Tag: 0 out of 4

Hotel Transylvania: Transformania

Here we go again…again.

Hotel Transylvania hasn’t been a shining example of a good animated franchise. Its jokes are cheap, its concept is meh, its animation is on the lower tier of big releases.

But there is now a fourth one. Hotel Transylvania: Transformania. Why didn’t they just call it Hotel Transformania? The world will never know, because clearly the FOR is meant to indicate the fourth one.

This was set to come out early October last year, same day as The Addams Family 2 (which also wasn’t great), but sold to Amazon before hand. And then everyone was surprised when it wasn’t out. Turns out the release date wasn’t finalized. Early January next year? Fine.

And a lot of people also found out that Adam Sandler wasn’t even involved with this one. Only him and Kevin James cut the plug, every other older famous person remained. Why did they leave? Where did they go? Maybe only Cotton Eye Joe knows.

Unrelated, did they ever say why there are so many of Dracula’s friends at the hotel, all the time? They don’t work there right? Are they on some permanent free vacation at their friends place of business? Honestly, if this was a first movie question, I have forgotten by now. If so, those early movies are a good metaphor for how Adam Sandler’s movies have turned out the last decade.  He admitted that himself that his movies can just be paid vacations for him and his friends.

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Turning Jonathan into a monster is going to make some weird fanart porn now.

So what is up with the hotel of monsters?

Well, the 125th anniversary is happening, and of course, Jonathan (Andy Samberg) is fucking things up. They had a big evening planned, so he did a lot more nonsense to surprise Dracula (Brian Hull), who hates surprises. Honestly, calling Jonathan a clumsy person with a big heart at this point seems ridiculous, since he knows what Dracula prefers and ignores all of his well wishes when it comes to things for Dracula. That means Jonathan is really just doing it for himself, or at least, for exciting Mavis (Selena Gomez).

Dracula was going to announce his retirement and giving the hotel to Mavis (and technically, also, Jonathan since they are married), but they find out early and piss him off again, so he lies and says he can’t give Jonathan the hotel, since he isn’t a monster. Some old made up real estate law. And so Jonathan finds someone who has a transformation ray, that turns someone into monster or human, and sure, goes monster. Dracula knows this will piss off Mavis, so he does the thing he always does, tries to hide stuff and not communicate.

Sure enough, he gets turned human (and his friends do also), the ray gets broken, so Dracula and Jonathan have to go on a long perilous journey for another crystal. Eventually the friends and Mavis and them join too. They gotta switch everyone else back, damn it.

Also starring a lot of returning voices, you know, except for the two who weren’t. Brad AbrellFran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Jim Gaffigan, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan-Michael Key, Molly Shannon, and David Spade.

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Hey look, it is that scene with the monster ray! How fun. 

I don’t care if it is an animated film, but…characters should be able to grow and change over time? And having four movies in a row where Jonathan does the same mistakes, learns a lesson, then does the same sort of thing again isn’t growth. When Dracula distrusts his daughter making decisions, and lies to friends and family, learns a lesson, then does that same sort of thing again next movie isn’t growth. Adding children to a movie and more characters, isn’t growth.

What the heck is the point?

One of my least favorite parts of the third film was the extended dance sequences they decided to have with each monster doing the macarena. Slowly. Over and over. Multiple times in the movie. That was a bizarre waste of time. This movie tried to test me early on, as they had the Cha-Cha Slide and started to do the same thing. Thankfully, it didn’t last as long as the macarena, but I feel like it was done intentionally to troll me.

The movie itself isn’t great. There is no reason for most of the adventure. It could be saved a lot of time if they just…fly…further. They know a lot of monsters who can fly and travel. Fuck. Mavis in bat form could do most of the work in the country, go to the cave herself, and get a crystal from looking safe without all the danger. It is such a nonsensical journey adventure, that exists purely for the movie, when clearly there are many work arounds for it.

Why the hell did the Slime DJ turn into a jello dessert? The goddamn ray said HUMAN and MONSTER. It didn’t say revert to some non-monster form on it. It can take a non-human and make it human. That is it. They had a giant monster dog get zapped and it turned into a regular dog. That isn’t a human either. These are just fundamental issues that make up a movie of lazy writing.

I will say it is technically better than the third film for me. But only because it has less dance sequences. I guess they are turning this into a TV show, with different animation style. Or already did. I don’t know. I won’t watch it.

0 out of 4.

The Kissing Booth 3

Here we go, here we go, here we go.

First of all, I apologize for never writing out my review of The Kissing Booth 2. I had a lot to rant about and did it live in person a few times, but never got it all down on a review, and that made it worse since it made my worst film of the year last year.

So I knew with the final (better be) film I would make sure to jot it all down. The Kissing Booth 3, a movie that seemingly exists just to make it a trilogy, because they damn well could have finished the storylines established at the end of the 2nd film, but left it with a cliffhanger because they think resolving any aspect of a movie is pointless, I guess.

