Movie Roundup – Online Releases 2018

Welcome to a Movie Roundup! A movie roundup features a few films that I didn’t feel like making full reviews for, but needed to get basic reviews out there for completionist reasons. It also helps me deal with my backlog. It may have a theme, and today’s theme is Online Releases 2018! Basically, things that started out on the internet, ideally a streaming website, because it is a loose theme, and I will take it.

Being on a movie round up doesn’t mean a movie is inherently bad, or good, or meh. I can feature any rating on here! So don’t assume the worst! I will also just post the reviews in alphabetical order.


Online Releases 2018

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Can we go wrong with the Coen brothers? Yes, we totally can. But I can’t help but feel something wonderful when they continually try to do something different, or make the normal a lot more eccentric. This time, they went back to the former, while also going back to some of those old timey western roots, which are arguably their best movies. Except this time, it is straight to Netflix, and an Anthology movie with six short films instead. The only connection? Western.

This ends up working really well, even if I can say I didn’t love every part of the anthology. Unfortunately, the best and most fun was the first of the stories, and probably me least favorite was number two. I really enjoyed the one about the prospectors and the woman with her not dog too. When it works, it really works, and when it doesn’t work, it is still well made and a bit beautiful, if not full of fuckery. This is not a happy movie, and it can easily be watched in parts, and deserves praise for its individual shorts that work out amazingly well.

3 out of 4.

Ballad
None of these people share a scene with the others.

The Kissing Booth

On the other hand, Netflix has made it clear its strategy isn’t to appeal to just the best movie ever, but to instead go for all the demographics so that they all have something to watch, which is fair. Netflix having a shit movie doesn’t mean that Netflix is bad, I just don’t have to watch it…if I am a normal movie goer.

But this movie is something else, and it has crawled out of the pits of hell thanks to some teenage girl. Yeah, it is based on a book, written by a teenage girl, on some website, and now its a movie. An uninspired romance movie, that seems to rely on the kissing booth as a feature, despite not being featured too heavily in the grand scope. It features a love interest who is super controlling, threatening, and uses his fists to solve problems. Ah, what good values to instill in our youth.

0 out of 4.

Kissing
Help, help, I’m trapped in a 90s movie.

My Dinner with Hervé

Over on HBO, they also like to do movies, and shows, and documentaries. In this one, we have dudes as the stars, with one of them being one of their biggest stars of their biggest show. Makes sense. Peter Dinklage playing a biographical role, of possibly the most famous little person in history (before Peter Dinklage and Verne Troyer), Hervé Villechaize. Made famous for being in Fantasy Island and The Man With The Golden Gun.

Now, this is all according to a journalist, but it is based on the night out on the town with Hervé, where he also recounts his whole life story leading up to the point, his rises, and his many many downfalls. Dinklage does an amazing job of transforming himself, or what I know about himself, and this is an extremely touching tale of a childhood of abuse and sadness, while still trying to make something about it. It never seems to go deep enough into the sadder parts though, and probably skirts around important details. I just knew that it started off way better than it eventually ended.

2 out of 4.

DINNer
And that is also true about life, I suppose.

Slice

Slice might not technically fit this theme, because it came out on VOD, but hey, my themes are loose, and I want it in this post. Slice is the type of movie that is just so out there, it is hard to believe that it even exists. Vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts, murder mystery, pizza store, witches, and such a strange plot and concept. It is the type of movie that when describing it you know will have a cult following and probably LARPing in the future.

But in all honestly, it just doesn’t work out well. The only redeeming factor is that it definitely feels original. It just is a weird mash of ideas that aren’t fully explained because it isn’t fully thought through. It is cool, it is weird, but it is definitely not good.

1 out of 4.

sLIce
Although, it made me want pizza, so good job there.

The Tale

Finally, another HBO movie (sorry Hulu), that I didn’t even know came out this last summer. I would have never known it existed if it didn’t get nominated for a Spirit award. I mean, it has a big name in it, and it is about sexual abuse when someone was a child. Sure, a fictional tale, but a tale that resonates due to how often similar “tales” have been told by other girls in relation to their coaches while growing up. Hell, the gymnastics scandal was in 2018, maybe even going on after this movie. It is very relevant.

Dern plays someone very vulnerable and stubborn at the same time. It doesn’t end with fireworks, but plays it in a more realistic way. More importantly, the girl who plays the younger version is amazing at her role. Her acting, in normal kid way, amplifies the creepiness of everything. It puts the viewer in a dark place and really helps bring the hate towards these sexual predators.

3 out of 4.

tale
These two adults are now on my despise list, well done!

Overall, steaming platforms put out a lot of duds, and some successes. And especially Netflix, because I will never catch up on on their new releases. Or, maybe I will, if I just keep the review format like this and not larger. But these ones caught my eye for some reason or another and I chose them to watch to review, and never got around to actually writing.

