Death Wish

I don’t know a lot about Death Wish. I didn’t see the original, and the story doesn’t sound interesting. The plot of the film is the type that just promises to be a gory kill fest.

But I have seen a decent amount of Eli Roth‘s work, the director of this remake. He is all over the place when it comes to horror, and I will say that I think The Green Inferno is entirely too messed up. I had to pause it several times because of how graphic it was, so I entirely expected this to be just as graphic.

And their choice to put Lord Voldemort as a bad guy makes sense as well.

Car
Tom Riddle could use a finger gun.

Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) is a relatively successful surgeon in Chicago. He has to surgery a lot of different people, and a lot of them are shot up. Apparently Chicago has a lot of gun violence, who knew! He has a wife (Elisabeth Shue) and a daughter, (Camilla Morrone), about to go to college at the end of her senior year. In NYC. Ugh.

Unfortunately, there is something foul afoot in Chicago. A string of burglaries in their neighborhood that wasn’t super announced. They find out that the family is supposed to be out one night celebrating a birthday, but an emergency at the hospital cancels their plans. Now the burglars end up going into a home that isn’t actually going to be empty, leading to some issues. More gun shots, more pain, more death.

Obvious bad things happen, putting Paul into a spin. He begins to question everything. He wants to clean up the streets, since he feels that the cops cannot find the criminals until something lucky, maybe happens. So he gets a gun, and he decides to do a little bit of vigilante justice instead.

Also starring Vincent D’Onofrio, Dean Norris, Kimberly Elise, Beau Knapp, and Jack Kesy.

Hoodie
See, if it was a black man in a hoodie, he couldn’t even pretend to be a vigilante without getting shot.

On the surface level, Death Wish is probably a very average, regular, action movie. At no point is it a great action movie, a well thought out action movie, or even an exciting action movie. Just an average one. And normally average regular films get a 2 out of 4.

But you know what, some things really irked me. One, it never really got to a level of violence you would expect from Roth. It was probably tamer than the original in some regards, which is a shock since this one is at least rated R.

Willis as a surgeon never felt believable. His quiet reserved dad look never felt believable. Nor did his awkward transition to a vigilante. This was not a great role for Willis at all, if we wanted it to seem possible. No one really stood out as great acting in the film.

After the “auto mechanic scene”, the movie also went down hill from an entertainment point of view. It felt awkward, forced, and just not good.

And maybe a part of this is just based on the current political climate, one that definitely does not want or need people with guns running around. The movie was incessant about having radio talk show hosts talk about the vigilante (who listens to that much radio?) way too much in the movie. And every time they talked, the same things were said. That was their way of seeming cool and modern I guess, like when characters use emojis.

I guess that after we arm the school teachers, it just makes sense that we start arming the doctors too. The people who should be saving lives needing to take them. Shrug. Bleh. Pass.

1 out of 4.

Battle of the Sexes

The phrase “battle of the sexes” always feels cringey nowadays, and it has for years. There was a board game with that name recently, and it is just one that is based on poor stereotypes and no one should really ever want to play. And yeah, that is the point of the phrase. To talk about the differences between the most common genders and fuel masculine and feminine behaviors.

But the movie Battle of the Sexes is beyond all of that. First of all, the title is given due to the real event that announcers decided to call it at the time. So they are just highlighting history here, not their fault.

And second, it is a sports film that is also about gender equality and sameness, not stereotypical differences. This is the clincher here, this is why I want to see the movie.

Battle
Maybe the actors involved was another important factor, but don’t tell them. They have big egos.

In the early 1970’s, Billy Jean King (Emma Stone) was on top of the female tennis players world. She was the first female player to ever each $100,000 in a year from prizes, and people really made a big deal about it. Things were on the up and up for the women’s movement too! Except when it came time to sign a new contract with her fellow ladies for the main American tournament. The prize support for the women’s players was significantly lower than the men players, despite sharing the same arenas, drawing the same crowds and all of that. So they decided to just up and leave. They started the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), had Virginia Slim cigarettes as their sponsor, and now had funding to play for real money!

