Halloween

Forty years ago, a slasher movie came out, by John Carpenter, and people really liked it. I don’t know if Halloween changed the game from movies in that time, but it was well liked, it had some long cut scenes, surprises, boobs, and a lot of scary scary moments. It spanned a lot of sequels.

Three weeks ago, I finally watched that movie, and hey, I liked it enough. It was fun and I was excited for the sequel. I definitely did not watch any of the follow ups, because hey, new Halloween said they don’t matter. This is a direct sequel, fuck the other movies.

Sounds good to me.

Mask
This killer is now super old, and his mask really shows those stress lines.

Forty years ago, some bad stuff happened in Haddonfield, Illinois. You may have seen the documentary about it. And since that moment, since Michael Myers was apprehended, he has been studied in psych wards for decades. He barely moves. He doesn’t speak. No one can figure out his deal. We even have a new scientist (Haluk Bilginer), protege of the old scientist, who has made Myers his life’s work to unravel. And the state is finally done with Myers, so they are going to transfer him to real prison for him to just be jailed and ignored, no more chance for study.

Back in Haddonfield, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is living life on her own, in a compound in the wood. She’s got gates, security cameras, hidden rooms, and a lot of gun training. She is ready for the big day she knows is coming at some point. It has ruined her life in more ways than one. Her daughter was taken away from her when she was 12 years old due to her training, and her daughter (Judy Greer) hasn’t really let her back in her life much sense. That daughter is now married (Toby Huss), raising her own daughter (Andi Matichak) and trying to become normal and not driven by paranoia.

Needless to say, due to events, Michael is breaking out again, and he is ready to finish what he started. His obsession. His reason for breathing heavily.

And the plot involves some damn investigative journalists (Jefferson Hall, Rhian Rees) trying to stir up some memories. It is not the fault of the local Sheriff (Will Patton) this time. Also starring a few other teenage sidekicks to up the body count of people we potentially may care about, like Miles Robbins, Dylan Arnold, Virginia Gardner, and Drew Scheid with the worst Hobbit face known to man.

Door
And fuck this door in particular.

Halloween starts out strong and keeps up the pace for most of the film. We get to have a similar score from the original film, similar opening credits, and a whole lot of intense moments that have nothing to do with people dying from kitchen knives.

It does have jump scares early on, of relatively silly things, that modern movies love to do with teenagers. They can be annoying. This Hall actor being a journalist feels like he really just wants to be Kenneth Branagh. I really hate the fat jokester friend by a lot. He has a hobbit face, and it confuses me, and I just don’t want him in this movie.

Michael kills a lot more in this film, and seems far more superhuman than he did in the first film. Ridiculous deaths, jaws ripped off and more. Would make sense from a more supernatural point of view, but I thought this was meant to be more realistic slasher film.

I still did enjoy most of the film. But the last act felt very rushed (minus one search the house scene). Things were cut quickly, scenes moved quickly, and it became harder to follow while also being less exciting overall.

Honestly, the ending pushed it into just average territory. It was a fine follow up and probably lead to adequate follow ups in the future. Hopefully Kenny Fucking Powers will be in those follow ups.

2 out of 4.

Ant-Man and the Wasp

The first question you have to ask yourself, does anyone care about Ant-Man? Does anyone care about the Wasp? Does anyone care about Ant-Man and The Wasp?

So soon does this film come out, when just two months ago we had Avengers: Infinity War, a film that made some people cry. Now these titular characters were missing from Avengers of course. Does this happen before IW? After? During? That has to be the majority reason why anyone is watching this film. To see how, if at all, it connects to Avengers. People care about the larger story, not these minor characters.

And this is coming from someone who really enjoyed Ant-Man. I thought the villain was great, and it had the best superhero teaser for a film, that they sadly didn’t recreate for this film.

Either way, if this film ends up being completely stand alone, then a lot of people will be disappointed.

Amatw
Hey look! The titular characters! Together!

