Tag: Douglas Smith

The Bye Bye Man

So many January films, so little time. In January, most of my reviews were of Oscar quality films, trying to catch up before the Awards ceremony of everything that would be nominated. So I missed a lot of January releases, and to be fair, a lot of them didn’t even have prescreenings.

The Bye Bye Man had a prescreening, it just wasn’t worth me leaving my house for.

January horror films can be some of the worst things to sit through. For some unknown reason, they really want to make January the second scariest movie after October. They really don’t have to try that hard though, given the quality of the movies that come out in that month.

It would be hard to find someone that isn’t scared of how bad things like I, Frankenstein are.

Yeah, still not as scary as The Legend of Hercules.

A long time ago, some weirdo with a rifle decided to kill his friends and family in a small suburb, then he killed himself. He kept saying “Don’t Think It, Don’t Say It.”

Now lets fast forward to the now times. A group of kids in college, ready to take over the world. We got Elliot (Douglas Smith), his girlfriend Sasha (Cressida Bonas), and their friend John (Lucien Laviscount). They get a house together off campus, you know, for college things.

Eventually, Elliot starts seeing some weird things occur with a coin they find in a night stand. This night stand is something they just bought in a sale and brought over to furnish the place. It is full of strange writing, erratic, “Don’t Think It, Don’t Say It,” like a crazy person.

Blah blah blah, a seance happens in their place, from another friend (Jenna Kanell), and things get even more trippy. The friends start to hallucinate, thinking of this Bye Bye Man fellow (Doug Jones), with a dog, and train sounds. Just acknowledging his existence is enough to get him to mess with your life, and so the more people you talk to about him, the more people who will die or get killed. Hooray!

Also featuring Carrie-Anne Moss, Erica Tremblay, and Michael Trucco.

This part is amusing if you imagine Abe Sapien from Hellboy coming at you instead.

You know what, if I was just analyzing the plot, or the acting, or the characters themselves, this would be an easy 0 out of 4. But I was intrigued by one, and only one aspect of the movie. The camera work was top notch. The opening scene really sort of drew the viewer in, with a few longer takes, having this random guy take a rifle and shoot his family and neighbors.

I really enjoyed the opening, which had a tragic moment happen in the bright sunlight, it felt fresh. And when it got modern, the film got darker. More scenes took place at night, or with tinted lenses to really give that…modern edgy look or whatever to them. Because now we are dealing with college students, living on their own, party party! The film got notably uglier, but the camera work was still pretty decent from my point of view.

And yet, that is the only positive notes. As I already said, plot bad, acting bad, characters bad. Tone was bad too. Mythos for The Bye Bye Man was all over the place. It really made writing the whole movie quite easy when you can just say the characters hallucinate whatever with extreme detail to get them to do anything. It feels lazy.

Also our star, Douglas Smith? Honestly, he has such an uncharismatic face, it is annoying to watch him for most of this film. Which is mean. I don’t hate you as a person Douglas Smith, but you don’t match the role that you were given.

This film is an easy pass, but it will probably have thirty sequels, because YOLO.

1 out of 4.

Miss Sloane

Miss Sloane, that’s a lady, and they want you to know that the lady is not married.

Miss Sloane is a strong independent woman who don’t need no man in her life. Or she doesn’t have time for a man in her life, one of those things.

Miss Sloane is the type of woman that Ne-Yo craves and Kelly Clarkson wishes she could be.

Miss Sloane is so god damn independent, she doesn’t even share the poster with any other person, which is hard in this man led world.

I had to struggle to find a picture from this film with an important character sharing the frame with Miss Sloane.

Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain), is a lobbyist, and powerful one at that. Normally she deals with tax issues, but the big wigs in her firm (Sam Waterston) want her to get into the gun laws. They are big and powerful groups with a lot of money, so if they join them, they can all get paid. They want her to help them get the women voters to show up and vote against gun bills. To re-frame the image of the woman using a gun for equality, not of the mom crying over her shot children.

And Sloane just laughs at that. It is preposterous, it goes against what she believes in and it is a ridiculous strategy. She is so against it, she takes an offer from a small, third tier firm who is trying to help pass the gun bill on morality alone.

