The King

If you are a person, you are supposed to love Elvis. That is the rules. That is the rules I heard growing up again.

He was called The King of Rock and Roll, because people went nuts for him. His moves, his words, his sex aura. He was a musician famous across the world despite only playing in America. He was in the army for a couple of years. He was an actor for a long time after that as well. And eventually, he died, and then fat people in suits pretended to be him for decades after that.

I don’t have any strong feelings about Elvis. I knew the famous songs growing up but didn’t care for it. Just like I didn’t care for The Beatles. I am too young and carefree to care for the trailblazers. It happens. So I have never been crazy about Elvis, and honestly, wasn’t crazy about this documentary.

What I did know, and have learned in the past, is that Elvis didn’t invent Rock and Roll. It is very apparent, if it wasn’t at the time (it was) that Elvis was just singing and playing music already played and made popular by black people at the time. But because Elvis was white, he was able to make it popular, more acceptable (despite plenty of protests) and it elevated him into superstar status on the shoulders of others.

Of course, this is all information they go through in the documentary too. It is just what I really knew going into the movie, so I was ready and waiting to see how they would treat this subject.

Doc
By having people sit in his old car.

Technically, this documentary as the filmmaker going around with the actual automobile owned by Elvis at one point, and having famous people and musicians sit in it (some of the interviewees include Ethan Hawke, Alec Baldwin, and Chuck D). Some of them are telling his history, some telling how he was perceived, and some just want to get that vibe. But we get to hear them talk, amongst other interviews of people talking.

Despite it being the “point” of the documentary if you describe it in a line, it ended up having very little to do with the overall message and purpose of the documentary. More of it was on just Elvis and his history and life. And, as they make it abundantly clear, it is also a bit about the history of America, how it changed with the times and as it got to where we are now. It has several montage things that lead us to (you guessed it) the presidential election. And the documentary is trying to relate all of this to the life of Elvis.

And well, uhhh. It kind of never really connects for me. It feels like two completely different aspects. The life of Elvis, and then this other stuff, that is not at all gone into tons of detail. It tries to be bigger than it is and just seems to fall flat on my end.

I like that they tried something new, but it has to be a lot more straightforward to drive those bigger and bolder points they were hoping for.

1 out of 4.

First Reformed

Now that I have met Ethan Hawke in real life, he is of course my favorite actor. Because the only other real celebrities I have met (at the time of writing this) have been Rob Reiner (director mostly), Justin Long, and Sean Astin. Astin comes close, but what has he done for me lately? Oh yeah, Moms’ Night Out.

Back to Hawke. Sure at some point his directed movie Blaze comes out, but he hasn’t had a very well acted film for a bit. So any thing where he returns to his form is going to be great.

I missed the first screening of First Reformed because it was in the middle of the day, which didn’t feel like a problem. But everyone else mentioned how great this film was, meaning I needed to give it a shot and hope to be wowed.

Purple
Having a purple sky is pretty wow-derful.

The First Reformed church is the oldest still standing religious structure that is still in use. In the year 2017 it is going to celebrate its 250th year of use! A pretty significant number. It is of course a rather small church, one main room, a balcony area for the organ.

It doesn’t have too many members at this point, being in a small community, by Father Toller (Ethan Hawke) still has his weekly session. He keeps the place clean, he gives tours when necessary, and he tries to be an active part of his community. When the community doesn’t need him, he goes on a drive to the local Mega Church to help out over there.

One day, Mary (Amanda Seyfried), a younger member asks to speak with him. It turns out she is pregnant, and her husband, Michael (Philip Ettinger), is having doubts on the baby. He recently was also arrested from being at an environmental protest and has been mopey lately.

Basically, Michael thinks it is completely irresponsible to bring a child into this world, knowing how bad it is and bad it will get without any notable changes over the last decade. Could he be a good person and let that happen? Toller begins to meet with the family and talk to them, giving him a bit more purpose in his life.

And once events begin unraveling that Toller is not well equipped to handle. He is having a crisis of conscious and of faith, while being put in the spotlight for just those things.

Also starring Cedric the Entertainer, Victoria Hill, and Michael Gaston.

Distraught
Really, it is the feng shui that is causing all of these issues.

Strangely enough, this film is not in wide screen. It is presented in a square format. I am sure someone could explain why for good reasons, and I cannot be that eloquent at this point. I will just note that it is notable and it does add something to the film.

