Category Archives: Reviews

The Boy (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


MV5BMTc1MjcxNzcwMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTE0NTE2NzE@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_When a new nanny arrives at the Heelshire home, Greta Evans discovers she won’t be taking care of any ordinary child. In this case, Brahms, a doll that the Heelshires believe is their son. Soon after they leave, Greta begins to suspect that Brahms isn’t just a doll and soon questions her sanity as to believe that Brahms is really alive. The film is directed by William Brent Bell and stars ‘The Walking Dead‘s own Lauren Cohen and Rupert Evans.

I was a little curious going into ‘The Boy‘ because I thought the trailer peaked my interest with the idea of a doll being disguised as someone’s own child. Then another part of me went into the movie thinking that this would end up like all doll films. After viewing the film all of my expectations came true, however, a twist followed that I’m not sure if I saw coming or not. It was nice to see Lauren Cohen be in a horror film; especially from her successes on television. The one thing that I thought worked well was her character and how she wasn’t written as your typical go against the rules idiot. There were times she grew attached to Brahms and could relate to the family’s loss when Brahms died in a fire. Then there were other times when she didn’t know how to approach the whole situation seeing as how she’s interacting with a doll and not a real person.

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One of the few positives I’ll give was how the movie looked. Having that old Victorian home and the interior design gave the movie that edginess feel. And props to the creators of the doll and how they made Brahms seem so real from what he looked like in character form. The parents, played by Jim Norton and Diana Hardcastle, were great as they tended to Brahms and nurtured him as if he were still alive. And the normalcy they were to the situation made you feel for them in some way. This again would tie nicely with Cohen’s character of Greta when she relates her story to Brahms.

At this point in the review is where things go downhill. Going into the movie I had mentioned that I may or may not have expected something to happen. Believe it or not, when the twist is revealed at the end, my gut feeling was right. And for a second your like oh this works and it caught me off guard. But the next second your disappointed because the twist isn’t executed effectively as it should have. And after thinking about it more after leaving the theater you wish to think maybe they should’ve gone away with the twist altogether. And if I continue on with my explanation things will get spoiled so it will be left at that.

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We must mention Rupert Evans as the Heelshire’s grocery man, Malcolm. He was decent and had good chemistry with Lauren Cohen. He may not have had a major role but his curiosity and intrigue in the story behind Brahms helped to give Greta better insight into what may actually be taking place. Surprisingly enough, the movie doesn’t go outside of the home very much. One of the possible reasons being that it was on a low budget of $10 million*. And by having a PG-13 rating the studio is sure to get more of a return on investment as the movie is clearly targeted for the younger audience.

In the end, ‘The Boy‘ struggles to identify whether it wants to be a horror film or a straight up thriller. With the twist at the end it becomes more clear that the movie was confused in what it actually wanted to be. There are some genuine jumps here and there but primarily it’s left to the imagination as to whether or not Brahms is real or not. And for the first two-thirds of the movie it was effective but then it falls into cliche territory with not much explained.

Rating: 5/10

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What do you guys think? Do you plan to watch ‘The Boy‘? Comment below and share your thoughts.

*Source: Box Office Mojo

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The 5th Wave (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


5th-Wave_posterBased off the three book series, ‘The 5th Wave‘ stars Chloe Grace Moretz as a young girl named Cassie, who after the arrival of an alien race finds herself racing to save herself and her little brother after a series of deadly events plagues earth. The film is directed by J. Blakeson and also stars Nick Robinson, Alex Roe, and Liev Schreiber.

It’s yet another book to film series where youths must race to fight back against the enemy, except this time its aliens. Having not read the books I will solely be reviewing the movie as it is. With these young adult adaptations the market for these book to film transfers is high, given we already have ‘The Hunger Games‘, ‘Divergent‘, ‘Maze Runner‘, and now ‘The 5th Wave‘. The idea of an alien race coming to earth and setting off a chain of events is different from what we’ve seen in the other franchises. So already you get invested and are curious as to what will happen next.