This film takes place pre-Avengers: Infinity War, so don’t expect it to start with chaos. Scott (Paul Rudd) is under house arrest for two years following the events in Captain America: Civil War, before he has probation. All of this is explained neatly by the FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) early on, don’t worry. It is boring, he has no contact with Hope (Evangeline Lilly) or Dr. Pym (Michael Douglas), but his daughter (Abby Ryder Fortson) still visits frequently and his ex wife and her husband (Judy Greer, Bobby Cannavale).

But hey, he lives with his ex convict buddies still (Michael Peña, David Dastmalchian, T.I.), and they started a security business themselves.

AND THEN THANOS ATTACKS. Wait, no not yet. Things start to change however, when Scott has a vision of himself inside the Quantum Realm again, including a vision of Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), the lost Wasp. This sucks him back into the technology rich, very steal heavy world of Ant-Man, despite only having days left on his house arrest.

Now they are in a race against time to finish developing a safer way into the Quantum Realm to find their wife, mom, and lady they don’t actually know, depending on what character you ask. We also have a skeevy business man who wants in on the potential profis (Walton Goggins), a girl phasing in and out of the physical realm (Hannah John-Kamen), and an old S.H.I.E.L.D. research buddy (Laurence Fishburne) also going in and out of their plans.

Ghost
Hey look! Ghost is joining their dance party!

I almost gave this film a 1 out of 4.

Figure that is a good starting place for this review. Sure, it is entertaining. It is funny. The cast has good chemistry. A specific Rudd scene where he has to act like an entirely different person is nailed perfectly and doesn’t feel wrong. The crew has less screen time, T.I. almost feels nonexistant, but they still have their moments. And Ghost fights were relatively cool to watch, as was the Wasp kitchen fight scene.

And yet I almost gave it a 1 out of 4. Technically, the reason I gave it the 2 instead is because of Peña’s character. I was worried they wouldn’t continue a joke from the first film and declared it to be an okay movie if they continued it on. Eventually? They continued it on, and sure, an average review.

Because lets face it, you aren’t getting your Avengers tie in until the credit scenes. This movie overall feels like a filler film. We don’t have any real villains, we just have things that consistently make the plot longer. There isn’t a lot of fighting, it is more just car chases and shrinking and growing. It isn’t a film that can feel smart, because all of the science behind it is fake anyways, so when scientific breakthroughs happen, it happens because the characters say it work, not that the audience could figure it out on our own.

Overall, it sets up a little bit in the universe. But it feels too clunk with no real established threat besides time itself. Ghost isn’t even a villain, just another damaged person, which they make sure we understand very early on.

If the MCU was Buffy the Vampire Slayer instead, this movie would fit in the middle of season one, instead of how most other films are clearly in the 2-7 territory.

2 out of 4.

The 15:17 To Paris

I will admit, when I first saw that this movie was coming out, I knew it had to be one of the early favorites for worst movie of 2018. A movie about a real event, starring some of the real people? What could go wrong?!

The 15:17 To Paris looked like utter shit, and as you can already see, yes, it was utter shit.

At this point, I assume Clint Eastwood is only alive because of directing. He is known for doing things quickly and under budget, despite issues, and it is really showing. Look at recent movies: American Sniper, Trouble With The Curve, Sully, Jersey Boys. He has some real event movies, and they aren’t spectacular. He had a known amazing musical and he botched it. And The Trouble With the Curve? Well, you probably forgot it existed.

The only real worthy note about some of his recent movies has been the acting in it. But it is clear that it is probably more so the good actors continuing to act good, and not Eastwood bringing it out of them. So now we have him directing people who have NO training at acting and really watch it blow up in his face.

Group
Maybe not the best choice of words in a movie about a terrorist attack.

In 2015, on a train from Amsterdam to Paris, a terrorist attack occurred. A guy came out of the bathroom with guns ready to fire, and tons of ammunition. Immediately, he struggled against people waiting to use the bathroom, but once shots were fired, people began to run and much panic ran throughout the train.

But three Americans in a cart over decided that running was not in their blood. Spencer Stone (Spencer Stone), Anthony Sadler (Anthony Sadler), and Alek Skarlatos (Alek Skarlatos) in various amounts fought back against the attacker, including rushing at him despite being fired against.

The three and another were able to get rid of his weapons and subdue him, and keep him down, until they stopped at the next station where authorities and doctors were able to take over. They were international heroes, helping prevent a much greater tragedy.