Hawke is absolutely amazing in this role, and a lot more subtle about it than most of his other acting performances. It is definitely relatable to his work in the Before Trilogy, but less romantic and more depressing.

The story itself is quite slow, and yet still full of shocks and surprises. Maybe a third to halfway through the film will the viewer realize the potential conclusion of the film, adding a bit of nervousness to the proceedings. The ending is quite a spectacle and definitely controversial. I can hardly believe it, and yet at the same time, it really just makes sense.

First Reformed offers us our first real look at a Best Acting nominee this year which means awards season is definitely upon us.

3 out of 4.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

This is part of Fantasy and Sci-Fi Week at Gorgon Reviews!

I hate Luc Bessson. I probably have said that at least a thousand times in my life at to this point. I have also already said that he hasn’t made anything good since The Fifth Element, which was of course 20 years ago, and relevant to the release of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

Because I went into Valerian and I expected to hate it. I expected it to be somehow a Eurotrash movie, but in Space. I didn’t have any fond reasons to love the leads at all, and was just ready to be scathing. But then I didn’t hate it. I didn’t dislike it either. At the lowest I knew it would be an average rating, but not sure if it could land higher.

I did know that I had to go and rewatch The Fifth Element before I wrote this review. Because in all honesty, I hadn’t seen it since it came out when I was a kid, and I remembered nothing except for the intro scenes. And after going back and watching it, I sort of shrugged me shoulders and sighed, remembering it to be better than that.

Two takeaways from this intro: I guess I only really really like Leon, The Professional from Besson, and I don’t hate Valerian.

Boob Armor
But I did hate how stupid looking they decided to make her armor.

Major Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Sergeant Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are team of space soldier ranger things. They work for some intergalactic agency and have to do missions. In space! Pretty standard police stuff. We get to see them doing some space mission after Valerian wakes up from a space dream where a planet of blue things get wrecked super hard.

From this mission, Valerian and Laureline, gain a sweet pearl of extreme energetic power, and a cool little lizard who makes copies of anything it eats. I think you all can put two and two together to see why this is an intense combination. And this is the cause of all of their problems. Because when they return back to Alpha (aka the City of a Thousand Planets. A floating, giant space station that has inhabitants from all over to create one massive entity in unity), shit starts hitting the fan. A wiped out race of aliens appear and steal the lizard, but they use non lethal means. The main captain is taken and people who have no idea what is going on are in charge.

But don’t worry. We have Valerian and Laureline, who will take turns saving each other, to get to the bottom of this mess.

Also featuring Alain Chabat, Clive Owen, Elizabeth Debicki, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, John Goodman, Kris Wu, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rihanna, Rutger Hauer, and Sam Spruell.

Aliens
Stare deeply into the eyes of the Blue Dhalsim.

I have put off writing this review for over a week. I have reviews that come out next week that I have already written before this one, it is just so hard.

The thoughts I had when I left the theater: Well, I don’t hate it. But do I love it? Is it average?

It is so damn hard to tell. There is quite a lot for someone to like in this film, and almost an equal number to dislike. So…Here…we…go!

Dislikes:

  • DeHaan is not a bad actor, but he is not great in this film. Far too much of his dialogue is spent trying to badly woo Delevingne and it just drags on. His voice is way too gruff for his boyish face, like he is trying to play Batman. He worked for A Cure For Wellness, but it is hard to like him here.
  • Delevingne, for the most part, is a bad actress. She isn’t great here either, but they don’t give her a lot to work with. Her character is weakly written, despite being an integral part of the team. Her name should be part of the movie, not just focused on the boy hero. But also, it is like her role is one entire eye roll.
  • Goodman was wasted in this film, his voice was great for the character, but they implied he would have a bigger impact on the movie and then he…never came back.
  • The Alpha station got really annoying. All of these special biomes and places to live, so of course we have a couple parts of the plot where our characters can rush through EVERY SINGLE ONE MENTIONED. Doing the “look at all the stuff in here!” and making sure it all matters instead of just keeping it small scale and letting stuff happen in the future. I had a similar issue with Zootopia, all these biomes, MAKE SURE WE HIT THEM ALL.
  • Related to points 1 and 2, Delevingne and DeHaan had terrible chemistry.