I am mostly fine with cliffhanger endings in general, in a planned series, but I also would demand that the film tells a complete story. Avengers: Infinity War ends with a sour note, kind of a cliffhanger (because the bad guy wins?) but it also tells a complete story and no one should leave unfulfilled. The second movie ended with a single decision to make and just suddenly decides to not do it.

Fuck that.

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Fuck this.
As you know, of course, the last time we left off, Elle (Joey King) not knowing where to go college. Harvard, or Berkeley. Because of course if she goes to Berkeley, which she has talked to going for years with her best friend Lee (Joel Courtney) and was their dream. But her boyfriend, Lee’s older brother, Noah (Jacob Elordi) is a year older and in Harvard. If she chooses to go there, she will pick her love life, her future, and you know, it is Harvard. Should she care about a promise to a best friend? Well, she is already lying to both of them saying she is wait listed on both, so she can take her time.

After a few weeks of travel with them and Lee’s girlfriend (Meganne Young), they still have a lot of summer left, and decide to go to Lee and Noah’s family beach house. But oh no! Their parents (Molly Ringwald, Morné Visser ) are going to sell the place after this summer! The kids somehow convince the parents to just let them live there the rest of the summer then, and they promise to clean it up and get it ready for the market. This is where Elle finds an old Beach Bucket list that she made with Lee. They decide to make it the best summer ever, especially since Elle has decided to go to Harvard.

But that isn’t all the plot! For example, her dad (Stephen Jennings) is maybe finding love after all these years, someone to help raise the much younger son (Carson White). And Elle hates it.

But that isn’t all the plot! Marco (Taylor Zakhar Perez) is still around, making Lee jealous. And Chloe (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) is still around, not making Elle jealous. Also Lee has to deal with the fact that he will be in a long term relationship with a girl he already has problems remembering, because he is a goddamn man-child. And Elle has to come to terms with the fact that she is in a relationship with Noah, who keeps having emotional bursts of jealousy (usually for good reasons), but also because he is a goddamn man-child. And Elle has to come to terms with her own shiftiness, because she is a goddamn womanchild.

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Wow, good pristine condition after 8-10 years. 

How does one start to talk about a movie, nay, a franchise, like The Kissing Booth. Something written by a teenager, and every aspect of that fact is obvious through every scene, decision, and dialogue choice.

The fact that it is called The Kissing Booth isn’t even an issue. It is, for all intents and purposes, a minor part of the first film and still fine to be a dialogue. The dialogue choices from the narrator to overhype the minor part, and constantly try to bring it back through relevance, is really what hurts. Because in the second movie, it has even less of a point on the plot, and of course, in the last movie, is just once again unnecessarily brought back up in the epilogue, six years in the future, because apparently that is where several characters need to meet up at and pretend they never really stayed in communication the times before that.  This aspect of the movie makes more sense if the movie was set in the 1920’s, where maybe there was never a kissing booth beside it, because then we could all understand the strange hype and obsession with it.

The main character Elle is a terrible person. And role model, in case anyone looks up to her for that. You can have movies about bad people, but usually those people have some sort of consequence for their action, or a really hard choice that they will live with for regret to get to their power. Important things to show that those who hurt are hurt in return. But Elle? The girl who actively cheated on her boyfriend while he was away at college, both physically and mentally, and kissed another boy publicly. The one who demanded all the free time of her best friend so much that he literally forgot about her girlfriend who for some reason stuck it with him.

So what does she do this movie? Well, she is more trusting of her boyfriend that he won’t cheat on her, which is great, because he never did. And she decides that means she can hang out and plan things with someone she did cheat on him with, who made it obvious he wants to still win her over? She also decides to get upset with her best friend who wants to do so many things with her, when it was both her idea to make him feel better for it (after lying for over a month) and she did the same thing last year with no care for repercussions?

Let’s be clear on the things that happen to Elle negatively this film. One, her dad is dating a woman and Elle gets mad at her, and lashes out cause of her other shit, over one of the worst board games ever made (Monopoly), and still doesn’t care, until her dad calls her out on her bullshit and makes her feel bad. Second bad thing that happens to her is her boyfriend broke up with her over her bullshit.

Wow. Well let us make it obvious. She has a lot of bullshit and keeps making mistakes and never learning from them. He should have never been with her over the events of The Kissing Booth 2.  But even more importantly, SHE SHOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN WITH HIM DUE TO THE EVENTS OF THE MOVIE THE KISSING BOOTH. Where he was shown to be emotionally abusive, and threatened other guys to leave her alone for years while he was on his own path of getting experience before trying out her. He is shown to not handle any really conversation or argument well time and time again, which is why he runs off and does dumb shit all the time. And so does she. They are both really bad people, which doesn’t make it a good fit for them. Nor does it warrant spending three movies to talk about this relationship.