But how did they get to that point and why are they even friends? Lets have a movie about that.

Also starring Judy Greer, Jenna Fischer, and the young versions of our heroes played by William Jennings, Bryce Gheisar, and Paul-Mikél Williams.

Run
Bullrush is not the feat it used to be.

Many years ago, Act of Valor came out and I completely hated it. It was a big PR stunt, with actual seals instead of actors. By bringing in authenticity to the craft, they lost having a competent movie. But at least with Act of Valor there was a story. At least there was an attempt to be entertaining and to fill some people with wonder. After all, if it is propaganda, there needs to be a hook.

For The 15:17 to Paris, it seems like it is actually not a movie, but an experiment, to see how much bullshit a person can take before they stop watching a movie. Unfortunately, I can take a huge bag of it, so I saw the whole thing, but I can’t imagine why. This 94 minute movie should have been about 14 minutes long.

We get to have plot of the young versions causing problems in school, becoming friends, and of course, their moms arguing against pills for ADD. Okay. Cool. Go strong with your anti-science doctrine in the first few minutes.

After that we have our characters played by themselves, but pretending to be high school students trying to figure out future careers. Then of course doing these jobs and goign through training and doing things in Afghanistan. Just a whole lot of pointlessness, until we get to the ending. You know, when they are finally ready to go backpacking and train riding throughout Europe!

And guess what. We now get to see the three pretend to relive these moments. You know, being in Italy, Germany, and other places, pretending to be tourists who have been there for the first time, just doing normal things. It is so incredibly uncomfortable and pointless.

None of these things matter at all for the actual train ride. There aren’t clever points where “Oh, we saw them talk to that Californian girl and get Gelato with her because she taught them to disarm a weapon!” Nope. Just because they did it in real life, I guess.

Good news. These guys are heroes. Bad news, everything and everyone about this movie. Goddamn it Clint Eastwood.

0 out of 4.

War For The Planet of the Apes

The “of the Planet of the Apes” films have been met with some pretty critical acclaim in the last few years, especially after the rebooted Planet of the Apes film was so dismal.

And hey, for Rise? I totally agree. An amazing film, great acting and a plot that made me cheer for Apes instead of just humans. Just a silly romance subplot stopped it from being a great film.

Unfortunately, Dawn just didn’t really do much for me. It was an okay film, but I believe it received more praise for being a pretty standard plot, but with Apes instead of tribal humans. Some cool moments sure, but it was also forgettable.

I had no idea what to expect for War, but I would hope with a long run time, it would put an end to humans once and for all, so the Ape society can begin to grow into what we already know is the end goal.

Ride
Which is horses and apes riding horses in the future, right?

War is set only a few years after Dawn, where the apes have mostly gone into hiding in the woods. Koba (Toby Kebbell) is the one who started the fighting with the humans, and Caesar (Andy Serkis) ended it. A few apes are still pissed off and left to rabble rouse, but the rest of the apes just want to live alone. However, humans don’t give a fuck, blood was spilled, and they want revenge. So they keep venturing into the woods, hoping to take out Caesar and the rest of the apes will scatter.

Thanks to a scouting mission, a few apes found a desert on the other side of the mountain where the apes would be able to flourish. Humans are super dying out so they are likely to leave them alone.

But leave them along they don’t. A small raid enters their compound hoping to get Caesar, but get some other apes instead. Boo, hiss. Caesar mad. Caesar wants revenge on the soldier in charge of the humans in the area (Woody Harrelson). So he takes his very small band of soldiers on a potential suicide mission.

Starring Gabriel Chavarria as a human soldier, Amiah Miller as a human deaf girl, and a whole lot of people as apes. Like Judy Greer, Steve Zahn, Terry Notary, Aleks Paunovic, Devyn Dalton, and Karin Konoval.

Gun
“Well, are you feeling lucky…Ape?”

Trilogies usually go one of three ways. There is the the rare but incredible trilogy that is amazing with every iteration. There is the more common trilogy where the sequel surpasses the first and the last film is a let down. Or there is a trilogy where it starts off good, and each iteration loses a bit of its soul, giving us a worse and worse film.