Likes:

  • What a goddamn introduction to he film. A nice, beach and ocean planet. A tribe of native aliens. In my screener there was a mess up with the intro, where we couldn’t see their dialogue and subtitles, and guess what, IT WASN’T NECESSARY. A story was told, it was awe inspiring, it was great, quality, film.
  • The CGI for the most part was always on par as well. A ton of visual effects and they helped the universe, they didn’t hurt it. A lot of unique elements too, maybe from the comic, maybe not, but it was pleasing to look at.
  • The plot wasn’t terrible. It had quite a few good elements and a lot of random twists in the middle. No one would guess where this film is going, even if you could guess where it ends.
  • This hurts to say this, which makes it more true. Rihanna was in this film, and her character was fun. It was fun and Rihanna was completely fine in it. She didn’t take away from the movie, although how she exited the movie seemed unnecessary.

Honestly, I could keep going on and on about this movie. What I am left with is realizing this is a step in the right direction for Besson. Another of these films with a more focused story and planet or planets could be amazing. And I wouldn’t even care if he replaced the leads, I swear. It is not terrible, despite pretty bad elements. It is just totally okay.

2 out of 4.

The Magnificent Seven

I didn’t watch The Magnificent Seven before now, because it is from one of the studios that I don’t get invites to. But despite that, I did WANT to see it, and then never got out to the theaters. And now it has been out for awhile and I still dicked around.

My bad. I wanted to see the movie because yes, I knew the story. It is a remake. But I liked a lot of the actors involved and wanted to give it a shot. A whole lot of shots. A village full of shots.

Basically now I just find myself in a gun mood, and want to watch fake cowboys shoot other fake cowboys. They have theme parks with that theme.

Group
Let’s see…One…two…three…uhh, um…yeah seven. Looks like seven people here.

In the late 1800s, the town of Rose Creek is getting besieged! Or maybe just hoodwinked a little. A big time robber dude, Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), is trying to buy out an entire mining town for his own profits. He is not giving them a good deal, using threats and intimidation and actually killing to get his way.

So Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) and her friend (Luke Grimes) go out in search of help, eventually finding a warrant officer, Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington). He doesn’t want to until he hears about Bogue, which causes him to agree and start looking for other people to join his crew.

We got a gambler (Chris Pratt), a Mexican outlaw (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), a Comanche warrior (Martin Sensmeier), a tracker (Vincent D’Onofrio), a guy good with knifes (Byung-hun Lee), and of course a famed sharpshooter (Ethan Hawke).

Needless to say, they don’t have a lot of people. But they have some townsfolk, who are miners and farmers. Their lead villager (Matt Bomer) is pretty good too. If they set up defenses, put the towns people in easy areas to defend, they can probably stop a pretty big force of asshole outlaws from taking over. But it is a gun fight, so some people are going to get scared, and a lot of people are going to die.

Also starring Jonathan Joss in pretty intimidating role.

Main 2
With lights that bright, there must be an angel or something in that corner.

The point of The Magnificent Seven is to watch some famous people act like cowboys, shoot each other, hopefully have some really cool skillful tactics, and be a bit enjoyable. And sure, it did feel pretty enjoyable.

I know I was hoping for a lot more to happen during the final siege. Or maybe a secondary skirmish after the initial one to give us more shenanigans. The big siege just didn’t live up to my expectations and hype. Some cool moments, sure, and I cared what happened to the characters, but it was just overall a little bit disappointed.

The good news is with a diverse cast of characters, it plays out like an RPG. Everyone has their own little bit of plot and characterization, it isn’t just 3 people and 4 “guys who shoot good” or anything. No, they said these seven people were magnificent, so they made them all really talented and different. Which is another major point of this film.

But you know what? It ended with a narrator describing their story and referring to them as magnificent, then credits. My eyes physically left my head to do a bigger roll at that moment. It is so…dumb. Just ugh.

Hopefully there is no sequel to this movie, but hey, just give me another reboot and do it better and I will be happy.

2 out of 4.

Predestination

First off, no, I still haven’t seen Primer. Stop asking me. I will get to it eventually. My mind is ready for a mind fucking this early in 2015.

Time travel. A fun subject and one that is ridiculously hard to get right. Again, I am not saying I understand time travel and know how it should be. No. I just hate seeing a time travel movie that features it, then has inconsistencies within its own version of time travel, making it a bit confusing. The last movie to do that was Project Almanac. So close.

