The Strangers: Prey at Night

The Strangers was a really popular horror film a decade ago when it came out and I of course never watched it. Okay, I did see it last week, just to prepare for this sequel, to see why people were excited. There is a lot to like for those who want more realism in their films about people getting killed.

It was terrifying because it was set up as a completely random occurrence, it was something that could ¨happen to anyone¨ and not just people who drank or smoked or whatever. The bad people don´t have some strange backstories, hell, we never get to see their faces. They just torture, kill, and leave.

I watched that movie just to have some context for The Strangers: Prey at Night, and boy howdy, I am surely glad I did that. If I did not see the original, I would have never known just how badly this so called sequel actually was.

The lady in the back will help her fit through those holes.

This film centers us on a family going through turmoil. No, not people with knives, just teenage disobedience. We got a mom (Christina Hendricks), a dad (Martin Henderson), an older brother (Lewis Pullman), and our hero I guess, Kinsey (Bailee Madison).

Kinsey is a bit of a fuck up. Besides the underage drinking and smoking, she got into some serious problems over the last year and now her parents cannot deal with her anymore. She is going to boarding school, and they are all going to drive her down there. It is the last shot they have to fix her. They are staying the night in a trailer at one of their relative´s resorts, their last night as a family.

Oh, and then they find out that everyone is gone or dead there. And the three masked people are around, trying to spook them, or even kill them, or worse, sell them on the black market. Probably not the former. They just want to kill them for the lols.

Starring Damian Maffei, Lea Enslin, and Emma Bellomy as our masked killers.

Fear is imagining the hardworking Hendricks as a boring stay at home mother.

Everything good and wonderful about the first film was thrown out of the window for this follow up.

There was one or so surprises in the sequel. I will give it that. Things that I didn´t think would ever happen did happen, so it gave some nice shock. But that was the only positive.

Instead of regular people getting tortured by seemingly regular people, we instead have a whole family being terrorized by superhuman monsters. They are seemingly invulnerable at times, including one of them near the end that just never stops. Suddenly the guy with the bag head is Jason I guess.

Not to mention their ability to teleport around this trailer park area. It is crazy how they always happen to know which house they are hiding in. They always have someone nearby ready to go, even if they were just at some other place. I am having a hard time typing it, but coincidence central could be this movie. The movie was better when it was a single house because it all made sense then. But a giant resort village? Yeah right.

This film feels like it was not meant to be a sequel to The Strangers, but they changed their mind and said fuck it for some of that sweet brand recognition. Everything that made the first film work was just ignored and left to rot.

1 out of 4.

Fist Fight

Fist Fight is an interesting term, because well, most people when they think of the word “fight” they assume fists were already involved. Fists are the default in a fight. That is why we have to specify other types of fights, like gun fights, sword fights, or cat fights. So fist fight doesn’t even need to exist as a term, a little bit of an unnecessary word play here.

Although, at the same time, would you watch a movie called just Fight? Would you assume a movie called Fight is actually a comedy film? No way a film just called Fight could work. After all, we already had the movie Fighting and it didn’t work either.

Either way, in this movie we get two main things. We get Charlie Day getting some leading man role time, which just…never happens. And we have Ice Cube, trying to get rid of the family friendly nature that has come upon him and turn himself more into a badass again.

Oh shit, did Cube turn his fist into a gun? What kind of fight is this again? Man, what a badass.

Mr. Campbell (Day) is an English teacher at a school in Los Angeles and the students are pretty damn wild. He teaches seniors, it is the last day, and no fucks are given. The kids rarely respect their teachers in this school, especially not today. The only teacher they sort of respect is Mr. Strickland (Cube), but because they are afraid of him. But even today some kids want to mess with him.

While Campbell is in his classroom to fix an issue, Strickland ends up threatening a student with an Ax, destroying his desk, due to his prank. That is a big deal, even at this school. Turns out the school is also looking to take cuts out of every department due to low scores. Campbell has a wife and kid (JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Alexa Nisenson), and the wife is pregnant with number two. Even if his job sucks, he cannot lose it right now. So when pressured by the principal (Dean Norris), Campbell caves and admits that Strickland did the deed. This angers Strickland. So Strickland says he is going to kick Campbell’s ass. He is going to challenge him to a fight after school that day, and they are going to throw down. He spreads the word. He is pissed at the world and he doesn’t care about his actions.