And a lot of you would assume this might be the second trilogy because people loved Dawn, but to me, this is the third type of trilogy. Dawn was okay, War was kind of shit.

At almost 140 minutes with War in the title, you would expect a giant battle to, most likely, bring about the end of mankind to start this whole Planet of the Apes thing. Maybe. Well, the Caesar journey with his band takes awhile to follow the humans. On the way, they have another Ape who can talk who joins them, and a deaf girl. This part drags, and even when they make it to the human encampment it drags. I found myself falling asleep, despite being an early screening and having finished an energy drink before it.

The ending is about the apes being enslaved and needing to get to get broken out of a prison system where they are slaves, and the humans are fighting with each other. There is also a new iteration of the Simian Flu, that causes humans to lose their voice and potentially become aggressive, reverting them back into a more primitive form.

The ending break out is not a brilliant plan. It involves the humans being incredibly incompetent. When plot necessary, apparently no one is standing guard at the military compound, so a little girl can walk in and have a long conversation. When necessary apparently a guard will behave like someone who has no military training, and no one else will be on guard duty. When necessary, the fighting between humans will stop enough so that the humans can fire on some apes that none of them were able to notice even escaped. This scene includes a soldier that is so upset with these apes, that he cannot stop firing despite a looming other human threat, that he cannot turn around to get his own grenade launcher. When necessary, an ape looking for redemption will use a weapon to take out a single human, instead of just doing the more obvious move to complete the task that Caesar was trying to complete. When necessary, a giant deus ex machine straight out of Mulan will save the day, but this time no daisies are involved.

The ending is a mess, the middle is a bore, and the beginning is predictable. I didn’t even get into the ridiculousness of the Simian Flu change, and deciding to have a girl who was deaf for real, not deaf for flu reasons. War for the Planet of the Apes is a waste of a film that tried to go a deeper, personal route, and just left feeling a bit superficial.

1 out of 4.

Wilson

Who the fuck is Wilson? Is this a movie about a volleyball?

Those were the only thoughts I had going into this movie. And when I saw one poster, that it would be able a creepy dude. Not just any creepy dude. A creepy older dude, with glasses, and a beard.

I also quickly learned that the movie would be a weird movie, because it was directed by Craig Johnson, who directed The Skeleton Twins. I didn’t love that one, but man, it was weird.

Shock1
How shocking, that it is about a real person, not a volleyball.

Wilson (Woody Harrelson) isn’t actually creepy, really. He is a bit weird. He is weird because he hates the way the world is changing. He hates that everyone is so anti-social nowadays. He wants to communicate with people, even if they are strangers. He wants to just say what is on his mind and let other people say what is on their minds. He isn’t going to be trapped on his phone, or sleeping on the train, he just wants to experience the world. If he doesn’t slow down once in awhile, he might miss it, after all.

And then his best friend moves away, without any warning. Now Wilson is all alone. He has no purpose. Just his dog. No family, nothing. Well, he does have an ex-wife. Pippi (Laura Dern) was with Wilson for a few years, a real piece of work. Then one day she up and left him. Got an abortion and moved far, far away. But it turns out she is in the area again! So maybe he can try and see how she is and get to know her again. Maybe start a relationship so that the hole in his life can be filled.

Speaking of filling holes, turns out she didn’t get an abortion. She put the kid up for adoption and the girl is like, 17 now, living in the same city this whole time and he had no idea! Now Wilson has a family. He has a purpose. He just has to bring it all together.

Starring Isabella Amara as the daughter, along with Brett Gelman, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Judy Greer, Margo Martindale, Cheryl Hines, and Bill McCallum.

Shock2
Apparently this is also the most shocking movie ever, from his point of view.

Wilson was a surprise hit, and surprisingly hysterical at points. The man was just so absurd and so socially weird it was constantly surprising. The main poster shows him standing next to another person at a urinal, with a ton of open urinals. The biggest social faux pas you can do in a restroom, outside of also hold a conversation with them, which he does. And it is a nice scene about families and how to raise your kids. And it ends with one of the funniest, unexpected yet completely expected lines ever. I was laughing way too long at it.