So, fingers crossed. Because now I am going to tackle Predestination, which hit theaters earlier this year. I didn’t hear a lot about it when it came out, but recently it has been gathering steam. And I really want to see a good time travel movie that isn’t Primer. So, extreme fingers crossed.

Woman
What’s this? A woman? In a movie about time travel! How surprisingly rare! But they only showed us Ethan!

Here’s the issue. The Fizzle Bomber. That dude is the issue. He is an American terrorist living in the United States. He is hard to catch. He makes bombs. He blows the bombs up. People get hurt and he has been hard to catch.

In fact, he blew up maybe ten blocks in NYC. Yeah.

So we should stop him, before he blows up NYC. With time travel! And thus, the Temporal Bureau is born! These Temporal Agents travel through time, in a limited range, to prevent major disasters and make our timelines a better place. There are many issues and problems of course. Things might change a little bit.

They have been slowly getting closer and closer to the Fizzle Bomber too. Each time jump they get closer to finding his identity and hopefully stopping NYC from getting wrecked. This should be the final time jump they need for their best agent (Ethan Hawke), disguised as a barkeep. But first, everything has to be perfect…

Also featuring Sarah Snook and much less featuring Noah Taylor.

Bar
The second time traveling movie I have seen to mostly take place in a bar. Coincidence? Or alcohol?

Looking at my astrological charts, we are due for a great Ethan Hawke movie again, and, yes, this indeed gets to be the one! Hooray! Don’t let Sarah Snook confuse you either. She was in the not so great Jessabelle recently, and is much much better in this movie.

By nature of it being a mystery and a bit of a thriller, Predestination obviously has some twists and turns. Some you can see a mile away, some that blew my mind. I loved it. And I loved even more than this wasn’t an action cop movie. It was a straight up Sci-Fi Drama with some mystery aspects about time travel. Excellent.

And from what I can tell, it covered up all of the loose ends. Literally everything. It was super careful about what it said and did in every scene, and the level of attention that went into it is impressive.

On another note, Hawke wasn’t that great in it. Not bad, not great, just decent or expected. He was the lead though and his character didn’t have to do a lot to excel. Snook is the one with all the acting and development and she does a fantastic job.

And well, its a movie that is a mystery. Stop asking for more details and just watch the dang thing.

4 out of 4.

Boyhood

I FUCKING LOVE RICHARD LINKLATER.

It is a real love too. A similar love is only felt like that by me towards my future wife, my cat, and my movie collection. I cannot thank him enough for the Before trilogy. Another recent movie was Bernie. This man is a genius director, for sure.

So when I heard about Boyhood? I dang near shat my pantaloons. There are a lot of films about male adolescence and the pains of growing up. But never before has a movie like this been attempted. The movie took TWELVE years to film. TWELVE. The boy in question was 5 at the beginning, and finished with him becoming an adult at 18. It isn’t a documentary that shows his life or anything like that, he is an actor. But the story is based around the kids own experiences, cutting no corners as we see him in every grade before college.

If your mind isn’t blown by the shear magnitude of this movie, then you might enjoy Planes.

Changes
This movie has more family fun, because it has families, and they have fun.

Mason (Ellar Coltrane). Mother fucking boy wonder. Five years old, he could be anything he wants. His whole life is in front of him. He has an older sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater) by one or two years, is a brat and smarter than him.

He’s got a mom (Patricia Arquette), single and trying to raise two kids. Her ex husband, his dad (Ethan Hawke) is working in Alaska, away from their lives and late on child support. But he wants to come back into it, because he likes the kids, but hates the mother.

12 Years is a long time and a lot of things change. There are friendships that come and go and loved ones that come and go. Heck, there are step brothers/sisters too at one point. The mom wants to go back to school and make a career, but it is really hard with kids and no support, so some other lovers come into the scene (Marco Perella, Elijah Smith (That may be the wrong person. Trying to figure out his name, no imdb picture.)). They also have at least one grandma (Libby Villari) to help.

And Mason is kind of just along for the ride.

Through his twelve years you will see him gain and lose relatioships, struggle and excel at school, deal with the assholes that his mom brings into their lives, deal with his dad changing through the years and never always being there when he needs them. And you know, other growing up experiences like college, graduations, birthdays, first jobs, first cars.