The problem with this movie is the impressions it leaves on people. Since there is almost no real consequences for any of the characters being terrible, it just helps reinforce that being terrible is a great thing for people to be. After all, look at all the fun they are having. Did you see those costumes? [Editor’s Important Note: Why the fuck does the go-kart track at a water park have stands for people to watch. Do people just sit there all day and look for exciting basic races? It was more than just a parent sitting area.]

I could talk so much about the other technical problems with the movie. Like how all over the place it is in time. When was it set? When did they make the beach bucket list? Why is going to Berkeley on a beach bucket list? Why would they hide it in a hidden time box if the goal was to actually complete it, and they went to the beach every summer? Why does the box have a Super Nintendo Mario Kart design, as if it was set in the 90’s? That goes with my earlier question about time. Because things on the list don’t make sense for various age groups they would have written it.

This is a trilogy that trivializes high school, relationships, proper communication, and the ability to fucking apologize.

0 out of 4.

Vanquish

What can a reviewer even say about a movie like Vanquish?

Not a lot it turns out, as I struggled at the end of this review. But when I saw the poster for the movie, it was one that immediately let me know it wouldn’t be that good. It is the kind of cover that you only see on a Redbox catalogue and choose to never watch it. It is the kind of movie that if you saw advertised on a billboard that you would assume has been up there for decades and forgot about.

Also, guns as wings? Is it some angel of death?

Oh just don’t hurt me too much, Vanquish film.

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Ah fuck, blue tones, my greatest weakness. 

Victoria (Ruby Rose) is just a single mom trying to make it in the world. She is doing the best she can, one day at a time. Until her daughter gets KIDNAPPED.

Okay, it turns out Victoria used to be drug smuggler or deliverer. She was involved with some bad people who did bad things, but not her, right?

So who kidnapped her kid? Well, Morgan Freeman of course! No not the actual one, a retired cop named Damon (Morgan Freeman) who apparently is jaded and angry and needs to threaten Victoria with kid-killing at this point in his life. What does Victoria need to do to get her kid back? Well, you know, just kill a lot of people.

A whole night of killing of bad people under a threat. Ah yes, what a night.

Also starring Patrick Muldoon, Nick Vallelonga, Julie Lott, and Hannah Stocking.

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Let’s call this support for solid mask usage. Or at least visor usage. 

Not only is Vanquish forgettable, it is potentially website destroyable. I wrote this review earlier in the day and published it and saw it and it was on my computer, and now it isn’t. This is my second write through. This writing is apparently better, to be honest. It has more filler and more words because I gave that first version little attention, because the movie Vanquish was not worth my attention.

But here is goes again. Vanquish is not only bad, it is boring. It is not only boring, it was a waste of time. It was not only a waste of time, it was also bad.

None of the acting is good in this film. Freeman probably has a 10% good rate these last few years. He has phoned it in enough that he has a payphone booth up his ass. I barely know anything about Rose, but as a lead in this film I never cared about her character. It was just one bland and tasteless action scene after another. And occasionally the filter pissed me off too, for style reason.

If you want me to like your movie, make a good movie. I don’t care about your digital effects.

0 out of 4.

Roe v. Wade

In the 1970’s, the Supreme Court ruled in a 7-2 decision that a woman did have a right up to a decision without a lot of government restrictions. There were rules of course, following science, other things, not just abortions on demand throughout the entire pregnancy. And this seemed to make some people upset and they decided to continue to attack that ruling for the next, what, 50 years at this point? Almost 50 years?

There have been movies before about Roe v Wade, documentaries too. Getting information out there about the trial. It is unfortunately one of the more polarizing rulings, and used as a political rallying cry for some, where no other policy matters more than this one.

And hey, every few years, a new big attack comes against it, including a changing of Supreme Court justices and new Congress people trying to undo the decision. A lot of the attacks also come from a planned efforts across various state governments to continually make new and similar laws, limiting and stopping abortions along the way, begging that their case will one day making it to the Supreme Court as another attempt to get an update on a ruling.

Is this movie about Roe v Wade? Well…

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Don’t you hate it when an actor you appreciated turns out to be so clueless.

In 1973, the ruling happened that allowed abortions nationally. But what about the fight leading up to the ruling? Well, if you want more information on that… then you should probably stay away from this movie. Read a Wikipedia, it will give a more detailed and accurate account.

Yes, theoretically, that is what this movie is supposed to be about. The lawsuits, the rise up the courts, the retrials, and the major players, but it isn’t worth anyone’s time to watch. If you wanted to be lied to for almost two hours you could just go to your parent’s house.

But still, at least, let’s go through the actor list. I felt like including everyone. Everyone! We got…
Corbin Bernsen, Greer Grammer, James DuMont, Jamie Kennedy, Jarrett Ellis Beal, Joey Lawrence, John Schneider, Jon Voight, Justine Wachsberger, Lucy Davenport, Milo Yiannopoulos, Mindy Robinson, Nick Loeb, Richard Portnow, Robert Davi, Stacey Dash, Steve Guttenberg, Tom Guiry, Tomi Lahren, Wade Williams, and William Forsythe.