Wilson was great. As a person and a character study. A movie I could watch over and over again and still crack up. An instant classic on just its humor.

But its story could use some work, a lot of work. It feels so long but the movie is only about an hour and a half. It takes awhile to get to the point, and then it goes in several weird directions. Including jail, which lasts a long time for that late in the film. And we even have a post jail tiny plot to take care about. It is a bit disjointed in these regards.

Harrelson does a great performance though and always seems to find new ways to entertain me.

3 out of 4.

Ant-Man

If you want a movie in production hell, then you want Ant-Man. Sure, Iron Man was technically in development since the 1990s, but those were with different studios before Marvel got it back in 2006. If you didn’t notice, they then pushed out the movie just two years alter.

Ant-Man, however, was also in development since 2006 and took just nine years to finally get released. That is a long time of trying to make a movie work and never giving up. Well, they technically gave up a little bit. Edgar Wright who was signed on to be the director since the beginning was fired early 2014 from the project which scared a lot of movie fans. Wright is well liked and has an awesome style. And the movie was roughly a year away! How could they do this? And with script re-writes as well!

I will admit that I too overreacted, expecting that Ant-Man would unfortunately be Marvel’s first real disaster of a movie in a long time, possibly meaning bad news for the other new franchises coming down the time lines. But as a not so secretive fanboy, I was also of course hoping for the best.

Yes
Thumbs up, seven new franchises up!

The movie starts in Taylor Swift’s favorite year, 1989, where some dude named Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) is upset over S.H.I.E.L.D. turning his science into weapons! He made a Pym Particle, but he refuses to let them have it for warfare, so he quits and starts his own company. It should be noted we get to see Agent Carter (Hayley Atwell), an older Howard Stark (John Slattery), and a random tool, Mitchell Carson (Martin Donovan).

Now, in the present day, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is just getting out of prison. He stole from his corrupt company who took millions from customers and gave it all back. He has a masters in Electrical Engineering, but he is also a pretty great thief it turns out. He has tried getting a regular job, but his crime history makes it hard. No job means no money, which means he can’t pay child support to his ex (Judy Greer), and thus he can’t really see his daughter (Abby Ryder Fortson). To make things worse, the ex is now dating a cop (Bobby Cannavale) which is all sorts of awkward.

So Scott gets with his friend, Luis (Michael Peña), who has a heist for them. With a few friends (David Dastmalchian, T.I.), they are going to rob Pym’s house who has the biggest safe ever. Unfortunately, the only thing in it is an awkward suit.

Turns out it was all a test. (I swear I am not spoiling the whole film). Pym’s company is no longer in his hands, and his protege Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) is about to discover the shrinking secret. Once he gets the formula right, he is going to sell the Yellow Jacket suits to the highest bidder, making an unstoppable army at whomever’s disposal. Their only person on the inside is Pym’s daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly).

So it is simple. Break into an extremely secure facility, destroy the science and the suits, save the day. A nice heist. Perfect for someone who can shrink and control ants, right? Also Wood Harris! Fuck, I couldn’t fit him in naturally!

PENA
Super powers are overrated, you da real MVP!

Again, it looks like I told too much, but I think I told the basic motivations of our main characters and also threw in most of the side players as well. You got to see the two good guys, where they are coming from, and of course the bad guy.

And I fucking loved it.

Ant-Man had everything I wanted in a Marvel super hero film. It wasn’t ever super drama serious, but it had its touching moments. It was funny, and then it was also hilarious. Many characters brought the charm in. And the action was exciting. The CGI ants I thought would be cheesy, but they worked really well in the context of the rest of the film. Going back and forth between small and large to fight everyone was very slick. There was a wonderful montage and we even got a pretty significant Avenger cameo.

I really need to acknowledge Michael Peña, who was the best part of this movie and for all I know, not based on any comic book character. He was hilarious and I hope he gets to be in future Marvel films.

There was a weak part though. The relationship between Pym and Hope was supposed to be strained, but the actors didn’t act it well and it instead kind of just sucked. I am more incline to place the blame onto Lilly, but it could be that she was just given a weaker character with terrible lines and development.