This pissed off a lot of people. But King and a lot of her fellow players were riding high. King also started a relationship with her hairdressed (Andrea Riseborough) while on tour with a husband (Austin Stowell) at home!

This story is also about Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell), an older retired tennis pro who used to be number 1. He is a bit of a dick and likes to parade around like a fool to earn money. And he is a gambler. At the lowest points of his life, he decides to challenge Margarat Court (Jessica McNamee) to a tennis match, really playing up the male chauvinist angle. It seems like he is around just to ruin the modern women’s rights movement! The prize amount gets even bigger when he is finally able to challenge King, and it becomes one of the biggest spectacles of the decade, where apparently the question would be settled by the end of who is greater, man or woman.

Also starring Sarah Silverman, Natalie Morales, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue, Eric Christian Olsen, Fred Armisen, Martha MacIsaac, and John C. McGinley.

Love
Courting in this film holds two different definitions.

Battle of the Sexes is one of those movie trailers you will see and you just know you will have a good time during the film. It is a period piece, so we get to see people we recognize fondly looking, from our current standards, ridiculous. Always a plus.

Stone and Carell have been in films together before, namely Crazy, Stupid, Love, where they played daughter and father, and now they get to play pseudo rivals! Because the reality of this situation is they are not, at all, in any way, real rivals. They would never play each other in a tournament, they both were not at their primes at the same time, they only played the one game together. But their lives are now forever entwined in history due to this moment, this festival, this, well, publicity stunt.

Because in all reality, it seems like it was just all about the money. King may have had other reasons for agreeing to the game (women’s rights in sports and all), but all the people pulling the strings from behind the scenes just wanted to get rich. The events of this film are almost unbelievable, this is a time when reality if it was written as a screenplay would be lauded as ridiculous. But hey, what’s the point of life if not to get really ridiculous every once in awhile?

I like that this story told much more than the game. A lot of the film is NOT tennis, but about tennis players. Finding out about King’s husband and other relationships felt realistic and sad. Riggs himself was in a sad state in his life and he wasn’t even a bad guy, he just played it up for publicity. And in all honesty, I didn’t know who won going into the movie, so I am glad I never looked it up. It is interesting that the game was held in Houston though, in the now defunct Astrodome.

That last sentence is meant to appeal to the locals.

3 out of 4

Behaving Badly

Behaving Badly is not a movie I was rushing out to see. Not really a movie I heard of ever, actually. But I grabbed it and a few others, purely as fillers when I needed something else for a week and wanted something random.

Literally, the only reason I grabbed these movies was to make sure my reviews weren’t just the well known new movies. I need those straight to DVD randoms. Especially if they have an interesting cast.

After all, those unheard of films that look terrible? If they end up good, that is the greatest feeling of all.

Normally
Yes, even greater than that.

Rick Stevens (Nat Wolff) is not your average teenager. His family is dysfunctional in many ways. His mother (Mary-Louise Parker) is on a lot of booze and pills. The dad (Cary Elwes) is never around, they hate each other, but he says he doesn’t want to divorce to lose money.

His sister (Ashley Rickards) is a stripper, getting money to go to college and his brother (Mitch Hewer) is very angry, stupid, and not coming out of the closet.

But they aren’t the cause of all of his problems. That is all because of Mrs. Bender (Elisabeth Shue), the mother of his best friend Billy (Lachlan Buchanan). For whatever reason, she likes Rick and sexual relationships happened. This changed his life greatly, leading to two weeks with some dead bodies, people in jail, mobsters, suicide attempts, and lots and lots of boobies. However, he just wants to impress a smart girl in his class Nina (Selena Gomez). Oh boy Rick, you done fucked up by fucking that lady.

It is also full of celebrity cameos. Gary Busey is a police chief, Heather Graham a lawyer, Patrick Warburton the principal, Jason Lee a priest, and Dylan McDermott as the strip club owner.

Courgary
Generic Creepy Teenage Male Fantasy: The Movie!