You know if Milo Yiannopoulos and Tomi Lahren make your movie acting list, you got clearly high standards.

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A representation of hopefully the amount of people who watch this movie.

What can I say about this film that isn’t obvious? Sure, technically, it is just a movie, and its relation to reality shouldn’t matter. There is no Batman. There is no Thor. But that only becomes a problem if they are taking a real event and presenting their movie as fact, when it is extremely biased with an agenda. The agenda that is to say that Roe v Wade should be overturned at all costs and abortions is bad.

Again, intent definitely matters. It is a bad movie in its own right, but the point of the film leads nothing to be desired. Although not technically a Christian film, it does a similar tactic. Christian films are usually low quality and poor, because they aren’t made to convert anyone, they are just made to reaffirm people already on their side. People not on this extreme right side would see this film as clunky and ridiculous, while those on that side would just add more points for their arguments later. After all, why else would we have a main character be a professor who just gets to argue with and own his liberal students all the time?

Characters on the abortion side are seen to be evil, or greedy, or both. We have an abortion doctor literally go into an empty Catholic church to yell at god and do a variation of the Epicurus quote in a moment of anger at his life. They claim women were all misled to think this has anything to do with women’s rights and are just sheep in the fight who can’t listen. More and more nonsense occurs, including saying that the chief justices were blackmailed into their saying.

One thing the film has right is that the pro-choice side had better advertising and more support on their side, and funds to help fight this battle. They talk about using shows to talk about abortion positively, sure. They said they wish their side have more. And I guess this is one of their attempts at having media on their side, releasing an extreme biased portrait of events and calling them fact. It isn’t the first film to do this from their side and won’t be the last. We just had Unplanned two years ago (my worst film of that year).

But worst of all, worse than any other part of this, was the annoying Sepia tone they had throughout it to help indicate that it was the past. It made it gross to look at. And this is a film that tried to throw in gross extreme scenes of abortions when trying to convince people their movie was fact.

Also fun fact, they filmed this movie in secrecy, and had crew members of all levels walk out and locations kick them out because of hiding the point of their movie. They had the director walk out in day 1 once he realized their actual goal, leading the writers (and one main star) to become the directors.

Turns out making really obvious propaganda films can be difficult to sign on unless you lie to them. Take that knowledge with you if you watch this film.

0 out of 4.

The Never List

Never have I ever….made a list.

Actually, now that I made that dumb first sentence, I will note that there has been a few horror films based on dumb drinking games. We’ve had Truth or Dare. Would You Rather. Has there been a strange horror movie made on Never Have I Ever? Someone needs to get on that if not.

The Never List is not a horror film, or based on a dumb teenage drinking game. But it is horrible, and it is dumb, but I will get more on that later.

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Hey look, they cloned Olivia Munn and made her young again. 

Eva (Fivel Stewart) and Liz (Brenna D’Amico) are best friends. Known each other their whole lives. Eva is a bit of an overachiever and doer-, Liz is a bit more wild, but they hang out, pretend to be rock stars, draw and like the same things. It is a good relationship.

It was good. Until Liz had to go and die one night, presumably in a car crash (they don’t really explicitly say). Eva is now devastated. Her best friend. Gone. During her junior year of high school, which is usually one of the top 4 hardest years in high school. Eva has a lot going on. She agreed to run for class president for her senior year. She is trying to pick out a junior prom theme. She is trying to get good grades for colleges. Her parents (Keiko Agena, Matt Corboy), especially her mom, are making sure she is always doing things to make her life in the future better.

Well, Liz and Eva had made up cartoon characters that they drew in stories. They were actually more badass than either of them. And they would make up things for them to do, that neither of them would ever dream of doing. It made up their Never List, because they are good girls, damn it. In a moment of weakness, Eva decides to sexually assault someone running in the park, one of the items on the list! (Well, it was to pinch a stranger’s ass, and she did it, so I am not wrong with my description).

Liz has a lot going on, and she wants to just throw it all away to be an artist. She wants to raise money for a summer program with her favorite graphic novelist, because her parents would never agree to that. And sure, if she gets stuff done on the list, that would also be swell. Who cares if she throws away the rest of her life in the process. Grief is weird I guess?

Also starring Andrew Kai, Anna Grace Barlow, Jonathan Bennett, and Ryan Cargill.

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Hey, you know what really helps with grief? Cocaine. 

Normally this sort of film, which plays out like a made for TV movie, would be the type of thing I still probably would have avoided and given a 1 out of 4 if I had to see it. It isn’t fun, or dramatic, not sure which way it really wants to go. It is pretty damn basic. The things on the list range from harmless, to sexual assault. Not just ass pinching. She needs to trick someone into taking Viagra to embarrass him in public. This leads to a bunch of homophobic slurs being used, and the movie does a really poor job of quelling that aspect. Like…really poor.

The acting was really low across the board. Especially when it came to the sad scenes about the characters death. Just absolutely unbelievable acting. It was also true in the extremely predictable pot brownie scene. And the extremely predictable lies to protect people scenes. Yeah, that is all this is.  Predictable garbage.