Ant-Man has it all. It even has a villain who seems realistic and isn’t just a dark brooding figure. He has his own real motivations and a backstory and his arc makes a little bit of sense. Their fight scenes were wonderful. And on paper he may seem like a minor bad guy, but I think he is the best villain since Bucky and Loki.

Bring me more Ant-Man.

4 out of 4.

Jurassic World

In honor of Jurassic World, I too am going to open my own theme park. I won’t fill it with dinosaurs though, I will fill it with greek legendary monsters. It makes sense, if you remember you are reading this review on Gorgon Reviews.

I don’t have the funds yet for it. I don’t have the feasibility either. I thought about CGI, but that doesn’t make sense in real life. Although if the entire park was an entire green screen overlaying the sidewalks and buildings and grass, I could buy the material in bulk.

After all, if they can successfully make a park with monsters despite a whole bunch of deaths right off the back twenty years ago, more power to them (and me). Afterall, Jurassic World is going to be a strict economic drama about the costs that go into large island parks, right? And about how everything is awesome?

Raptors
About how everything is cool, when you’re part of a team?

Set 22 years after the first Jurassic Park or so, this movie takes place on the exact same island. Now the island is a bustling theme park! The idea was a success! Everyone gets dinosaurs and no one dies!

This version of the park still took some time to happen and it has only existed for 10 years or so. They occasionally release a new exhibit, which spikes up business and gets everyone about dinosaurs again. But kids today, with their Pac-man video games and MTV and hula hoops have attention spans that can be measured only in nanoseconds. And they aren’t afraid of dinosaurs anymore. They are basically like slightly more exotic elephants at this point.

So they went bigger. Better. They made up a dinosaur. Taking DNA from several big dinosaurs and filling in the gaps with some crazy shit, they made a big, intelligent dinosaur that is going to make everyone shit their pants and the investors dive in piles of gold coins. They just have to pass a few safety tests before the big day in a few weeks. And sure, wouldn’t you know it? We got ourselves a highly intelligent killing machine that is not just a mere animal, but almost a dino-god. And he is now loose on a regular park day with 20,000 guests.

Guests like, Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson), who are there for the weekend with their Aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), a big wig who helps run the park. We have Henry Wu (BD Wong) as our head scientist who made the creature, the only returning member from the first film. Our rich park owner who doesn’t care about profits (Irrfan Khan), some people who work in the control room (Jake Johnson, Lauren Lapkus), a bad baby sitter (Katie McGrath), the emotional mom of the kids (Judy Greer), a guy with nefarious intentions (Vincent D’Onofrio), and a raptor handler (Omar Sy), are also involved in some way or another!

Hmm. Am I missing anyone? Oh, I guess there is Owen (Chris Pratt), an ex military man who thinks dinosaurs are thinking, intelligent creatures who just want the respect they deserve.

Yum Yum
The orca’s at Sea World, however, don’t deserve respect and don’t deserve great white shark food like this big guy.

Welcome to 2015, where everything is CGI and the point doesn’t matter. I am one who would say that Jurassic Park still holds up to this day, animatronics and all. CGI has the ability to get dated pretty quickly because it is constantly evolving and getting better, while animatronics have staying power. From a basic movie watching point of view, I think every single dinosaur was done with CGI. And it shows! The Pterodactyls were horrible. They were at least diverse looking, but every time they flew onto the screen, I cringed a bit. Sure the raptors and the T-Rexes and the bigger guy are much better CGI, I feel like something amazing was lost in the process.

Jurassic World is definitely scarier than the first film, as the threats are bigger and badder with a potential much higher body count. Given that Spielberg is directing it, somehow the kids are able to run through everything with more or less invisible shields protecting them, which is kind of annoying, because any tension in their scenes is a bit diluted. Speaking of tension, despite it being a rich and well funded island park, cell service goes out quite frequently, enough to make it quite annoying at times at how frequently they use it as a crutch. Cell service AND walkie talkies, for double trouble.

One annoying aspect to make it scarier is at one point, it was a bright and sunny early afternoon setting, but the very next scene suddenly made it middle of night. It didn’t need to skip ahead several hours, and made very little sense because most of that time must have been them waiting for it to get dark. But being dark served no purpose outside of making it scarier for the viewer, despite risking time continuity to do so.