And yes, it is just a bill requiring back ground checks, and no, bills like that never get enough Senate approval because the gun lobby is strong. But she wants to take her team and defeat it, not just because she knows she can do it, but because it is the right thing, damn it.

Rodolfo Schmidt (Mark Strong) is the head of the smaller firm, Pat Connors (Michael Stuhlbarg) is her former boss and now main rival, Jane Molloy (Allison Pill) is her former assistant who refused to move with her, Ron M. Sperling (John Lithgow) is a senator who will lead a committee against her, Esme Manucharian (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) a strong anti-gun lobbyist who was also the victim of gun violence, Forde (Jake Lacy) is her new male escort, and Ennis Esmer/Douglas Smith play two of her lobby lackies.

She commands the screen and camera, allowing no one else to even be focused!

Miss Sloane clocks in at over 2 hours, which is honestly surprising after the fact, as it seemed to fly by. There is so much political intrigue, all fictional, but still enough to keep me at the edge of my seat.

I expected this to be the sort of film where Chastain would be carrying the film on her shoulders and the people around her wouldn’t matter as much. And yes, Chastain was wonderful in the film, but other actors put up pretty decent performances as well. I was most impressed with Mbatha-Raw whom has been putting out pretty decent performances lately, and Strong who gave a more subtle performance than normal. He is not in a lot of dramas (don’t send me letters explaining why I am wrong).

There are of course a lot of twists and turns, given that Sloane is meant to be this excellent tactician, who always has back up plans and wants to keep the other side surprised, playing a trump card right after their own trump card. This allows surprises, but also gives us a character that becomes more and more unbelievable.

I have before complained about the character who is so smart, plans were put into action that require a dozen things to go right, but of course they do, because they are so smart. They take me out of the film real quick and usually put me on edge. And in a way, the ending does that. Everything gets wrapped up so neatly, even if not everyone good comes out on top, that it just seems annoying.

Technically a minor complaint, but a crutch too many films want to rely on to prove their point.

Miss Sloane is topically relevant and still a good ride for those who want to learn an exaggerated amount about lobbyists.

3 out of 4.


Since the Transformers franchise, Hasbro has realized it can print money by having their product turned into loud explosive military forces commercials. So they started to branch out. G.I. Joe movies happened and people were either disappointed or okay with them. Okay. Sure.

Then they said, screw it, let’s turn board games into movies, not just toys. And that is why we have the atrocity that is Battleship.

And maybe after all their action films, they realized that action doesn’t have to be their only go to genre. Why not horror? That is what the kids love these days. Maybe a nice soft PG-13 horror, to get more money and revitalize one of their games. So we all hope that means they are making a new Clue Movie (that could never be as good as the original)? Nope. We are getting fucking Ouija.

This just makes me not want to floss. Are you out to ruin our teeth too, Hasbro?!

Everyone knows for Ouija (/spirit) boards, they only work if someone knows they don’t work and they make their hand move the piece around. You can trick your little bitch friends and get a laugh out of it. Haha, big joke. Well, Debbie Galardi (Shelley Hennig) never really got over it when she played as a kid. She has always felt haunted by it. And now she is in a house alone, found the board in the attic and played by herself, which is a big no no. Next thing you know, boom, she hanged herself. Hey now, it’s just a shitty game.

Needless to say, people find this news troubling. Especially Laine Morris (Olivia Cooke), Debbie’s best friend who also introduced her to the game a long time ago. Eeek. Oh, and I guess Debbie’s old boyfriend, Pete (Douglas Smith), who was in a sexual relationship with her. He is beating himself off up over this for not seeing the signs.

Well, Laine wants to just try one thing before she is willing to let her friend go. And we know what she wants to do. She wants to Ouija board it up to see if they can speak to her, because she thinks something is up.

So she gathers her boyfriend (Daren Kagasoff), her sister (Ana Coto), their friend (Bianca A. Santos), and Pete and they Ouija it up. And hey, someone answered.

But is it Debbie or someone that contacted Debbie?

Come on, you know it’s the latter. Let’s not forget Lin Shaye, she is in this movie like a lot of recent horrors. But we can forget Sierra Heuermann, because I don’t like typing out her last name and want to not do it anymore.

Lens of Truth
This is the worst depiction of a Lens Of Truth that I have ever seen.