Now Campbell has to spend the rest of his day worried. He was already panicking over his wife close to birth, and the possibility of losing his job. Now he also might get his ass kicked? I guess he has to try and fix all these issues during the course of a school day, or else he might die of a heart attack before it is through.

Also starring Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell, Christina Hendricks, Kumail Nanjiani, and Dennis Haysbert.

Shit. Now there is a bat involved. Just what kind of fight is this!?

Fist Fight is one of those films that doesn’t make sense to have been made in this day and age. It is just so slapstick in a bad way, negative, and bland it is a wonder it got made. Well, it is obvious how it got made. It would have been cheap as fuck to make, outside of actor salaries. Probably didn’t even take many days to shoot.

A quick no risk comedy film, that can earn its money back at least through the DVD sales.

The whole time I am wondering “Well, will this film end in a fight?” Because if it just ends in a fight, then it just feels childish. I hate that with animated or kids films, and there really isn’t a reason for this film not really in the action genre. But on the other hand, what if there is no fist fight? Then this movie is titled poorly and it would anger people.

So there has to be a fight, but a movie psyched up over a fictional brawl in a parking lot? Hard pass. It isn’t funny, it isn’t original, and it isn’t worthy of your time.

0 out of 4.

Dark Places

When I was a very young kid, I was in a dark place. But then it was my birthday and since then my life has been nothing but light! I might take this joke out before I publish this review.

A few things intrigued me about Dark Places. One, the pretty heavy cast. A lot of people I like to see pretending to be other people in movies and television are in this movie!

And two, it is based on the book written by Gillian Flynn. No, I have never read any of her books before, but I have seen Gone Girl, which was based on her book. Gone Girl was CRAZY good too. If you missed the movie, you need to time travel back to 2014 and hit that thing up right now. Or find it through regular mortal beings.

If the author has the same awesome level of mystery and great dialogue, this film can be just as great. Even without Affleck.

Jeez, even more people who don’t know what to do with their hands.

Little Libby Day (Sterling Jerins) was the only surviving member of a massacre at her home. He mother (Christina Hendricks) and two older sisters were killed through various means. Her brother, Ben (Tye Sheridan) was accused of murdering his family and part of the reason for his sentencing is that Libby testified saying she saw her brother do it. But that was a lie. Libby Day began to live through the government and was given a nice fund by generous donations to help her live in the future.

Well, the future is now, and adult Libby (Charlize Theron) is practically out of money. She can’t jut ask for more, because no one cares about her. She is old news, and there are girls everyday surviving tragedies who actually need help. Libby has been extremely apathetic about everything in life so she has never gained any skills or actually gotten a job in her life.

But she has a letter from a fan, Lyle Wirth (Nicholas Hoult) who wants her to come down to tell her story and get paid. She tends to avoid these sorts of things because she doesn’t like to revisit her past. It is kind of a…dark…place…for her. Turns out Lyle is a member of a group called The Kill Club. They are a bit obsessed with murder stories and like to examine the evidence, clues, whatever to determine if the real murderer was caught. And some of them are creepy reinactors, but we don’t talk to them.

Desperate for cash, Libby agrees to go along with their questions and help talk to people for their investigation. They believe Ben (Corey Stoll) to be innocent despite him never choosing to appeal the details of the case! But that can’t be. Mysteries and shit.

Also featuring Andrea Roth, Chloe Grace Moretz, Denise Williamson, Jeff Chase, and Sean Bridgers.

Hendricks in something set in the past? New territory for her!

Have you ever been to a sweet restaurant and have the best time, only to return a second time where they burn your food and don’t even care enough to fix it? That is what watching Dark Places felt like. It is possibly unfair to compare this so much to Gone Girl, but the same person wrote both books that the films were based off of. Here are some notable differences though. Gone Girl was directed by David Fincher who is a fantastic director, while Dark Places was directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner who is not well known. He did the movie Sarah’s Key, which I thought was okay. The screenplay for Gone Girl was also actually written by Gillian Flynn, while the screenplay for Dark Places was written by…Gilles Paquet-Brenner, again.