There are five waves that cripple the earth, starting with an electromagnetic pulse that shuts down power. The second wave is a series of large waves that destroys coast lines around the world. The third wave is a plague-like disease that spreads to infect the remaining populations which is followed by large swaths of death. The fourth wave is where “the others”, as they’re called, take over human hosts and blends in with the human population. And lastly the fifth and final wave is how “the others” will manage to make earth their new home by eradicating the remaining survivors.

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In a nut shell that is the gist of the movie and what is to be expected. Unfortunately, the movie does a terrible job of keeping the viewers focus as the pacing and script are unbalanced. We see the ramifications of the alien invasion at the start of the film where we see Chloe Grace Moretz’s character, Cassie, fend for herself after losing her family and venturing to save her brother. I didn’t feel as if this role was a good fit for Moretz, let alone uncomfortable, as she looked out of place compared to other films she had starred in. There were moments where Moretz tries to show off fear or strength but never did it pay off because of her reactions to certain situations. Chloe Grace Moretz is a good actress who’s proven that in ‘Kickass‘, but compared to a Jennifer Lawrence in ‘The Hunger Games‘ it’s a bit of a disappointment.

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We also see Nick Robinson who plays the leader of the fifth wave and is friends to Cassie and her brother Sam (Zackary Arthur). He didn’t bother me as much as Moretz’s character does where for Robinson his role actually suited him as being a leader. I feel as the though the series will surround Chloe Grace Moretz as the main player, however, I could see Robinson play a much bigger role as time goes on. Then we get to the lull of the film as we mention Alex Roe who plays as Cassie’s love interest Evan Walker. Neither impressed or entertained by his presence, he seemed like a wasted opportunity. The same could be said for the film as whole.

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There are sure to be differences from the book and the movie, but I have to say the execution for the first book is abysmal. It can be sensed from just the first 45 minutes that the studio was saving all the best parts for the next entries. And that in case is the problem I had because very little is revealed about who “the others” are and what they look like. Now it’s okay not to give everything away in the first installment because you want to carry the momentum into the next film; however, so little is given to keep the audience invested that you wonder if the movie was justified being made where so little happens. A good portion of the movie, primarily the middle section, is focused on Cassie getting to her brother and her development with Evan that it took away from the alien race itself.

Bottomline, this wasn’t a good start to the series. With very little to get excited about and a slow and drawn out drama with Moretz’s character of Cassie chasing after her brother your itching for way more. The studio took a safer bet but ended up suffering for it with a lack of suspense or action. Let’s just hope ‘The Infinite Sea‘, as the second book is called, will give us everything we want and then some.

Rating: 5/10

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What do you guys think? Are you planning to watch ‘The 5th Wave‘? Comment below and share your thoughts on the movie.

Ride Along 2 (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


Ride-Along-2-PosterPatrol Officer Ben Barber is about to marry to James Payton’s sister Angela. But when an encrypted hardware leads to a drug dealer it forces James to go to Miami, however he’s not so sure about Ben tagging along. Ben wants to prove himself to James that he’s cut out to be a police officer and to Angela that he can be taken seriously. Director Tim Story returns to the helm the sequel after a successful $154.5 million* run at the box office with 2014’s ‘Ride Along‘. Both Ice Cube and Kevin Hart come back along with a few additions in Olivia Munn and Ken Jeong.

Though he may be type casted as we’ve seen in the last few go arounds, Kevin Hart is a good entertainer that with the right people he can pull off some good fun. Same can be said for Ice Cube and with both personalities your sure to get some good laughs, right? With ‘Ride Along 2‘ you get the typical good friends with one of them being the smartest and the other not so much. Let’s be honest, if we had officers like Ben Barber we’d all be in trouble and the faith in the law would be in question. Where I found a disconnect was the chemistry between Hart and Ice Cube. At times you found there relationship to be at odds and for much of the first half of the movie the focus was put on Ben’s wedding while the villain in this case was saved for the second half. When things shifted to Miami is when the fun is to be had.