Family
Young Ethan Hawke. We don’t miss you that much.

Shitty plot descriptions aside, Boyhood was everything I could have hoped and more. I mean, how do I describe watching a kid grow up and make it seem exciting.

Well, IT IS. Knowing that it was pieced out and planned in such a way does enhance it as well, as we get snapshots of a life through 12 years. But the movie is not merely a nostalgia trip (although it does a good job of that, making sure the music is set to the right year with other events/cultural references being relevant in the filming). It has something almost anyone who is over 18 can find a connection with. Not just boys either. For a long period of time, the sister is also in the movie with him, so while not the overall focus, there are relatable characteristics in her as well.

The movie also doesn’t go to enormous lengths to create additional drama. It shows us what we need to see, but not excessively, especially in the later chapters. There are quite a few tense moments when the audience collectively gasped, thinking a few bad things were about to happen. But you know what? In real life, bad things like that don’t happen as much, except for in the movies. It knows what we would expect, and it sometimes delivers, sometimes does not. In that regard, it made it incredibly realistic, and amusing after the fact that when “Oh yeah, that would be silly, wouldn’t it?” thoughts ran through our head.

It is hard to convey my emotions about this movie. Especially in that it wasn’t one that made me cry a lot. I only almost came to tears once. But it was still quite emotional throughout the entire journey.

I mean. Shit. We got to know these characters for a long period of time in our lives. We got to see 12 years ago Ethan Hawke, who looked notably younger. It almost creeped me out.

Whether this is the movie of the year or decade, it is hard to tell. But it tells such a wonderful story that people can relate to, without any excessive Hollywood shenanigans, allowing for a realistic portrayal of life and getting older.

4 out of 4.

Getaway

Arguably, this has been a great summer for Ethan Hawke.

In a few weeks, he was seen in two completely different movies. The first was The Purge, which doubled its budget in earnings and was a surprise early horror hit. The second was Before Midnight, the end of an eighteen year long trilogy, which featured some of the best acting I have seen all year. If that one isn’t nominated for awards, I will burn something.

I’d like to think he got greedy though. Why not add an action movie, Getaway, to his summer releases? Then the only thing he is missing is a comedy! This is what happens when you fly too close to the sun, Ethan. Tisk tisk.

Hawke
Tisk motherfucking tisk.
The movie starts right away with our “hero” walking into a home in complete disarray. The Christmas tree is in shambles! Brent (Hawke) receives a phone call from an unknown number on his wife’s phone (Rebecca Budig), who of course is now missing.

The phoneman tells him to steal a modified Shelby Mustang Super Snake (cool name car, I will admit) and await further instructions. If he gets caught by the police, his wife will die. If he disobeys his instructions, his wife will die. Basically, Brent is The Voice’s (Jon Voight) slave now.

During his tasks, The Girl (Selena Gomez) tries to steal the car from him with a gun! No, she isn’t actually playing a thug from the streets, like the trailer implies. She is just a rich girl, who also is really good at technology, and claims the car belongs to her. Brent has to keep her in the car, to help with the tasks at hand. Or at least, that is what The Voice tells him. Can this former NASCAR driver turned regular Joe Schmo save his wife? CAN HE!?

Gomez
The exact moment in the trailer when you knew this movie would suck. Never before has it been so easily captured!
I will try to be fair and start with the positives of this pile of excrement.

If anything, you can argue that this film offers nonstop action. As an action movie, that is something most can only dream about.

Unfortunately, that level of action is also one of the weakest aspects of Getaway. Car chases and crashes are fine, but to amp up the action, the director, Courtney Soloman, decided to try out a thousand different camera angles.

We have views of faces, of the car, from above, from the clutch, from the breaks, from security cameras, from the cameras in the car. Flash flash flash flash. This movie may induce seizures with how fast the camera angle changes constantly. I can tell you I developed a headache watching this movie, and one of the main reasons is the constant ADHD feeling of the camera.

Honestly, we only need to see him slam down on his break and change gears so many times during a single movie, not every single time he does it.

The other headache inducing parts of the film have to come from the very weak plot and acting. I am not saying Gomez and Hawke are bad at acting normally, just they are in this movie. It can only be blamed on the script and directing. I won’t even talk about the plot, it is just so unimportant and silly.

The ending leaves a lot to be desired as well. It technically gives us some sort of closure, while also kind of feeling like a kick in the metaphorical nuts.