PG-13 (or lower, if they exist?) horror movies are a bane to the genre. We aren’t say that you need swearing, tits, or gore to be scary, but disturbing violence and terror is something they have given to make a movie R before, and I have to assume PG-13 would just be slight or mild terror.

If I had to describe the terror in this movie, I would call it extra mild. Like, no one should find any part of this movie at all scary. Nothing about the board itself is scary (It moves!? It moves with no fingers?! Ahhh!). The entire thing relies on some jump scares between some ghosts that haunt the house and the kids who love to die. The deaths themselves are not creative and don’t come to anyone as a surprise.

But worse than all of that is how incredible boring the movie is. It takes awhile for them to even get their Ouija on to contact the dead friend. It felt like a third of the movie had already passed. Then a longer time before anyone even starts dying. Everyone knows you need deaths throughout a film to keep up the fear. All at the end is pointless.

Once it was over, I was glad. But then I realized how much money this movie made despite its low budget. We are going to eventually get a Ouija 2, and it will suck. Hasbro is going to make movies about Candy Land, Monopoly, and Hungry Hungry Hippos, and they too will suck (not a joke). The only one that could be good is Hungry Hungry Hippos, but only if it is a serious African drama about a herd of scary ass Hippos eating all the things.

Olivia Cooke is being typecasted into these shitty horror movies. The Quiet Ones and The Signal were bad. Here only other real role, that is horror based, is Bates Motel. I hope she sticks to horror TV shows and gets out of these terrible movies before she has no career.

0 out of 4.

Stage Fright

There comes a time in every movies life when it needs to pick a genre out of a hat and just run with it. Sometimes, they get genres accidentally stuck together when it comes to be their time, so they might get odd combinations like “Thriller Comedy” or “Urban Sci-Fi”. In the case of Stage Fright, it was able to pull out “Horror Musical”. Sure, musicals could be in really any genre. But even the ones with “darker themes” such as Rocky Horror Picture Show or Little Shop of Horrors or Cannibal! The Musical are all just actually musical comedies. I guess the closest we have right now is Repo! The Genetic Opera. But that is all sorts of weird.

So can Stage Fright be the musical that is also truly a horror?

The Loaf Is Raw
Well, it has a horror musical veteran in this, so why not?

The movie starts with the worldwide premiere of The Haunting of the Opera, which is a fake Phantom of the Opera, obviously. Similar plot and all. It’s star is miss Kylie Swanson (Minnie Driver), who was killed after her opening night wonderful performance. Awkward. She left behind two kids, Buddy (Douglas Smith) and Camilla (Allie MacDonald). They are taken in by Roger (Meat Loaf), the director or producer or something of the original musical and long time friend of Kylie.

Then, ten years later. Roger has started a musical summer camp for kids to grow their talent and put on shows, to teach everyone that musicals are great! Camilla and Buddy are not campers, they just work in the kitchen. But the camp this year is putting on their own Japanese inspired version of The Haunting of the Opera. That is terrible. But Camilla feels strangely allured to it. She wants to audition for the lead role, like her mom did, and truly honor her.

Yadda yadda yadda, other people want the part. We got an annoying director (Brandon Uranowitz), another lead lady (Melanie Leishman), a weird lead actor (Ephraim Ellis), and a head tech guy who likes Camilla (Kent Nolan). Oh, and eventually a killer starts taking out parts of the cast and crew. Shit, again? What’s up with that? Is that musical haunted or something?!

Haunting musicals can make women fall into trance. A modern day snake charmer, really.

Well, turns out this musical, like the others, really isn’t too scary. Nope, but it does half original music and actually a decent number of laughs! Maybe horror musicals are just inherently funny, because it is hard to take it too seriously when people just belt into song?

There actually weren’t too many original songs in this, just a couple, and then a song from the musical that gets song a few times. But the songs that they did make up were very entertaining/clever/funny. So props to them there!

I find it funny that I can’t think of anything really else to say analysis wise. Not really scary, but the gore existed at some points. The killer isn’t a big shocker. But I am just so happy that they tried to do something like this, and it was decently amusing, that hey, it gets a nice grade.

3 out of 4.

Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters

This just in. The director of Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters is named Thor Freudenthal. What a bad assname.