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Unfortunately for the sequel it’s a step back from what we got in the original. There really wasn’t a story to it or even to serve a purpose. What’s meant to be a comedy the movie tried to be dramatic with the wedding angle and it didn’t fare so well. There wasn’t a problem with Ice Cube because he plays a decent undercover detective and when things went down you could take him serious. However Kevin Hart’s character just didn’t mix well and feels more like a miscast. One of the funniest moments took place when Barber, Payton, and Maya (played by Olivia Munn) arrive at the home of Antonio Pope (Benjamin Bratt) where an event is taking place while undercover. A dispute over their names not being on the party list leads to a few punches between Payton and Barber that to me was the funniest bit of the entire movie. As a whole the laughs just wasn’t enough to salvage the fun which is too bad because I expected a little more.

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In what could’ve been a great follow-up to the first ‘Ride Along‘, we’re left with a thin plot and not much to enjoy. The theater I went to had a couple of laughs from the audience but for the majority of the runtime it was dead silent. One thing that was cool to watch was a quick appearance by Tyrese Gibson who in the  beginning rolls in with James Payton in what felt like a ‘Fast and the Furious‘ moment so that’s something to keep an eye out for. What had potential to be a great follow-up turned out to disappoint. Nothing could’ve salvaged the film and won’t leave you with much to remember.

Rating: 4/10

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What do you guys think? Do you plan to watch ‘Ride Along 2‘? Comment below and give us your thoughts.

*Source: Box Office Mojo

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2015) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


MV5BMjU3OTQ5NDc3Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTEwNTkxNzE@._V1_SX214_AL_It was September 11, 2012 when a U.S. compound in Libya was attacked by armed militants where a U.S. Ambassador and four others were killed. Based on a true story, Director Michael Bay takes on the Benghazi event and how it unfolded as six CIA Operatives bravely tried to rescue their fellow commarades. With uncertainty which Libyan citizens are to be trusted, the CIA feverishly try to gain footing on a battle that may not be won.

There has been so much speculation about the Benghazi story that even till this day we are finding out little by little of what actually led up to the attack. But leaving politics aside, we focus solely on the movie at hand. Michael Bay is very well known for making blockbuster action films such as ‘Bad Boys‘ (1995) and ‘The Rock‘ (1996) to the lesser received ‘Armageddon‘ (1998) which would mark the peak of his career. Since then it’s been a hit or miss over the last 15 years with so much effort put into the Transformers series where he’s held an iron grip. One thing he has going for him is that Bay can pull your attention from the start. He’s not shy in the amount of action he displays on screen. Which is why going into production on an action drama where there’s so much unrest in the Middle East is different from what we’ve come to see from Bay.

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For the purposes of this review we won’t need to reference the actors by name because most of the film is centered on a U.S. compound being attacked. The characters we follow all have some kind of likability to them and as is in all Bay films we get plenty of comic relief when it’s needed. Some of the action sequences are pretty intense with there being plenty of bullets to shed on screen. There are even some scenes that aren’t for the squeamish towards the latter end of the film. What’s done effectively is that when you assume things are cooling off your only to be fooled and the action picks right back up again. This happens a few times during the film which helps to carry things right along.

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There were a few problems with the movie and the first thing that will be mentioned is the runtime. At two and a half hours the movie had difficulties balancing the heavy action. There’d also be points where dialogue between characters would carry on way too long as we are waiting for something to happen. It’s not that we don’t like to see people converse about their families or stories from their pasts but a lot of the film struggles to balance it out. In what could’ve been a 90 minute affair it unfortunately turns into a drag out experience where your just waiting for the white flag to be raised. Also, for a movie that’s supposed to be taken seriously you get a lot of comic relief moments. It was a little bizarre to see a city go into turmoil to only see somebody watching a soccer game and not be phased by it; almost like it’s a norm. And finally, with so much going on and you trying to understand who is and who aren’t the good guys your left at times being confused.