Courtney Soloman has only directed two other movies. I haven’t seen An American Haunting, so I cannot comment on it, but thirteen years ago he directed Dungeons & Dragons which was a slap in the face for an entire culture with its level of badness. It is sad to see that after thirteen years, he has might have actually regressed in his directorial abilities.

0 out of 4.

Before Midnight

There comes a time in every man’s life when they see a trilogy that makes them so hard for drama. That might sound graphic, but that is how I felt watching Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight.

Have you heard? Before Sunrise came out in 1995, and it is about two people who meet on a train in Vienna. On a whim, they go out and explore the city together, having a long first date, and decide to meet each other again in a year. Before Sunset came out in 2004, nine years later, and was set nine years later. The man now an author, who wrote about their experience, the woman, still French, and an environmentalist.

So what happened? Before Midnight is ending their story, that I know of. It came out in 2013, another nine years later, and is set of course, nine years later. Holy fuckity fuck, that is ballsy. Same actor/actress, and same director.

Before The Hotel
I have seen them age and grow. I feel like God.

I don’t know how to write this review. I feel bad talking about the plot, because I really wish you have seen the first two movies before you saw this one, although I have a source that tells me you can enjoy this one without it. Let’s just say that I am going to describe their current state of lives, and they will kind of be spoilers. So, read at your own risk.

Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) have two twin daughters, both seven. They are near the end of a six week vacation in Greece, although they live in Paris. Jesse has written a few more books now and Celine is really high up on her career path. She is thinking of making a change, although Jesse isn’t a fan of it.

Jesse is also worried about his son from his previous marriage, who he only gets custody during the summer and Christmas. He lives in Chicago now, and his ex-wife hates him, understandably. But he wants to be closer to his son, now that he is in high school and is going to be an adult soon. He wants to be there for him. His wife doesn’t want to move to Chicago.

Here we have a day in their life, discussing their future, discussing their relationship, the lows, the highs, and the neutrals.

Sexytime
Spoilers, you get to see her boobs too. Like, a lot.

Fuck yes. I loved this movie. In fact, I want the whole trilogy in a nice cool box set. I would buy that so hard. Even if they offered to buy me a klondike bar to not buy it, I would give up that klondike bar chance. That is how much I love this franchise.

Why? Well, for one reason, it is all basically dialogue. That is great for those of us who love dramas. More importantly, a lot of the scenes are quite long, single camera frame, with them walking or driving in a car with no real cutaways. That means they are doing this all from memory, actually acting and being real about it. The realism is incredible, which makes the sweet parts that much sweeter, and the anger fight induced parts that much scarier/sadder.

You should watch these movies. Or else, you know, you are probably lame. Each one is fantastic (well, the second one is the least fantastic), and they probably deserve your money more than you.

4 out of 4.

The Purge

Originally, I felt that the ad campaign for The Purge came a bit later than most movies. I didn’t hear about it or see the trailer until Evil Dead, which was in March!

But they really ramped up the ad campaign in the last few weeks, almost to annoyance. Needless to say (because I am a coward), the trailer frightened me, and gave me great hope that this movie would provide scares along with philosophical debates about ethics, morals, and the human spirit.

Hawke
The year is 2022 and America is a peaceful country! Unemployment is less than 1%, and there is basically no crime. Why? Because we have changed the way America works! Every year, for 12 hours, everything is legal in the United States. Murder, theft, you name it. No police or firefighters will be on duty, everything is fair game. It lets people vent out their frustrations, and become wild animals if they so choose.

A lot of rich people choose to stay inside with fancy security systems. Like James Sandin (Ethan Hawke), a fancy security systems salesman. He has the fanciest securest house on the block, because of his profitable year, so his wife (Lena Headey) and two kids (Max BurkholderAdelaide Kane) are set!

But once The Purge begins, the son sees a homeless man (Edwin Hodge) running down the street. He noobs it up, opens the door, and lets the homeless man in. This opens an unfortunate can of worms when an unruly mob of masked college students clamor outside of their villa, wanting to get their purge on. The polite leader (Rhys Wakefield) gives them the chance to turn the homeless man in, and they won’t attack the family. But if they wait too long, they will tear down their walls and kill everyone inside. Oh snap.