I am a bit surprised, however, at some of the characters who did die. One character I noted from above actually died after several bites, flying through the air, drowning, in such a grotesque fashion, you would have thought they were the most evil character ever. But of course, nothing was inherently bad with them.

Despite all of this, there were still quite a few entertaining scenes. I was delighted that Pratt’s character didn’t just feel like Star Lord or Indiana Jones, but a new and unique entity. There were also good moments for our people in the control panel.

Overall, this is probably the best movie in this franchise not called Jurassic Park, but given the quality of the other two films, it doesn’t actually say much.

2 out of 4.

Carrie

This may not be a popular opinion, but I am willing to say it: The original Carrie is not that scary of a movie. Or at least it isn’t scary anymore.

When it first came out it was probably shocking, sure. Part of the reason it would have been terrifying is not knowing the bloodbath that would occur at the end of the film. There was no internet, spoilers didn’t run rampant, people could watch it and actually see something new.

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t know how the original Carrie ends. They might not know the finite details or how it occurs, but they know blood gets dumped on a poor girl, who then takes out a school who bullied her.

So why bother with a Carrie remake in 2013? The only real reason is to either change the story so that audiences won’t see the ending coming or ramp up the creepy details to a new notch in order to make it more of a horror film. You know, give us a different reason to remember her name.

Mothery
“How do we make Julie look crazy?” “I don’t know…frazzle her hair a little bit!”

Carrie (Chloe Grace Moretz) came from humble beginnings. She used to be home-schooled, but the state of Maine intervened and forced her to go to public school. Not sure why. Her mom (Julianne Moore) was a perfectly adept teacher. She taught Carrie about Jesus, God, and she even gave her a nice tiny prayer closet under the stairs to “study” in.

Despite the fact that she is a senior in high school, she gets her period for the first time in gym class. Must be Satan at work in her loins. The other girls find her fear amusing, make fun of her, and promptly get in trouble by the gym teacher (Judy Greer). They have two options, put up with a week of grueling physical activity, or get suspended and miss prom. Clearly neither option is ideal, and it must be Carrie’s fault putting these girls in that situation.

Which is why the mean girl (Portia Doubleday) and her boyfriend (Alex Russell) do the whole dump pigs blood on her head at prom thing. That’ll show her.

That’ll show everyone.

Gabriella Wilde plays the nice “mean girl,” and Ansel Elgort her boyfriend.

Bloody
Huh, she looks cute in red.
Really, the reason anyone came to see this movie was to watch the prom scene and see the path of destruction that Carrie would lay in her wake. The rest of the film could be boring, but as long as the prom scene is excellent, the director will have delivered. The prom scene is longer in this version, there are more creative deaths with less hoses, and there is more destruction outside of the school, but miraculously a lower overall body count. Huh.

Basically, this film is identical to the 70’s version in terms of…well most things. Even the dialogue is basically the same, minus the upgrades in time/technology.

The few things that are changed are who lives and dies at the end, one other “twist”, and making the mother a bit of a masochist. Okay, a huge masochist, she loves that self infliction stuff. Basically their attempt at making the film a bit more creepy throughout.

Overall, I would say that this film was a bit disappointing in that it was made so similar to the first film (and maybe the book, no idea on their closeness). It really doesn’t add anything new to the mythology, and was made to upgrade a film literally everyone already knows the plot about. I hated most of the no name actors, but surprisingly I enjoyed Ansel Elgort as the nice boyfriend. He was so good at being kind to a weird red headed girl.

If you are looking for scary movies in theater for Halloween, unfortunately Carrie is your only hope. Somehow, this is the only horror movie the entire month.

2 out of 4.

Playing For Keeps

Playing For Keeps is a popular phrase, and it happens to be one of my favorites thanks to “Talladega Nights“. Just yelling “I play for keeps!” at someone in an argument makes it all the more exciting somehow. It might also diffuse the argument completely into laughter. Win win right there.

Gerard Butler, fresh off of his last box office bomb Chasing Mavericks is hoping that he can, you know, make a movie that turns a profit for once in the last five years.

kIDS
Spoilers: This is an even bigger let down.