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For those who are into action films you may find this appealing to watch even if it does have it’s fair share of problems like a bloated runtime. But with characters you come to like over time you do root for their survival and hopes that things will get better as the film goes on. Although Michael Bay has put out better efforts with more clarity in his films you kind of already know what to expect if your somewhat familiar with the Benghazi story. If not, some viewers may be put off by the back and forth chatter about how we got to this point. There’s plenty to admire in ‘13 Hours‘ but the execution is what hurts this experience which ultimately leads to a weak recommend.

Rating: 6/10

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What do you guys think? Are you planning to watch ’13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi’? Comment below and let us know your thoughts.

The Hateful Eight (2015) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


hateful-eight-poster-comic-conIn what could’ve been a no deal after a script leak that left the project shelved, Quentin Tarantino returned to finish what he started. After his wildly successful ‘Django Unchained(2012), we return to the 1800s in Wyoming where Bounty Hunter John Ruth picks up a couple of strangers while in route to Red Rock. But when they stop by Minnie’s Haberdashery to fend off a snow storm, and visitors already inhabiting the place, personalities clash and their true identities may not seem who they ought to be.

Quentin Tarantino may get a lot of flack for his portrayal of the N word in many of his films or the abundant use of violence. But rest assured he’s one of the few directors who’ll push the limits and give us some great entertainment at that. Tarantino’s ‘The Hateful Eight‘ is shot in 70mm and is the first thing to notice when opening credits hits the screen. Seeing this format is refreshing because it takes you back to the old days where seeing these types of films, like Westerns, were heavily used. Aside from the look of the film we also have to recognize the score, for instance, in the opening credits where it really sets the tone.

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The performances were great with the bulk of the praise going to Samuel L. Jackson. In many ways you wouldn’t know it if from the beginning when we see Major Marquis Warren be one of the first ones to be picked up by Kurt Russell’s John Ruth. As the movie goes on you slowly begin to see Jackson’s character become more aware of the situation and attention moves away from Russell Crow. We do have to give attention to Walton Goggins who plays Sheriff Chris Mannix who was as involved with Warren when things went down. He brought comic relief to what was already a hilarious string of events.

gI7QNB9NglaxAXOXqg83MEYwS3sA lot was riding on the script because of the twists and turns that takes place in the film. With the script being leaked, and having just watched the movie, the payoff wouldn’t have been as effective. Without giving anything away, we also get a surprise appearance. Make sure to pay close attention early on cause after time passes you may forget; especially of a runtime of 163 minutes. But not paying attention can better the experience so leave it to yourselves to decide.

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Compared to ‘Django Unchained‘, this movie isn’t so focused on the  violence with more attention put on the chemistry of the actors. It’s the conversations taking place throughout the movie that allows the viewer to ponder who the bad guys are. And given there are so many characters to follow, sometimes your at a loss of where the film will go next. This works to be a positive thing because as stated before, Samuel L. Jackson along with Walton Goggins, push to gain some ground on what’s actually happening in Ms. Minnie’s Haberdashery.

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Some of the things that may or may not work for audiences is the pace of the movie. Once the setting moves to the Haberdashery it’s where the bulk of the time is spent. And it’s there when things slow down. The reference to the N word may still bother viewers as well just as it was in ‘Django Unchained‘. And lastly, I will say the ending to the film wasn’t as satisfying as other Tarantino films. It wasn’t the payoff I was expecting but with everything that goes on including the twists your somewhat accepting of it.

Although ‘The Hateful Eight‘ may not be as effective as some of Tarantino’s previous films you do leave satisfied none-the-less. With a great cast of Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, and in a supporting role by Walton Goggins, their chemistry holds the movie together. With much to laugh about and surprises throughout, it’s an experience that one could appreciate.

Rating: 7/10

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Are you planning to watch ‘The Hateful Eight‘? Comment below and share your thoughts.

