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.
Argo is the Academy Award Winner for Best Picture of 2012, and while… MoreArgo is the Academy Award Winner for Best Picture of 2012, and while it was an amazing film, the actual story was far less interesting. In 1980, the tensions between Iran and The United States began, and the U.S. embassy in Tehran was overrun. Hundreds were held hostage for over a year, but six did manage to escape and went into hiding. Knowing that their lives were even more in danger than those of the hostages, the C.I.A. developed a unique plan to get them out of Iran. They sent in one of their top agents, with credentials claiming that he was part of a Canadian film crew. Armed with fake documents, he would smuggled the six out of the country. The film was intense and featured one close call after another, but in reality, getting them out was almost too easy. They were never stopped or questioned, and slipped out under the cover of early morning, without a hitch, but what kind of a movie would that be? Once these classified files were released by the U.S. Government, Hollywood saw the chance to tell this story in an extreme manor, and did so much to the delight of audiences and much to the chagrin of the other countries involved. Ben Affleck both stars and directs this film, and while everyone raves about his performance, I thought it was typically cold and flat. Ben Affleck wasn't interesting, the character he played was. Affleck wasn't any more likeable or skillful here than he was in any other role and that's why he didn't win best actor. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the man is a fantastic Director, but a very mediocre actor. That being said, the extreme locations and huge cast, were his biggest challenge to date as a Director, and I was very impressed by the way he managed to pull it off. Argo is based on a true story, it's fast paced, and even though we all know what happened before seeing the film, it's still an edge of your seat thriller that really shouldn't be missed.
In arguably one of his best roles, the late Robin Williams portrays… MoreIn arguably one of his best roles, the late Robin Williams portrays Patch Adams, a man who decided to make his life about helping others. Adams believes that patients need to be treated not just for their physical ailments, but also for their emotional well being. He also believes that like freedom of speech, healthcare is an inalienable human right that should be provided to everyone. This is a film that was written specifically for and with the help of Robin Williams. While Adams himself admitted that much of it was inaccurate, the film fulfills it's message, by using an extreme mix of emotion and humor. While watching this film you'll go between tears of laughter and tears of sadness, in a film that will really hit home with a lot of people. This is what Robin Williams was known for, he told his stories and got his messages out, while at the same time entertaining and inspiring people to be the best that they could be. If any other actor had played Patch, it probably would have been a slow moving drama, that just made everyone sad, but Williams made the story one that made you think and it sticks with you. As it recent weeks it has come to light that Williams himself was sick, and this may be the reason he took his own life, I can't help but wonder if on that night, had he watched this film, would the outcome have been different?
What I love about the Jesse Stone novels is that you never know what… MoreWhat I love about the Jesse Stone novels is that you never know what you're going to get. Of course you know the characters, but some are intense and emotional, while others focus more on the mystery and small town politics. Sea Change was an interesting choice for the fourth film, as it shows a different side of Jesse and was somewhat unique among the other stories. Jesse Stone (Tom Selleck), was an L.A. Homicide Detective, who left to become a small town police chief in Massachusetts, after his life was thrown into chaos. Now that he's been there a while, he's come to realize that not a lot of things happen in a small town, and he's tired of writing parking tickets. Craving something to do, Stone decides to open the towns only unsolved murder. A body found in the woods, 20 years earlier. As he opens the investigation, it brings up the past, a past that the town of Paradise would like to forget. Sea Change plays more like a Cold Case or Criminal Minds episode than a typical Jesse Stone story, but what's unique about it, is that it really gives us a look inside Jesse's life. Tom Selleck was terrific as always, but he gives a particularly special performance in Sea Change. We finally see the man for what he is, driven by justice and living for the people. His job is his life and when there is nothing to do, he falls back into and becomes stuck in his past. Sea Change is also special as it was the novel that introduces us to the character of Rose Gammon, played by Kathy Baker. I haven't seen her in anything since Picket Fences and God did I love that show! It was really thrilling for me to see her again, and playing a character I really came to admire in the novels. Sea Change might not have the action that younger viewers crave in their police dramas, but it is a textbook example of how to solve a case and a unique look into the mind of one of the deepest characters I know. I loved the books and rarely do these types of stories translate well to film, but with a star like Tom Selleck you can't go wrong and I really did enjoy this film as much as I did the novel.