Looks like we have quite an ethical conundrum on our hands. Can they willingly send out a homeless man to his death? Can James willingly let a man die, if the life of his family is potentially on the line?

Face Off
I mean, he looks trustworthy, that polite leader.
The first thing I noticed about The Purge is that it is almost painfully short. 85 minutes in length! That is usually a warning sign. That means the plot doesn’t last long enough to fill a full movie. Or they realize the idea gets old really quick.

But the length was really appropriate for the plot, and I never felt like it dragged too much. There was some long scenes that were just heavy in suspense, but when you are wandering around your house in the dark, looking for strangers, you aren’t just going to run around every corner.

It was somewhat predictable, with the plotlines, yet equally surprising. I loved watching Ethan Hawke go on a kill streak to save his house. I would have stood up and cheered, if I didn’t respect normal movie watching practices.

It could have delved more into the ethical nature of the entire Purge, but I liked that it used subtle features to tell us the backgrounds of various characters, without outright saying them to our face. I do think they harped on the idea of murder too much, when other laws, like downloading music and stealing a car are just as legal. Time to get the misses some new bling, I say.

The movie is full of jump scares with only a few scenes that made me leave my seat, but I think it still is an interesting addition to the horror genre.

3 out of 4.

Sinister

Generally I am able to separate the real world from the movie world. I know that I won’t get sucked into a video game, and that I won’t be chased by a serial killer (because hey, why would anyone want to kill me?). But then we have certain movies that say, “I’m gonna to take something you love and make it scary for you, so that you can always think about the fear every time you do that task!” I like to call those movies “jerkfaces”, and that is what Sinister did to me in regards to watching movies. It is probably the same exact thing The Ring dids, but I wouldn’t know because I value my sanity.
Fucking Sinister.

Thinkaboot it
Presumably this is the same thing that happened after The Ring, but fuck if I’m ever gonna watch that.

Our story begins quite creepily with four members of a family being hung from a tree on a very old looking roll of film. Well, now that the mood is set, we introduce the actual new family, moving into a new house with a very familiar looking tree. Great! Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) is a famous-ish author, who got his big break when he began to write true crime style novels. His book, Kentucky Blood, based on a real murder and his own research actually helped bring a criminal to justice and got him mega bucks!

But he just hasn’t lived up to his former glory since then. His books haven’t been as good and local cops now hate him. But this time, this time he has it! Hell, he actually picked the murder house to live in instead of just being in the same town! The family was murdered (by hanging) and the youngest daughter is now missing. He could be a hero!

After this book he has promised to quit because his wife (Juliet Rylance) is tired of it and his kids (Michal Hall D’Addario, Clare Foley) are tired of moving. Not to mention their son now has night terrors. What a creepy kid.

But when Ellison finds a box in their attic entitled “Home Movies” with reels from the 1960s to 2011, his curiosity gets the best of him and gives them a watch. Each tape begins the same way, a nice family scene, spliced with the murder of said family.  They also all feature the youngest child missing in the murder scenes, hmm.  These series of murders take place all around the country, and with the help of Deputy So-and-So (James Ransone) he might be able to find a connection between them all, and save the day! Or you know, die himself. It is really 50/50 at this point.

Shhh
Oh yeah, also this shit happening. Fuuuuuck.

This story also is about an ancient pagan demon who steals the souls of children. He also lives in any pictures of himself, including movies, and can move between them and out of them. Great! Movies are now forever ruined for me!

The movies drops enough clues for you to understand everything that is going on, so you should be able to figure it out halfway through. But don’t worry, if you still didn’t get it by the end, it is fully explained to you. Based on the ending, it also looks like this film is a “one-and-done” series. That should excite a lot of you, because it means we won’t soon get flooded with ten sequels to a new original horror movie!

Most of the film is Ethan Hawke walking around his house at night, with so little light, and it is absolutely terrifying. I wish he would have turned on a light more often, but when you are drunk you make poor decisions. I personally felt paralyzed when I watched the screen, afraid that if I moved I might be the next to go. I am disappointed that it did resort on more than one occasion to the sudden pop up scares, most notably at the end of the movie. It could have ended on a classy note, but instead went for one last “boo!”

The best part to me is that this horror movie actually has a plot that is believable enough in the world it created. That means it might actually make you think while you shriek. I’d definitely call Sinister my favorite new horror movie this month, and the one you should watch on Halloween night.

3 out of 4.

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