But what really put me over the hump to make this a 0 instead of a 1, was the bad audio in two music based scenes. There is a concert scene, and then later on during junior prom, a live singing scene. Both of them sounded so fake and clearly just audio being played it allowed for zero emersion. The club had no noise and chatter and rough sounds, and people talking or cheering or shouting. It was bizarre. And the ending fun scene went from regular talking to, oh, this singer is a superstar, different voice, music appears, background vocals, you name it.

I don’t think I am petty here. It was just already a bad movie. And just things like what I mentioned above, combined with the acting and assault stuff, in this year, just seems like a bad movie from the 90’s coming out 20 years too late. Shit, maybe that actually is a young Olivia Munn? Who knows.

0 out of 4.

Secret Magic Control Agency

When I first found out about Secret Magic Control Agency, I figured I was definitely not going to watch that movie. Its poster/images just screamed a straight to DVD, low effort, low budget, animated film. I loathe those types. They always make me so angry. They are extremely basic on story, and hide behind the fact that they are a kids film in order to say they don’t have to stand up to the quality expectations of an adult.

Fuck that noise. Kids deserve quality too. Should we only ever feed our kids hot dogs, and never let them try pork roasts, or steaks, or turkey? No. Kids can know good stuff exists too, even if it means coming to terms with the fact that a lot of basic stuff out there is, in fact, basic, and not worth their time.

So why did I watch it? Because it actually released on Netflix. A much bigger platform than expected, so I need to check it out quick to see if it is worth time before people get stuck wasting their own time potentially. Or you know. maybe it was great and I needed to spread the word.

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Corgis, by definition, are low effort as well. 

In this magical kingdom based on (checks notes), ugh, fairy tales, we have kings and queens and magic users and all of that. But because of shenanigans in the past, magic is now regulated by the Secret Magic Control Agency. I guess they are like the CIA force of this world. I don’t know what they actually do most of the time (make sure people doing magic have the appropriate bureaucratic paperwork? Capture people using magic like a villain?) but right now they have a very important job. The king was kidnapped!

Led astray by some mysterious food. Oh no. So the agency is going to get one of their top up and coming agents on it. Gretel (Courtney Shaw)! Why just one person? No, the powers that be think they need to get a thief as well to join her, someone who knows how to lie (something that the agency should be able to handle given their normal job functions…?) and they specifically search out Hansel (Nicholas Corda / Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld). Yes. Siblings.

But they are grown up, one is a charlatan, the other a law enforcer. And they want them to work together to get the king back before everyone realizes he is gone. So they have to put away their differences and you know, do that.

Also featuring the voice work of Erica Schroeder, Johanna Elmina Moise, Marc Thompson, Mike Pollock, and Tyler Bunch.

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Captured but unlimited dessert? There are worse places to be. 

Low. Effort. Films. That could be enough of my analysis and end, but I guess I will be specific.

This could have been a generic fantasy film about completely new entities. But they decided no, we NEED this to be Hansel and Gretel. Why? WHY? The fact that they are these characters doesn’t do really anything for this story. They make a bread crumb way back home reference. There is one line about the Grimm Brothers writing up their shenangians, but in charge of changing the details to make it sound like a story instead to…hide the truth? From who? Is this set in the past in this world? This has a lot of advanced stuff in here, and wouldn’t make sense to be set in our own world, let alone the past. That is a bad joke and they should feel bad.

The only thing they needed for the plot would be to have a brother and sister. Almost all of this is new material. Just because something is on the public domain, doesn’t mean it has to be used. No child is going to be picking movies and be iffy about this film, but see that it has H&G and go “Oh shit, hold on momma, this got my favorites in it lets get it!”. No one cares and it just makes an already lazy movie feel more lazy.

Honestly, if this was an original story that wasn’t relying on name recognition of aspects in order to tell a story, it would fall easily in the 1 out of 4 territory, because at least there was effort. But the lack of effort just pisses me off, especially when the makers would probably acknowledge that this film isn’t great themselves. They would just mark it off as a kids movie and say it works for that level, and that is unacceptable.

0 out of 4.

The Terrible Adventure

Along my travels as a movie reviewer, I have certainly seen some things. I have seen the best of movies, and I have seen the worst of movies. I have seen movies you haven’t heard about before, and those that destroyed the box office. I have seen movies in movie festivals that eventually saw the light of day, and those that stayed in the darkness forever.

I have seen many a good and bad movie. I have seen many a great and a terrible movie.

I have seen so much. I have seen a movie that filmed scenes inside of a house with the first battery alarm going off and no one thought to stop it, creating a disjointed mess, where one angle it was going off and the other it was not. I have seen a movie starring one person talking to others on the phone the entire time.

And yet despite everything, I was still not prepared for The Terrible Adventure.

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Nothing could prepare me for this child and the rest of the cast. 