Would You Rather

Would You Rather came out a few years ago, and is pretty strange title to randomly show up on my reviews. I mean, I have been pretty consistent doing things from the current year or year before, and rarely two years prior. But Would You Rather came out in 2012, straight up 5 years ago, which is theoretically the end of my always shifting bar for reviews.

And honestly, I watched it because I really wanted to. I needed a psychological horror, and I discovered this one with plenty of actors I knew. I don’t know if this went into theaters, or straight to DVD, or what, but it exists and I really haven’t heard people every talk about it.

So watching it was for an itch. Reviewing it? Well, it was worth talking about. And I am weirded out that the title doesn’t have a question mark. Even though sure, the three words are the beginning of a question and not an entire question, it still feels strange without it.

Dinner
“Kind of like a dinner with only three courses,” – Rich version of myself.

Iris (Brittany Snow) lives alone with her younger brother, Raleigh (Logan Miller), who also is dying. He needs good insurance and a blood marrow match for a big surgery, or you know, he is going to die. And Iris can’t even get a job to help maybe pay for it. Life sucks. But Iris’ doctor, Dr. Barden (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.), knows something that might help.

You see, there is a rich dude, Shepard Lambrick (Jeffrey Combs) who runs a charitable foundation. They want to invite Iris to a dinner, and afterwards there will be a game. The game will have one winner, and the winner will get what they need monetary wise for everything to be wonderful again. And she is desperate, so she goes without giving her brother the specifics.

Long story short, they have to play a game of Would You Rather. But not only do they have to choose (and have to choose in 15 to 30 seconds), but they have to do the task. And they involve violence, and pain, and have a good chance of killing people. Oh joy. And if they try to back out, they die. Only one winner, and one survivor.

Iris quickly makes two friends in Cal (Eddie Steeples) and Lucas (Enver Gjokaj). The other contestants include Peter (Robb Wells), a gambler from Vegas, Linda (June Squibb), a woman in a wheel chair, Travis (Charlie Hofheimer), an Iraq war vet, Conway (John Heard), a skeptical old man and former alcoholic, and Amy (Sasha Grey), an evil looking hot girl.

Also featuring Bevans (Jonny Coyne), a very skilled manservant, and Julian (Robin Lord Taylor), the sun of Shepard.

Pop
This party is poppin’!

I wanted a psychological thriller, and really, I got only a bit of one. The first round was relatively lame, but still, it started off the game immediately with pain. Less on the mind game side, more on the torture side. The second round was…well, also just various torture, with more death potential, and more focused on being mean. The third round there was no subtly, but basically a task for every person that could kill them. And the fourth round had some mind games, thankfully.

What I am getting at is that this film scratched the surface of a good film, but couldn’t really deliver. Too many of the eight people died “outside of the game.” The would you rathers were never really that fun or exciting. The characters themselves excited me a bit, but never enough to fully love the film.

And let me just say that there was a moment that had me somewhat shouting at the screen, because it was going to be terrifying and gross. My wife had to come and check on me to make sure everything was okay, causing me to quickly shout at her to not look, it would be terrible. And then the film didn’t even show the terrible act, it cut away, no CGI or props or anything. It would have been a defining moment.

The film also had a weird subplot with the doctor character, and I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE PURPOSE WAS. I might have missed it, but I think it went nowhere. The ending was also pretty predictable.

2 out of 4.

C.H.U.D.

“What in the fuck is this?” You might all be asking yourselves. “You said you don’t do older movies! You lied to us! We trusted you!” Stop talking in unison readers, that is creepy.

This is a special occasion, much like my Milestone Reviews. I am taking part in a Blog-A-Thon with the theme of 1984. Here is a banner I am supposed to use. Banner.

So yeah, a week long blog-a-thon of only movies from 1984, and I picked C.H.U.D. because I am a winner at heart. C.H.U.D. is a movie I had never seen before, but definitely something I had heard a lot before. The first I heard about it was the summer of 2006. That is when Clerks II came out in theaters, I had to drive an hour with my brother to go see it, and we went at the first possible show time at like, 10 am. We were excited. One line stuck out to me as peculiar that they uttered twice. “Hideous Fucking C.H.U.D.”

I didn’t know what a C.H.U.D. was, but I liked it, and began saying it a lot. I obviously looked into it eventually, started seeing the references in tons of other pop culture things and swore one day I would watch it. Like. Seven years ago. Thankfully, the 1984 Blog-A-Thon happened, and I finally had an outlet for my dreams.

Stern
Speaking of dreamy.

New York City. Land of the homeless, large sewer systems, subways, and C.H.U.D.s. What is a C.H.U.D.? Good question. It just might stand for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller. You’d be hard pressed to find a better acronym than that one.