George Dwyer (Butler) used to be somebody, he used to be a contender. He was a great soccer star in Europe, but got injured and had to leave the game. Some how during that, he also lost his wife (Jessica Biel) and son Lewis (Noah Lomax), moved to Canada to open up a bar and do real estate. Yeah, that makes sense.

But after some time, he lost it all again, and moved to Virginia to reunite with his son! Too bad “the man” has got him down, he owes a lot of money, and can’t get a job. He wants to be a sports caster, and wants his son to love him. So why not become the local AYSO soccer coach? Why not use your accent to bang half the town while trying to chase after your ex-wife before she gets married to some guy named Matt (James Tupper)?

Speaking of housewives, we have one housewife who is lonely (Judy Greer), a housewife who used to be a sports caster (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a housewife who is being cheated on and rich (Uma Thurman), said rich husband who tries to buy his friendship (Dennis Quaid), and the principal from Glee as the owner of his property (Iqbal Theba)!

Basically everyone in this suburban neighborhood is rich and powerful, yet somehow couldn’t get a decent soccer coach til George. Very strange.

WOMENS
He may have banged everyone in this photo. Maybe. Just saying.

Ugh. Ughhh. I feel like every stereotypical thing that may have happened in a RomCom, happened in this movie, and then some more. Ready for some SPOILERS? Well, surprisingly enough, the two do get back together by the end.

By the end, he also will realize his family is more important than his career, although the job he gets in Virginia can’t ever be as well off as his job at ESPN. Changing his life for the better monetarily will have to wait a bit.

He also is still able to let down his kid, mess up his coaching duties, and let everything blow up before he almost convinces his wife to leave her new fiance. Matt. Matt is a useless character. He is in a lot of scenes, but he barely has any lines, has no personality, and is just a waste of space. They really didn’t want you to pay attention to him at all.

Dennis Quaid’s character looked like he would have a heart attack, the entire movie. An interesting direction to take a character, but it was only annoying.

I am also not sure of the audience for this movie. It is rated PG-13, despite looking a lot like a family movie. Why the high rating? Because of Uma Thurman clad in lingerie in his bed, and the other sex scenes involving Judy Greer and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Nothing too graphic, but they do exist.

Playing For Keeps is a formulaic movie that also tries to include things that would appeal to many different groups, which in turn just makes it work for no one.

1 out of 4.

Love Happens

Never heard of Love Happens.

But can Love Happens end the recent string of “bad movies with Love in the title?”

Greer
Nope.

Burke (Aaron Eckhart) is a motivational speaker/grief counselor type person. His wife died in a car accident. He was sad over it, wrote a book. Now he is famous, and definitely over it all. Right!?

Sure. He even sees a girl, a local florist, Eloise (Jennifer Aniston). She just blows him off, eventually they get to date though. Awkward, his first date since the accident.

But yeah, that is about it. We also have Dan Fogler as his Pr dude, Martin Sheen as his dad, Judy Greer as florist assistant, and John Carroll Lynch who won’t get over his son’s death.

Sure, there may be another dramatic oh man moment or two. But I wouldn’t want to spoil that for you.

Love Happens
Hey look. They got together by the end. Just like the cover implied. Oh man.

Oh the worst feeling in the world is watching two bad movies in a row. Seriously. Damn it. It happened only once before for my website. But the liklihood of it happening I guess increases when I stop picking randomly from a pile and just go base on how interested I am in it.

Like I said, I just assumed it was a Romance movie with Aaron Eckhart and Jennifer Aniston, and it was, but it was so dang boring for me.

I think the best person in this film was John Carrol Lunch, as grieving dad, then Martin Sheen, then Aaron Eckhart. Their grief felt a lot better acted to me.

But really, I couldn’t connect with the film at all. Maybe if I lost a wife early or something it would be better? But that is a hard per-requisite for me to fill. Everything about this felt unnatural to me, especially the relationship between Eckhart and Aniston, which is arguably one of the top two important parts of the movie.

So in that regard, I almost want to claim that in the last five years, there has been only one good movie to begin with the word “Love”. Please correct me if I am wrong.

0 out of 4.

1 2