The Revenant (2015) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


the-revenant-2015-2It technically may have been released back in 2015 but it makes its way in full release this January. Director Alejandro Iñárritu, who was acclaimed for the visually pleasing ‘Birdman‘, returns in a story of revenge and survival. When left to die following a bear attack and seeing his son get murdered, a Frontier man, Hugh Glass, fights his way back to get revenge on the man who took everything away from him. The film sees Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy team together in putting a dramatic and intense effort that pays off in so many ways.

There is so much to like about ‘The Revenant‘ that Alejandro Iñárritu continues to impress not just by the story but the ride you take. Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance was excellent as your invested in his character who already had lost so much to then lose the one thing that mattered most. Alongside DiCaprio is Tom Hardy who plays the character of John Fitzgerald who is more concerned about himself then the well being of others. Even though Hardy’s performance wasn’t at the forefront of the film you still are invested in his character who is only to be despised throughout.

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Aside from the performances we also have to talk about the cinematography cause the movie looked gorgeous. Emmanuel Lubezki, who also did the camera work for ‘Birdman’, also returned to take our breath away by the amazing scenery. Filming took place in Calgary, Alberta, Canada where the flow of the rivers and the rocky mountain tops found dangers from all corners for Glass. Even the location of filming was a character in itself because of the natural beauty and attention put on water streams, snow, and the trees as we saw Glass battle his way for survival.

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One of the things I enjoyed most about ‘The Revenant‘ was that it pulls you in from beginning to end; especially in the opening moments. The scene where Glass gets attacked by the grizzly bear your just imaging how horrifying it would be to be in his place and the brutality that follows. His injuries were hard to watch at times but you couldn’t look away because of DiCaprio’s character’s willingness to fight back. The moments he felt helpless you wanted to see him get back on his feet. The climactic showdown towards the end made the journey all but worth it and more. Together with the performances from Hardy and DiCaprio, ‘The Revenant‘ is a pleaser of a movie and is gorgeous to watch.

In what definitely could be an Oscar performance for Leonardo DiCaprio, ‘The Revenant’ is a thrilling experience. Iñárritu pulls it off once again and can only make one look forward to his next project. Go see ‘The Revenant‘.

Rating: 8/10

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What do you guys think? Have you or are planning to watch the movie? Comment below and tell us your thoughts.

The Forest (2015) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


the-forest-2016-posterThe Aokigahara forest, located in the deep woods of Mount Fuji, is storied to be a place where people go to commit suicide when all seems lost. Sarah is on the search for her twin sister when she senses something is deeply wrong with Jess. Authorities in Japan aren’t as hopeful either. When Sarah journeys to the forest she will plunge into fear as ghosts of the dead haunt the grounds she walks on.

In his directorial debut, Jason Zada takes on the story of the suicide forest and infuses it with horror. Game of Thrones actress Natalie Dormer plays the twin sisters of both Sarah and Jess. When Sarah is warned about the influences the forest can have she turns her head refusing to let anything stop her from finding her sister. From the start of the film Dormer’s performance wasn’t all that terrible until she spends more and more time in Aokigahara. There came a point at the mid-point of the movie when her character became annoying by the way she handles situations. Not all is to blame on Dormer however because the movie itself was lacking from the beginning.

imagesThe movie takes its time while Sarah travels to Japan meeting with those who knew Jess. Through meetings with a school advisor and a classmate of Jess we got to understand what the locals feared. It’s strange to say but the time spent away from the forest and the mystery behind the forest was better then what we get when things go south. Interestingly enough, the backstory of a family tragedy that struck the twin sisters while they were young played a key role in closing moments of the film. Even then the execution was poor and couldn’t make up for the lack of scares or patience to get to the end.

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Typically the early months of the year don’t bode well for movie-goers as it becomes Hollywood’s dumping grounds. And ‘The Forest‘ just happens to fall victim to that statement. With interest in the documentary behind the Aokigahara forest, people will venture out into theaters with expectations that match that of the trailers and stories. Unfortunately, ‘The Blair Witch Project‘ did a better job of making a more intense thriller when it came to the woods along with a superb marketing strategy. This movie will fail to match any level of terror or success as other movies had.

Rating: 4.5/10

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