Behaving Badly was a weird movie. It was definitely not made amazingly well, that is for sure. It has an incredibly low budget feel, a lot of it is half-assed. It definitely isn’t great.

But I still almost gave it a 3 out of 4 on originality alone. This movie felt like it was created for an ADHD generation, and since the story is the main character retelling most of the events, you can say that is why everything seems so hectic. It is all from the teenage boy perspective.

There were just so many awkward moments, that I had to give it some props. I loved seeing all of the celebrities making quick quips. It actually lived up to the teen sex comedy genre, although also not being of fantastic quality.

I am at a point where this film in most cases would deserve that 1, and definitely not deserve a 3 or higher, but there was a charm to it that just took me in. I didn’t know what I was getting in to, and well, it surprised me.

2 out of 4.

House At The End Of The Street

House At The End Of The Street has had a little bit of an interesting history. It was actually filmed before Jennifer Lawrence went on to do The Hunger Games. But hey, releasing it before hand is bad for business. Why not ride the hot young actress coattails, and put it off, like, a year.

Heck, I am even fine with their marketing campaign. Shortening the title to HATES is a lot more convenient. Just annoying that it ignores the “of The” part of the title. Can’t even argue that it is unimportant articles and shit, since the “At the” is prominently features in the acronym. Oh well, making movie titles into acronyms (or vice versa!) is a lot of work.

Mmmm
Warning: This movie might feature a lot of miss Lawrence rolling about and running in this outfit.

Elissa (Lawrence) and her divorced mother, Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) have just moved into the house of their dreams. It is actually affordable. Why? Because the house “next door” has a secret. And by secret, I mean well known fact that a double murder occurred there. A girl, Carrie-Ann, killed both of her parents one night, and escaped off into the woods. They think she drowned, but never found her body.

She did leave her brother alive though, how nice! Ryan (Max Thieriot) mostly keeps to himself after the incident. After all, a fucking double murder happened, and he is still in the house. The town wants to buy his house and demolish it, but it is all he has left, so he refuses to sell, not caring about everyone else’s poor property values. The only person who doesn’t give him crap is a local cop (Gil Bellows).

Unfortunately for Elissa, Ryan is the only guy who actually seems decent. Tyler (Nolan Gerard Funk) is just as mean and pompous as the rest of the town, and just wants some sex. Can’t have any of that. So she tries to fix Ryan instead. Hopefully it is not weird either that it looks like his sister is still alive and living in a closet in his house. Whoops!

Trunk trunk
“Why is there a girl up in your trunk? In your trunk? In your trunk?”

On second thought, the title doesn’t really make that much sense. There is no real street here, just seems like random houses in the woods, despite it being a mostly rich like area. Even though their house is “right next” to Ryan’s, it is also as if there is still a big forest in between them. Can’t even tell how much of his house is on the same street. Plus, it seems like no one else lives close by. How could it ruin their property values?

Semantics. I was kind of bored by the movie to start. It had “Jennifer Lawrence” singing original songs at the start. Or at least that was the plan. Apparently someone else sang over her to make it sound a bit more better. That is silly.

But by the end, as it is with most horror movies, some twists began to happen and I actually liked them. It actually added some backstory and reason to the actions of the main characters, pretty surprising for a horror movie. Not enough to make it exceptional, but enough to make it kind of cool. For one viewing. Definitely wasn’t really scary either, felt a lot more like a thriller. But don’t worry, you will get to see at least two deaths.

2 out of 4.

Hope Springs

Hope Springs is another one of those films that only had one preview and was played quite a lot. Heck, surprised it is still not out on DVD, I feel like I started seeing the previews four months ago, and took forever to see it come out after its initial run in theaters. I mean, sure, it looks interesting. But the trailer also looks like it gave it all away.

But hey, we got the potential for a movie about “old people sex”. So I can’t wait to see what happens.

Laugh it up
Laugh it up lady. We will see who is laughing by the end of this encounter.

Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) have been happily married for 31 years. Or at least, they have been married. Happy for a lot of it, sure. Just not as much now. Arnold is complacent, he wakes up, has breakfast made for him, and he goes to work. He goes home, eats dinner, watches his golf shows or a movie, then off to bed. In his guest room. Kay wants more romance in her life, it has been a long time since they have even had sex or touched. Kind of weird. Not even on their anniversary!

But when she hears about Hope Springs, a small Connecticut (maybe?) town with a renowned relationship expert, Dr. Feld (Steve Carell). She throws an ultimatum, come with her, or the marriage is basically over. Well shit.

But yeah, then there is a week of marriage discussion, intimacy problems, experiments, and a rekindling. Maybe. Maybe they just don’t work well together anymore. I did call it a comedy drama after all. Some serious shit is going to go down, but what?! Also, Elisabeth Shue is a bartender, and has one scene in the movie. Relevant to the big picture? Not really, but she made the trailer, and gets a place in this review!

Therapy
This man also made the trailer. I guess he is important to the plot. I guess.

I was kind of expecting just a normal dramcom movie, about getting old, and growing apart. Which is what I got. I just didn’t expect to get as attached to the characters as I did! Meryl is so good at that acting thing, I was surprised at the events that eventually unfolded. I might have teared up a bit too. It was a bit more serious than the trailers eluded, with a lot more problems with their marriage to go through and establish. But yet I loved it anyways.

This movie is all Streep and Jones and no other character matters. I can’t relate to it, as I obviously have not been in a loveless marriage after 31 years, but still it is easy to connect regardless.

3 out of 4.

Chasing Mavericks

Miraculously, Chasing Mavericks is not a story about John McCain and his quest for presidential glory. Nor is this about an unbranded calf (definition on google). Apparently it is a local Californian term for a mythical giant wave that actually occurs somewhere near Santa Cruz!

Ah yes, the legend of the big wave. Only the coolest of surfers could be cool enough to surf them.

Butler's gerard
As awesome as Butler? We will see. You might be able to surf on his hair.

The story of Jay Moriarity (Jonny Weston) is one based around the ocean. He had it tough growing up. His dad left him when they were young, his mother (Elisabeth Shue) is bad with money and cannot hold down a job. But hey, as long as he has his surfboard, he is a happy man.

He was actually saved as a kid after falling in the waves, by one of his neighbors, Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler). A successful handy man with a wife (Abigail Spencer) and kids, he told her he would give up surfing the big waves, but still does it anyways. Not like lying has ever gotten anyone in trouble.

Ever since that day, Jay has been fascinated with the waves. But one day he finds the secret cove where Mavericks form, hidden away and yet being surfed on by his beighbor! The biggest waves he has ever seen and some nice pointy rocks. Well he says he wants to surf on them, and eventually convinces Frosty to train him. He agrees to train his mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional sides in order to conquer these beasts. At the same time he is attempting to woo his favorite girl (Leven Rambin) by being a great friend. Hah.

This also takes place during the 1990s El Nino, fucking everything up, meaning it is making crazier, bigger waves. So big, the secret area is no longer that secretive and a lot of people (amateurs) show up to conquer the mavericks, creating a huge potential for death.

Waves
I am now going to call tidal waves “huge potentials for death” from now on.

If you didn’t know, Jay Moriarity is an actual person, and this is his biographical movie. So if you click that wiki link, there will be some spoilers. Basically, he is considered a soul surfer, someone who surfs for the love of it only and is not to be confused with the other recent biographical surfing movie, Soul Surfer. He was made famous thanks to a photographer capturing his picture at the top of a Maverick crest.

But enough history, the movie itself? Typical feel good sports training film. You know how it will end, he will surf the wave. If you know the actual person, you will be aware of other events that happen in the film too. The only other feature this movie might have for entertainment purposes would be cool surfing scenes. I would describe them as “okay.”