Okay, here we go. Olivia Johnson (Olivia Thompson) and Jackson Johnson (Jackson Thompson) are two kids, in a nice part of Florida, being kids or whatever. Their dad, Brad (Brett Engle) is going through a divorce with their mom, Janet (Jillian Chiappone). And she is an outright horrible person for some reason, yelling, throwing stuff, whatever, Olivia finds it funny.

A billionaire (Ron Beau Phillips) who owns an ice cream company, Huncha Muncha, which appears to just be ice cream sandwiches and that is it. He is holding a contest in various parts of the world. On his ice cream bars is different questions, and if you know one of them, you will get to move on to the next round. This is a scavenger hunt with “harder and harder” questions, with a big money prize at the end. And I guess it is meant to be region based the scavenger hunt, so many of these going around the world. Whatever.

Because of their parents divorce and job problems, Olivia gets a bar and solves the first problem because she likes science. She gets her brother involved and they go on an adventure on their own to try and get more and more clues to solve this stuff.

Oh, and for some reason along the way, there is a corrupt ice cream truck man (Santo Curatolo) who hires a homeless guy (Ciro Dobric) who is also corrupt, and they just keep following our kids trying to take the clues and continue on for the big prize.

Also starring Kristina Maria Day as a spy.

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“I don’t like cream on my face…not a drop!” 

It was only a few minutes in, maybe ten, when I realized I was watching something that may end up being one of the worst films created of all time. I will describe the scene.

A sports car drives up into the driveway and lawn of our main characters house. A blonde woman gets out and starts yelling at the dad. Just insulting him over what feels like nothing. he then starts throwing the last of his “things” at him, including art, and microwaves, and he just stands there being disheveled. This stuff gets get broken and destroyed! She continues to berate him, before driving off. All of the while, the main character Olivia sits there on her bike behind her dad, just smirking and giving the most “Oh you” face known to existence. Like this is humorous, her parents divorce and yelling and stuff being broken. Then they drive off.

That is when I realized this was not an ordinary bad movie, this was a top of the line bad movie. This is a movie that didn’t give a fuck about telling a good story, or acting, or dialogue. This was going for comedy, in a sense that no one would find it funny.

I also noticed it sounded really weird during this scene. I realized quickly that this dialogue was recorded not live during the scene, but at some other point. I realized it first when I noticed that the mouths didn’t always match up with the dialogue. I noticed it more when I realized it had absolutely no outside sounds, just complete perfect vocal track and that is all. This audio issue persisted throughout the movie. It wasn’t just one redone scene. (I cannot confirm the whole movie had to redo the audio), but it was certainly a lot of it.

And it was certainly true for every scene with the ice cream men, who started to feel completely fake, with the voices that came out of the men. They might have actually done the audio, but because it matched so badly, it was like watching a dubbed film except there was no reason for it to be dubbed.

This film lacked any amount of humor outside of slapstick. It had a basic story, that was also hard to follow due to its own implausibility. The contest didn’t even make sense, nor did it apparently have anyone actually trying to solve it.

This film was made to showcase Florida and to talk about Global Warming, but no one will give a fuck about a message if your film is a piece of shit.

The director and writer, Kel Thompson, is the literal dad of the two kid stars. They even have their actual real name as their character names. They have no acting talent and it shows. They tried to go out of their way to make them smart, but the only way to do that was to put them near two characters who had a -3 intelligence. The kid actors weren’t even given an IMDB page like the rest of the cast. How can you have an IMDB page where your two main characters aren’t even listed in the credits apparently?

And when they got dirty and went home and went to bed, why did they never clean? Why did they not change clothes? Why did it stay that way?

We even have at one point a very white male character playing someone Hispanic, doing a pretty racist accent reminiscent of Speedy Gonzalez.

I could go on and on about how terrible this film is, but there is no point. Statistically, zero people will watch this movie who see this review, and you likely would have never seen it out either. I can’t for the life of me figure out at what stage the people involved realized this was shit. But I hope that it did happen at some point. I can’t imagine them living a life this distorted from reality to think any of this was worth their time or ours.

0 out of 4.

Sensation

I got a feeling, inside my bones. It goes electric when I turn it…on? (Wait, it should be electric before being turned on. To be turn onable one would assume you have electric capabilities already, but what do I know).

Sorry, I am not here to criticize Mr. Timberlake, that was a different review. I am here to talk about different feelings a person might have, or at least, different sensations.

The movie Sensation is made in not-America (this time Canada!)  and it is an independent film that deals with themes of superhero potential and potential virtual worlds. What is real? What is not? It can be the next mind explosion or it can be a drop in the water and no one care for it. Which will it be…which will it be…which will it be…

bench
Ah yes, time to get on roofs, look out on the city, and think about feelings. 

Andrew Cooper (Eugene Simon), no relationship to Anderson Cooper (probably), does have some questions about his genetics. He submitted his DNA to a testing facility, to find out about his medical history and real history, all of that, and apparently things have gone awry since then.

