an anti-bullying film, that features an obese teenager, that has committed suicide after years of abuse. Instead of focusing on the ones left behind, the story instead focuses on the popular kids, who continue to "torment" the kid after he's gone, that is until his ghost shows up looking for revenge. The story isn't the worst idea I've ever heard of, but the film was so fake and over the top that it just ruined all it's credibility. Tormented features a fully functional ghost, with emotions, who gruesomely kills people. The special effects that show him as a ghost and the ridiculous amounts of kool-aid blood, were just some of the worst I've ever seen. Magic Mike's Alex Pettyfer stars as the bully and much like the rest of the cast, is far too old to be playing a high school student. Films like this are low budget, and I understand they need a person of name in order to be recognized, but I've always felt that they should cast real teenagers, and give them a chance at breaking into the business, rather than have the roles played by actors that are pushing thirty! Tormented is exactly how you'll feel as this film plays to the lowest common denominator, assuming that only ignorant people are going to watch it. They'll do things like call the victim, Shrek and show goth kids who think it's cool that he killed himself. Tormented is not funny, scary, or anything but a complete waste of time.
People often ask how I find and pick the really independent films I… MorePeople often ask how I find and pick the really independent films I sometimes review. In the case of Babysitter Wanted, it was an easy choice, as nothing is scarier to me that an evil child. Strangely enough the film also features several cast members from a TV show I really liked, Kyle XY. The story begins with the deeply religious, Angie (Sarah Thompson), going away to college. Looking for some extra money, she picks up a job babysitting for a family living in the middle of nowhere. Everything seems normal at first, until one night someone tries to break in, and to everyone's surprise, the beautiful young girl is not the target of his rage. This film was very unusual for a religious based horror film, as it wasn't over the top with religious jargon. It was a major theme of the film, but they don't beat you over the head with it the way other films do. It's also unlike your usual slasher films as it has a good cast, a decent and somewhat unique story, and most important of all, it doesn't move at lightning speed. Almost every slasher film I've ever seen has 15 minutes of story and then it's one big chase, but that doesn't happen here. They spend a lot of time on the story and when things do happen, they are pretty surprising. Sarah Thompson stars as the babysitter, while being your typical beautiful horror movie girl, she was also very credible and connected with the audience. Watching this film, you feel like you know her or someone like her, and you'll be cheering for her in a way you really don't do in films like this. She's paired with Kyle XY himself, Matt Dallas, another really good looking, likeable person, that audiences will also relate to. Once you see the whole picture, it's going to seem a bit odd to you, but the Directors and Casting people really hit the nail on the head, making this seem like anything but a slasher film until the time was just right, making for a really enjoyable and unique type of film.
Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest ones, that come to you while… MoreSometimes the best ideas are the simplest ones, that come to you while having a drink with friends at a bar. Unlike this groups other films, the story and plot aren't the focus here. This Is The End features a ton of Hollywood's top comedic stars, playing extremely stereotypical version of themselves. Their characters are based on rumors, gossip, and over exaggerations of their true persona's, resulting in a hilarious film, that not only delighted their fans, but also gave a huge middle finger to the paparazzi. The film starts with Jay Baruchel visiting Seth Rogen in L.A. Baruchel, a notorious introvert, wants to stay in, but Rogen wants to go to James Franco's housewarming party. Reluctantly the pair agree to go to the big time Hollywood shindig, when the fun is interrupted by the apocolypse, and I don't mean a zombie one, the actual end of the world. The pampered actors find themselves in a fight for survival in the home of James Franco. The whole cast was hilarious and while watching it you realize that the characters they develop really aren't that dissimilar from who they really are. Jay Baruchel surprised me, as I knew very little about him, besides his awkward performance in She's Out of League. I haven't really seen him as more than a ancillary character, and it was really fun to see him fit in with the gang. Rogen, Hill, Franco, and Robinson don't disappoint, giving you exactly what you'd expect from them, and unfortunately so does Danny McBride. I really don't get the appeal of this guy! He is way over the top, super annoying, and just a big dumb redneck, that just doesn't seem to fit in with the likes of these comedic geniuses. If I had the choice I'd much rather have had Michael Cera or Paul Rudd trapped with them instead of McBride, who didn't get more than an annoyed grunt out of me. This Is The End is a very funny film, wrapped in an awful story, but it gives great insight into the personalities of some of our favorite actors and that really is the whole point of this film. It's just one of those things that either you'll get it and love it, or you won't.