He has done a few kids movies before (Hotel For DogsDiary of a Wimpy Kid), but that is it. Hopefully directing this movie is a sign of changes for this man. With a name like that, I want him involved in most action movies from now on.

Back to the movie, I am pretty excited for this sequel. I actually enjoyed Percy Jackson, The Lightning Thief. As an undergraduate, one of my majors was Ancient History, which of course gave me a love of mythology as well.

No, I don’t hate that these films change the Greek Mythology meaning and stories around. Because this is just another case of a movie not being identical to the source material. If I am fine with what happened in Iron Man 3, I will be fine with whatever they can throw at me here.

Besides, these mythologies are basically dead. I love it when anything can attempt to spice them up a bit. This one is promising to add a whole sea of monsters! Hooray!

Horse? Sea horse!
Look! There is one right now! It looks nothing like a rainbow version of The Water Horse, either!

Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) is no longer a big deal in the demigod camp after the first film, as teenagers are fickle. Who cares if he just saved Olympus/the world. What has he done for them lately? For fucks sake, Percy.

His friends, Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) and Grover the Satyr (Brandon T. Jackson) believe in him, but everyone is else is obsessed with Clarisse (Leven Rambin), daughter of Ares. She wins all the events and challenges at camp.

Don’t remember her from the first movie? Well, presumably she was there somewhere. Maybe she just sick the two or so days that Percy visited in the first film, since at that point, Annabeth was the best warrior in the camp. Maybe they can’t handle two great female fighters at the same time.

Well, it turns out the protective barrier around their camp is falling, and it is all thanks to Luke (Jake Abel), son of Hermes, villain from the first film. Of course! He wants to do the unthinkable, and resurrect Chronos, the Titan, so that he can kill all the gods and ruin the world.

Classic villain strategy.

But that is not as important. They just want to restore the barrier to their camp, and to do that they have to find the Golden Fleece! Anything else is just gravy.

Oh, Percy also has a new half-brother Tyson (Douglas Smith), a young cyclops. His dad Poseidon just gets lonely sometimes, I suppose. Poseidon, Zeus, and Hades do not make any actual appearances this movie, but we do get Hermes (Nathan Fillion, technically a recast), and Dionysus (Stanley Tucci), who for some reason didn’t get to drink wine. Chiron is also back in this movie as the camp mentor, but he is played by Anthony Head (of Buffy fame), and not Pierce Brosnan. Boo recasts.

Group shot
I would have raged the hardest if Brandon T. Jackson was replaced.

I would say that overall, Sea of Monsters is not as good as The Lightning Thief. But one major improvement was getting rid of the “& The Olympians” part out of the title. That title was long enough to be comical.

Here is one of my biggest issues. Luke as a villain doesn’t make a lot of sense in this movie. To resurrect Chronos, he also needs the Golden Fleece. Unless he didn’t think he could get it himself with his band of mighty demigod soldiers, it is silly to break the camp barrier, causing them to go after the fleece as well. Instead, he could have not done that, and succeeded in his plan as no one even knew he was alive.

Instead we have a movie where there is a ton of buildup for the great and powerful Chronos, who then gets easily “defeated” in a matter of minutes. It happens in a lot of fantasy films. I am surprised more people don’t get angry when they are teased about the destroyer of the world coming, but when he finally does, its a whimper. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is another recent example of that.

It does have a lot of cool effects still. Caribdis was gorgeous and they had a manticore! However, the manticore went out in a single hit. Caribdis ended up being comparable to the whale from Pinocchio. I didn’t feel scared for any character, because the solution was always immediate or obvious. Plus, you’d think there would be more monsters in the sea of monsters. At least more than one. Maybe.

They did have some good attention to detail for the minor mythologies though. I loved the gas in the Oracle scene. There are many references to The Odyssey. Just showing Caribdis without bringing up Scylla is unique. Tyson the cyclops seemed like a horrible addition early on, due to the awkwardness of his CGI’d eye, but I got over it, and he became a funny/sweet character.

Overall on its own, it is a decent family movie. Minor continuity issues arose, but they can be ignored easily by most movie goers. The ending was cliffhanger-ish, which generally feels tacky when used in movies.

I mean, what if we started allowing cliffhangers in everything? Like songs, movie reviews, and

2 out of 4.