Long story short, he is special. More special than the other special people. He might even have some super powers. He might be able to see that his reality isn’t a reality, and be able to distort things because shit isn’t real anyways. Can he get powers from emotions? We shall see!

But what even is reality? Maybe everything is a lie and this shit is fake.

These mind fucks also feature Emily Wyatt, Jennifer Martin, Marybeth Havens, Alastair G. Cumming, Anil Desai, Kai Francis Lewis, Alex Reid, and Lorraine Tai.

bus
Is this bus real? If it is a real bus, where did the roof go? Hmm?!

If that plot description sounded vague, that is because 98% of this film went in my brain and out the other. It never once made me care about the people in it, or what they were saying. I remember only a few scenes, just days later, and the ending, but it is not like it is an ending I want to remember.

This movie takes ideas from other films, crams a few of them together, and leaves nothing desirable at the same time. I wouldn’t say the ending is predictable in that I knew how it would end. But it was predictable in that I knew it wouldn’t feel satisfying or justify the time spent watching Sensation.

Fuck. I went in a little excited based on the plot line of this one. No one made me know of this films existence, I found out about it on my own from a VOD release site. I didn’t go in wanting it to be bad. But it was just so full of drivel and rehashed other plots that it had no chance of keeping my interest.

You all probably won’t see it, because you probably didn’t know it even existed, so this warning won’t mean much. But definitely do not waste your time.

0 out of 4.

A Week Away

You know what is exactly one week away from today? Whatever day it is today again! Hooray never changing cyclical weeks of 7 days!

The only thing I knew about A Week Away going into it was that it was about a troubled teen and maybe a musical. A musical I never heard about? You certainly have my attention, random movie drop on Netflix. In fact, its musicalness is why I decided to not watch it on my phone but instead at a better place/time when I could give it my full attention.

With musicals I need to pay attention to the dances, the plot, the lyric choices, how they filmed various fun scenes, all of that. I can’t just give it a listen and a half watch.

It turns out, A Week Away is exactly worth an eighth of a watch.

fists
At least they are all fans of black power. 

Will (Kevin Quinn) is some troubled kid. He is in the foster system, both parents dead, and he is just completely rambunctious. We are talking something ridiculous like, 80 schools in 2 years. That is an exaggeration on my part, but whatever they said in the movie was larger than what should be likely as well. He is about to go back to juvenile detention because no one else will take him in. Oh noooo. “Please I can change despite my arrests and saying I can change before!”

So he gets a shot. A mother (Sherri Shepherd) and a similar aged boy, George (Jahbril Cook). They aren’t taking him in, but they are going to take him to a week long camp. Will thinks that is quite dumb, but its better than Juvie, so fine. And when he gets there, he sees all the happy teenage kids his age, also wearing no branded clothing, and they sing a song together and mention…God?

“Wait, this is a Jesus camp” both Will and the audience will say together at some point. Did I misshear a lyric? Did they say God was a glorious leader? That sounds like North Korea stuff. Anyways. Not only is this a church camp that Will got sucked into. This is also a religious film that you got sucked into, and you had no idea! Me neither! At least the second song hints at the theme and the third song makes it quite damn obvious.

Anyways. Will has to do camp things, which is great, because he likes a girl Avery (Bailee Madison), and he will lie about his past, to help his team win the camp stuff against the other teams, and also help other romances.

Also starring Iain Tucker, Kat Conner Sterling, and David Koechner. Wait, Koechner? Todd Packer from The Office? And all of those crude and crass roles? Why is he in a religious film? Is he part of the trickery to swindle people into watching it?

guitar
Is there anything more dangerous than a white boy with a guitar?

I feel duped, I really do. I was excited to watch a musical about who knows what, that came in under the radar and no prior hype from me. I was ready for it. Musicals are a rare commodity. But faith films are not that rare, and generally most of the time, they are pretty darn bad. I do actively avoid most of them it turns out for that reason. Every once in awhile you can get a big movie that is faith based and not terrible, but they are huge exceptions, for many reasons. 

A Week Away is not a bad movie because it is a faith film, however, it is just a regular bad movie. I am not sure if it is going for the High School Musical crowd, if so, they are like a decade too late. That is definitely how I can describe this one, with better camera work (like from HSM3). But it turns out half of this movie is a Jukebox musical, as they take already existing songs. Did I know any of these songs before hand? No. but I know how to research and I know how many of the songs felt very shoehorned in.

Darn it. To make a good musical, the songs need to give the characters growth. It needs to express things that words cannot do on their own. It cannot just be generic music, which a lot of the songs in this film end up feeling generic. Oh we want to do a remake of a song named Dive? That mentions rivers? Let’s just have the characters sing it on the beach of the lake, because water references. Boom. Musical song made.

Jukebox musicals are easy because hey, music is already written. Jukebox musicals are hard, because you need to take something already written and it has to adapt super hard to your work in a unique way so that it isn’t just a song being sung that kind of sort of deals with the topics. What would happen in RENT if instead of La Vie Boheme, they just sang some pop song about never giving up or whatever? It would have no emotion or feeling behind it. And that is true for most of the songs in this movie. They feel like they just want to do pop (slightly elevated Kidz Bop) religious songs that don’t help the story. 