No one sees them either, as they only come out of the sewers at night and bring their prey with them. However, there has been an unusual number of reported missing people cases lately. And police captain Bosch (Christopher Curry) is being told to cover it up. Don’t assume murder, just regular missing people running away. Well, he doesn’t really want to anymore. The numbers are getting too large and he has personal stake in it. His wife went missing too.

When he begins to investigate, a soup kitchen owner, A.J. ‘The Reverend’ Shepherd (Daniel Stern) has also noted that the homeless population has been dwindling, including several patrons he knew who slept underground. In fact, some of them are very scared, resorting to stealing weapons from police to fend for their lives. The Reverand is also a former nuclear physicist, or something. That should be noted, because that is awesome.

On the other side of the street, we have George Cooper (John Heard), a famous photographer who took pictures of the homeless in the sewers before and needs new material. His model girlfriend (Kim Greist) and him also get caught up in this C.H.U.D. nonsense, and it will take all four of them working together to stop the madness, find the root of the problem, and prevent the town from being blown up.

Oh hey, John Goodman is in here too as an unnamed cop. That seems relevant.

Chuds
Speaking of dreamy…again.

Oh man, B-movies! I almost forgot you existed. After all, in modern times, there really isn’t too many B-movies left.

There is the bullshit that SyFy and The Asylum produce, but I would qualify them as C-Movies. They are intentionally made shitty, and are in fact, too shitty. No passion, no heart, just shit does not necessarily make a good time. Sharknado is terrible. The better B-Movies are the ones that were serious about what they were doing but ended up being shitty and amusing, not realizing that they have become a joke. The fact that C.H.U.D. had script controversy between the two male leads and rewrites means that these people wanted to make a real horror drama film.

But special effects. So bad.

While watching it, I did find myself laughing on more than one occasion. The shittyness of the 80s was fully rampart in this film. But at the same time, it had a decent plot. Corrupt government officials, nuclear waste scares, gray area between right and wrong. It wasn’t badly written. Just the make up.

This may be Daniel Stern’s best role after Home Alone (sorry Bushwhacked/Celtic Pride). Was it worth my time? Arguably. I feel better about using the term C.H.U.D. now, so I got that going for me.

It is currently on Netflix, so if you have a spare afternoon, why not?

2 out of 4.

Assault On Wall Street

Uwe Uwe Uwe. Boll Boll Boll.

Potentially the most hated director in the world. More hated than Michael Bay.

He is known for two things. Making shitty movies hated by most people (like BloodRayne), and a few years ago saying he is willing to box any critic who says his movies suck. Well jeez. Although it gained him internet points, I won’t let something like that get in the way of saying whether or not a movie sucks.

So why did I watch this new movie, Assault On Wall Street, that went straight to video? Because that’s the whole fucking point of my website, damn it.

No Mask
I make the pew pew pew joke too many times. But it is important here. To the plot. Pew pew.

Jim Baxford (Dominic Purcell) is your everyday normal guy. He works as a security guard for an armored truck company. You know, he works for a living, isn’t a Wall Street fat cat.

Speaking of Wall Street, the economic collapse thing happens. He loses a big investment he made with his stock dude, Robert (Lochlyn Munro). Why? Because the corporation saved their own asses, not their customers/investors. He tries to start a suit, but his lawyer fucks him over too, and does things without his permission.

Also his wife has cancer (Erin Karpluk). Or something, I forgot. Probably cancer. That is taking up a lot of their funds, because his small town job doesn’t give the best insurance. So they start going into debt. Credit scores go higher. In fact. This shit leads to him losing his job. He can’t have a job protecting money if he himself is bad with money.

Basically, shit is raining down on Jim. One thing after the other. One even bigger thing happens, that I won’t spoil, but it basically breaks him completely. He can’t stand it. He takes his severance package and spends it on guns. He practices. It is time to strike back. It is time to take out his own personal form of vengeance against these bankers. One at a time, and hopefully end up at Jeremy Stancroft (John Heard), the CEO that hurt him the most.

Mask
There comes a time when good man must wear mask.

Uwe Boll really did shit on Dominic Purcell’s character in this movie. That is the entire first half of the movie, which is less than 100 minutes anyways. Bad things happening, and him slowly breaking. Which is good, we needed a lot to happen to him for him to break. Although it was still a bit boring at times, and somewhat overly dramatic.

The killing spree in the second half was also a bit slow. To start. A quick snipe or two and hide. But it built up until he became a newspaper phenomenom, until he finally stormed in on an office, taking out a whole floor and more.

Sure, it could be considered mindless violence, but the actual ending confrontation between him and Jeremy Stancraft was pretty great. Some monologue-ing, and a twist I didn’t see coming.

If it wasn’t for the slower aspects, I would have rated this higher, because that ending was awesome.

2 out of 4.