So hey, maybe the reason this movie was so damn boring was the director/writer himself. But for all I know, the source material was also shit and Gone Girl is her own good book. Hard to say, but the talent behind the camera in this movie was not as great as Gone Girl.

But yeah, boring. Dark Places successfully created an overall dark atmosphere for the whole film, both in the past and present. But it never felt like it used these settings appropriately. It felt long and drawn out. The actual mystery was not only a let down, but kind of shit as well. It didn’t make a lot of sense and there wasn’t a real ability to figure it out from clues before the end, which is usually a nice feature for a mystery.

The let down the viewer will receive once all of the truth comes out it a complete bummer. More so in that it means the other 90% of the film you sat through with only the occasional interesting scene was also a bit of a waste. Dark Places put me in a dark place and made me not even want to write this review.

1 out of 4.


There is a good chance I would never have heard about the film Detachment, unless it wasn’t suggested to me by a reader. Well, I might have seen it on my own if I was stalking Christina Hendrick‘s imdb page and watching whatever she was in. But I doubt that would have happened either.

So hooray for people telling me about movies. You know, unless they suck. And all I was told about this movie was that it was a bit “sad”. Alright, I can handle sadness.

young girl
Oh, also potential sexy time with a clearly underage girl.

Substitute teaching. For people not good enough to be teachers? Or is it for people who are afraid of getting close to others, and want to move around a lot. Based on the title, you can probably guess about Henry Barthes (Adrien Brody). He is put into a shitty school in NYC that is losing money for bad test grades every year, and teachers who have stopped caring. One teacher goes on and quits, so Henry is brought in to sub the English class for a month before a permanent teacher is found.

Lots of teachers here with their own problems. The Principal (Marcia Gay Harden) pretty much knows she is done at the end of the year, the guidance counselor (Lucy Liu) is tired of kids not caring about their futures and throwing their lives away, one teacher has given up and feels invisible (Tim Blake Nelson). But there are some teachers that still manage to carry on, such as Mr. Seaboldt (James Caan) who uses his own form of comedy to get through and enjoy the day. Ms. Madison (Hendricks) seems like a competent teacher who believes, but might be a bit too rule nit picky.

Sorry for that awkward paragraph explaining most of the minor characters. Had to fit them in!

But also because I don’t want to give too much away. Over the three weeks, he changes the lives of a few students, including Meredith (Betty Kaye) who gets picked on for weight and from a rough home. He also befriends Erika (Sami Gayle), who isn’t a student, but a very young prostitute living on the street, who he lets into his home to help get her back on her feet. Definitely not sketch.

But that is all you get, damn it!

I was also told she was a twat in this movie.

So is this movie sad? No. It’s fucking depressing. I was shocked at how early on I was captivated by the film, wondering where it was going and what would happen to all the characters. About a half hour into it, I accidentally saw how much time was passed and assumed I had been watching the movie for at least an hour. I mean that in the best way since it could be taken bad.

Although I kind of saw what was going to happen with the ending before it did, it still left me with questions about the future of some members. I guess it ended on a little bit of a good note, but barely given the inevitableness of the plot.

This movie made it hard for me to look away and affected my emotions so well, it is either the result of great acting / directing, or just manipulative music. I am willing to bet the former. Definitely a great addition to a drama collection.

4 out of 4.


From everything I heard about Drive, what I heard the most was how good the “cinematography” was. Camera choices were brilliant, chase and driving scenes sexy, and all of that. Well damn, I thought to myself, I have to see this on Blu-Ray then! Well unfortunately this is a DVD review. I know, I know, lame sauce.

Drive Drive Drice
Don’t worry. My website is still in HD quality.

Ryan Gosling plays the Driver! I like writing that because that is his cast name. So mysterious eh? Gosling works as a mechanic, and a stunt driver for movies, but also as a get away driver for criminals. He tells them the same thing every time, that he will wait for five minutes, and then get them to safety, then never talk again. He also works for Bryan Cranston for the mechanic/stunt work (not sure on the Criminal parts. Maybe). But they are looking to expand, possibly into real racing because man, Gosling is a Driver.