The story itself is weak. I don’t know why it is a religious camp with so little religious stuff going on. It seems to be just an activity camp focused entirely on sports and games between three teams. And I guess that is church camp now? They go out of there way to even call a day Sunday, and no church happens that day. There is one scene around a bonfire that is Church-y, and who knows when that is supposed to take place. It can’t even commit to its theme.

I will say, the point system doesn’t make a lot of sense for the camp. The final talent show is crap. Having every single event center on our main people, in their boring sort of romances, including every game and activity is bizarre. Why did they have moment to even have sign up for events at the beginning if ever team already did every event? Come on now.

Heed my warning. Do not be fueled into the musical that is bad, but also a faith film that even tackles the subject of faith poorly. 

0 out of 4.

Taking a Shot At Love

For the longest time on Gorgon Reviews, we have not bothered to watch most made for TV films. There are of course exceptions. For example, I did watch and review A Deadly Adoption on the Lifetime Channel because it was also a parody of lifetime channel films, and had some big names attached.

But Hallmark and Lifetime churn out so many romance and drama films that go straight to their network, with very low budgets, and some famous names, but basic scripts. It is a known joke. If I started to review them, I would have to dedicate basically all of my movie time towards them and nothing else. Or cancel all of my hobbies and jobs. Either way. I think it is easier to ignore them. If we all already accept they are bad and nothing has ever changed that fact, then we don’t need a weekly reminder.

But yet here I am, now reviewing, unprompted, a Hallmark channel movie. This one being called Taking a Shot At Love. I did it because I saw it existed, and saw it was a love story involving hockey and said fuck it, let’s take a shot at Taking A Shot At Love.

coffee
And take a walk at Taking a Walk At Noon. 

Jenna (Alexa PenaVega, oh shit, the Spy Kid!) is a ballet instructor to the youths of a very rich New England small town community. You know. One of those extremely white places. And I don’t say that just because it is set in winter and there is snow. It is small enough that she is one of two ballet/dance teachers, while the other one is a dance TEAM who goes on to compete. And she just wants to teach dance for the love of dance, because she hates competition and putting that extra anger and stress on others/kids. But, she is losing dancers to the team, and the time commitment, and rent is going up, and and and and.

In New York City, we have famous hockey player Ryan “Coop” Cooper (Luke Macfarlane). He is battling some ankle injury, that affects his skate. He has seen a lot of specialists and had the surgeries, but there is something still off about it. He wants to get back on the ice and help the New York Rangers win stuff, and he is a great scorer, but if he can’t skate well, he can’t play.  His agent (Kurt Long) happens to be cousins with Jenna, and she went through the same injury but got 100% better. How? By going back to the basics of ballet, and reworking her skills from the ground up.

So sure, lets send Ryan to her guest house and studio for a month of 1 on 1 ballet training, to see if that will work for him, since they tried everything else.

And sure enough, these very different people, are gonna grow to hate each other and blow up the small community. Wait. No. Opposite. Love and stuff. Got cha.

Also starring Nolen Dubuc so we can have a main kid figure for them to bodn of, Heather-Claire Nortey so it isn’t 100% white, and Andrew Dunbar to give side plot problems to this story.

air hockey
I guess air hockey is like a bonus hockey reference.

If I focused entirely on Lifetime and Hallmark movies, I could tell you if this one was better or worse than the majority of those sort of movies. And I haven’t, which is a good reason why I won’t just randomly try to pick and choose any of these in the future too often, because it just isn’t fair to the genre. Because I have to compare this movie just to all movies I have seen before and well, it is definitely not great.

Anyways. Compared to other films, Taking a Shot at Love is indeed bad.

There never feels like any real conflict in the film, in terms of ways for the characters to grow or overcome anything. The entire film just feels like filler. Oh, we don’t have enough actual romance to work between our leads? Let’s have a side character be bitter about hockey in general because of real life circumstances kept him from getting drafted. (These real life circumstances were a choice and….a very bad choice in terms of helping his family it seems like). Let’s have literally one kid on the ballet team, one of the two boys, be able to recognize him and need help with hockey so that there is a kid figure but neither of their own kids.

The romance happens because the script says it happens. I can’t say there is real chemistry between the characters, outside of them be youthful-ish and attractive and good at their skills. There is no performance from anyone in the movie worthy of note. I am surprised the New York Rangers let them use their image.

Also, this takes place in winter, but unless I misunderstood a conversation early on…they implied the team was already done with round 1 of the playoffs. Which wouldn’t be happening until April in a normal year. Not during winter. The player wanted to get back on round 2, so he could help with that round. And instead is sent for a whole month to get fixed. Are they still in the second round of the playoffs then? Is this the finals now? Who knows. Definitely not the writers of the movie.

0 out of 4.