For some reason, Chasing Mavericks has an incredibly slow feeling. It begins with a quote that doesn’t make too much sense, and ends with a scene that feels forced and awkward. There might be some inspirational moments in here that speak to certain people, but all in all, the fact that this was a real kid isn’t even that impressive. I’d say it offers not much in the film world, and it makes me wonder if there are any good surfing movies out there.

1 out of 4.

Don McKay

Ominous cloud. Confused people. Dead body.

These are the things on the cover of Don McKay. Despite all of that, it doesn’t show much excitement, but more sadness. And mystery. But since I never heard of it, and I got the Blu-Ray for only $1…

Well you know the rest.

letter
He just got a letter, I wonder who it’s from?!

Don McKay (Thomas Haden Church) is a janitor at a school, and a long way from his home. Twenty five years since he moved away, and he gets a letter from the woman he used to love, Sonny (Elisabeth Shue). He left town because he was a suspect in an unsolved murder, but no real evidence. Creepy. Either way, she says she is dying and loves him, and wants to die with him by her side. Okay, that is creepy too.

He meets her care taker, Marie (Melissa Leo), and her doctor Lance (James Rebhorn). After he gets some sex, and the ladies are out, he is attacked by Lance for an unknown reason, and a struggle for his life, and Don ends up killing Lance with a broken glass bottle. What in the what?

Don quickly tries to hide the body in the nearby wooded area, freaking out. He gets stung by a bee also, which he is allergic too, and passes out, waking up in the hospital. No one seems to know about the body yet! And Sonny wants to propose. Interesting.

Needless to say he realizes something fishy is going on. He tries to contact his old friend Otis (Keith David) who doesn’t like knowing that he was contacted just to help hide a body. Also Pruitt Taylor Vince is in this movie as well, but his role is more of a plot spoiler.

Why is everyone in this movie so weird? Why are they so vague with Sonny’s disease?

Angsty
Angst face is full of angst.

Man, this movie. Man.

While potentially having an amazing plot, and almost going to amazing “Oh shit! Didn’t see that coming!” moments, the things that ruined it was the slowness, the lame acting, and the boringness. Reason 3 probably relates to Reason 1 there.

But holy crap, does this movie move slow. Not only that, but Don’s face seems to look like that the whole entire movie. Solemn and grumpy, and almost lost. The whole damn time. I think the best performance is from Melissa Leo, but still didn’t find it too great. I found it hard to care about the characters who looked and acted so uninteresting to me.

There are like, three plot twists in this movie roughly, the third being especially creepy and unexpected. But twists or not, it could not save me from the dullness I felt from this film.

0 out of 4.

Hamlet 2

Most likely, every time someone heard of the movie Hamlet 2 they did a quick double take, and possibly throw in a “da fuq?” Presumably most of you knew what happened in Hamlet as well, because it helps.

A sequel to Hamlet doesn’t make any sense. And when you find out the movie isn’t even a straight sequel to Hamlet you got even more confused. A high school class putting on a production called Hamlet 2, and involving time travel and bad language? Well uhh.

Then you probably got curious, saw a zany trailer, and got turned off from watching it. I also assume most of you are identical to me, obviously.

teaching
HOW DO I TEEECH THEESE KEEEEEDS?

Dana Marschz (Steve Coogan) is a going no where drama teacher. He tried to be an actor, but sucked, and is now a recovering alcoholic. But hey, he has a wife! (Catherine Keener) and they have a shitty income, so they take in a person to pay some rent too (David Arquette).

Despite all this, he continues to make shitty plays for the school which tend to be adaptions of Hollywood movies. Marschz finds out from the Principal (Marshall Bell) that at the end of the year, the drama department will be budget cut as well and his job gone. Well fuck that, he sets off to make the most original play he can possible. So why not a Hamlet 2, with time travel to save the characters, and Jesus and other historical figures? Why not?

Well for starters he only has two people who actually care about acting in the class, and they might be racist. Rand (Skylar Astin) and Epiphany (Phoebe Strole) are stoked about it, but how does he get the rest of the class to care? Turns out not too hard with the content material. Ivonne (Melanie Diaz) jumps on board right away, but when Octavio (Joseph Julian Soria) finally gets involved, he even gets to take over the main part.