Cranston gets a 300k loan from some shady Albert Brooks fella to invest in a stock car to get them the monies. Also going on is that the Driver has a neighbor, Carey Mulligan, who he assumes is a single mom. TURNS OUT NO. Her husband / ex husband is still there, Oscar Isaac (named Standard wtf?). Turns out he is just gonna die possibly, and since Driver might like the neighbor, doesn’t want to see them all sad over that.

Driver agrees to help him get away from another crime that will pay off all of his debts, for Ron Perlman. Simple enough. And hey, Christina Hendricks is there too. What could go wrong?

“Fear/panic” face. Ignore stuff in the background. (cough).

Things go wrong, people die, can he save himself and the ones he might now care for?

It was a very interesting story, that really let the use of silence carry the story forward at points. Long scenes, that were yes, well shot were a great bonus. A little excessive violence never really hurt anyone either. I also loved the soundtrack. Full of weird electro synth pop stuff mostly.

I can also see why this movie could be polarizing. I think the ending was lacking, they could have done something more there. That is a common complaint you will hear. Other people may call it boring or not action-y enough. But eh, opinions are opinions. Mine is that this was pretty good but not top of the plateau.

3 out of 4.

I Don’t Know How She Does It

There is a very specific narrator voice, for trailers, that is very annoying. I want you to read the next part of the review in that voice.


Sarah Jessica Parker is a hard working mother! She has a job that requires her to spend a lot of her time, on a moments notice, going other places! Why? Presentations! The most adult-like job that exists in the movies! But she also has two children, and her husband, Greg Kinnear, is about to have a big project at well as work. But if she has to go to NYC to get seduced by Pierce Brosnan, how will she be able to manage her motherly duties and her career? Herp a derp, and also a derp a teedle dum.

This zany comedy also stars Christina Hendricks, Seth Meyers, Olivia Munn, and more of your favorite stars! So derp on over and watch and see as her friends raise up their hands and exclaim, “I Don’t Know HOW She Does It?!” Derp!

(Here is an extreme example.)

That is pretty much how I felt watching this movie. I don’t even care to see if it was based on a book or not, but man, was it not good. Skip, skip, skip to your loo right past this movie.

1 out of 4.

Life As We Know It

If you ever saw a preview of Life As We Know It, you probably assumed it was the “unofficial sequel” to Knocked Up. Even has the same main chick in Katherine Heigl. But instead of the story of the accidental pregnancy to birth, we instead get the first few years post birth. Done and done. I guess they realized that though too, and made the plot a lot different than the previews would have you believe.

Or Seth Rogen was probably too busy doing The Green Hornet, or something. So they had to change shit.

So what happens instead? Well, Heigl and Josh Duhamel are on a blind date with each other, both set up by their best friends (who happen to be dating). They don’t even leave the driveway, before they leave, hating each others guts. Wooo, matchmaking.

But in the opening credits, you find that unfortunately they have to spend a lot more time together. Especially because their friends, Hayes MacArthur and Christina Hendricks (of Mad Men), are now married and have a child! Damn it. Even a cool new suburban house. Now that they are godparents, and both single, they just can’t stop running into each other. But what is next might be spoilers? But it is necessary to explain the plot.

OH NO CAR CRASH. Dead parents. Baby was at home! Oh guess who were put in the will to take care of the baby and get the house? Yep. Our main two stars.

Now these two people, who don’t love each other, have to raise a kid together, in the same house, in order to help honor their friends spirits. Also, Josh Lucas is lurking his pediatrician head into the mix, to try and get some of that Heigl too.

as we know it
Hilarious baby hijinks time!

The movie deals with their relationship over time, until of course, they realize they like each other. But that is probably more the living together/dead friends/baby thing, than actual love. But who am I to judge? What makes this movie work is the great chemistry between Duhamel and Heigl, they are pretty great in this movie. What doesn’t let it work is everything else. The plot? It is okay. Everything that occurs is predictable. The cast of neighbor characters, although plentiful, don’t seem to add much for me. Nor does any of the drama associated with either of their jobs and future goals.

At its heart, it is more romcom than comedy, and technically all that really should matter is the chemistry between the stars. If that is all you need, then go ahead and love it. But I was hoping for a bit more to it. Despite the long time that passes in the movie, I am left feeling not enough happened.

1 out of 4.