This pisses off Rand, who takes the script the Principal who immediately tries to shut it down. This causes a big free speech uproar, and Marschz even gets represented by the ACLU (Amy Poehler). But despite all this publicity and uproar, is there even a chance that the play is even good? Also, Elisabeth Shue plays herself, as someone also living in Tuscon, where her dreams went to die.

sexy hesuz
I haven’t even made a reference to how I would describe Jesus in the play.

So uhh, the play was kind of awesome as shit. Which I didn’t see coming. The musical numbers were good, both directly involved in the play and from the helping choir, the plot was a bit touching, and no one really got offended too badly.

The film attempts to be a parody of other inspirational teaching movies, and makes reference to quite a few. Except the teachers are never as inept as the one in this movie, who acts way over the top and makes it quite obvious why no one takes him seriously. The kids all also don’t really want to act at first, and it is almost as if having controversy make them care more about the play, just to fight the bad press.

I really didn’t enjoy the first half of the movie. A lot of the jokes felt forced, even if it was a parody or satire or something. Just wasn’t amusing. The second half was a lot better though, which wheels were in motion and the play occured. Its like the intentionally didn’t improve the quality of the movie until the characters cared more about their own play. Is that clever film making? Or just a coincidence?

But seriously, I loved the play it self and made it worth it to see.

2 out of 4.

Piranha

Piranha! A movie in no way taking itself seriously, relying on CGI “3D” effects for a better experience, and a lot of naked womens. Okay, technically that could fall under a lot of different Horror movies, but this one still has a more obvious comedic element to it. In fact, the first scene involves Richard Dreyfuss being the first to die, which is an obvious shout out.

Dreyfuss
Obvious shout out, sure. But to what?!

Earthquake opens up a chasm to an underground lake that has been sealed off for thousands of years. What is in it? A larger more dangerous form of Piranha!

“Wait!” you say. “Sealed off for thousands of year? How could they survive!”. Apparently cannibalism. So they still have large numbers somehow despite that.

At the same time as this small earthquake, Spring Break is happening on the lake of this local sunny town. Ving Rhames is the Sheriff of the town, and he hates it, with his Lieutenant being Elisabeth Shue. Her son is local boy, Steven R. McQueen, who instead of watching his little siblings, accidentally gets a job showing a pornographer the cool hot spots of the lake. Jerry O’Connell is the drug and sex crazed filmmaker, and really shows that Jerry will do anything they ask of him.

Also involved? Jessica Szohr, his friend who is talked into coming along, and Kelly Brook, a way too hot porn actress. Anyone else in this movie? Of course!

Christopher Lloyd plays retired paleobiologist like dude, who recognizes the species that was thought to be extinct (somehow). Also, Adam Scott, a GEOLOGIST, who leads a team to check out the opening to the lake.

So, most of the film is a couple of random small deaths out of no where, and teases of deaths. Also, lots of hot college kids partying it up, and the “famous” underwater naked scene involving Kelly and random porn actress. That scene was /very/ long, and had opera music in the background. An example of mocking itself, I guess. But once they finally attack the boat / the spring breakers, it is just way way way too long.

Its weird enough to see the local cops firing their shot guns into the water to try and kill all the fish. But it just seemed like so many minutes of watching people, more or less, die the same way, in a gruesome light. The “dude trying to escape on a motor boat and run over people along the way” scene was also horrid. Ving Rhames deserved his Oscar for what he did in the movie though. It made the most sense out of all the cop actions (didn’t make sense. Just made the most sense.)

Adam Scott
Only a bad ass geologist would think to jump on a jet ski to drive around and shoot fish in the ocean.

I was going to give it a 2/4 just because of including a Geologist hero, and so I did it anyways. I almost made it lower because of a silly grudge, but fixed that. Just now. There is a planned sequel, Piranha 3DD (get it?), and it is starring that plant chick from Sky High, and a water park.

2 out of 4.