Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


ouija_two_xxlg-jpegThe Halloween season is looking quite bare with little scares coming out but all may not be lost as Universal returns to conjure up evil spirits in ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil‘. When Hasbro and Universal teamed up with their original outing back in 2014 with ‘Ouija’, it turned out to be a terrible bland mess of a movie. Audiences weren’t digging; however, the box-office had something else to say as a $5 million* budget landed them $103 million* globally. With a new director in Mike Flanagan, the studio looks to take the Hasbro property in the right direction and give audiences a truly terrifying experience.

Set in the 1960s, a mother of two girls is in the business of fortune telling and scamming her customers in believing they’re making connections with the deceased. However, when her youngest daughter Doris discovers the Ouija board and begins to make connections with the dead, she unwittingly sets loose a demonic spirit that not only devours her soul but endangers her family as well. The film stars Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso, and Lulu Wilson.

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Having seen the original film two years ago it was one of the blandest experiences you can imagine. There was a scrambled story with plot holes that were bigger then the glass of the Ouija piece. Though the production had eerie imagery and nicely shot scenes, it couldn’t bear the weight of its faults. So going forward with Ouija 2 was not something I was looking forward to and when the trailer came out there was already a disposition that wasn’t winning me over. But leading up to its release and favorable reviews by critics I must say that ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil‘ was a vast improvement from its predecessor.

Doing a time piece in the 1960s was a good decision because we got to see an authentic look of how the Ouija board was perceived and giving it a game feel as it was originally marketed as. There also has to be credit given to the production from the lighting to the opening credits and the sequences of terror when Doris comes into contact with spirits that was followed by disturbing imagery. One scene that will be mentioned and was in the trailer was involving Doris and her body folding backwards. When you watch the film and you see exactly what’s happening to her you’ll get goosebumps.

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The acting was a plus, given the fact that the film focused on a mom and her two daughters; whereas in the last outing we didn’t get a sense of connection with the teenagers as they were hunted down one by one while being pretty much disposable. Here we get a reason to care for the characters especially when it involves Alice’s deceased husband and father to their two girls. Elizabeth Reaser plays the mom and was awesome as she tries to make a living while also trying to help people with what she considers a legit way of making a living despite how others would question her as a medium. She’s followed by Lulu Wilson who was genuinely creepy while encountering the spirits that overtakes her body.

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Now having given credit for being a better movie then the original ‘Ouija‘, there are still problems with the movie. For instance, the pacing was all over the place because it starts by taking its time and focuses a lot on Alice and her daughters reminiscing about their long lost father. Then once the possessions take place you’d think the suspense would build and build but instead it takes its time and hardly has moments of real terror. A pastor, played by Henry Thomas, is an example as someone who you’d think would play a bigger part in the movie but the opposite happens and your left shaking your head. Why certain things are happening aren’t fully explained either which was frustrating.

A surprise turnaround with genuinely terrifying imagery and better-then-expected performances, ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil‘ dishes out one of the better experiences going back to 1986’s ‘Witchboard‘ which outlasted it’s less then stellar sequels. After ‘Ouija‘ in 2014 it was stated there could be many sequels in the works. With positive word of mouth it can be safe to say another sequel will be rolled out pending the box-office result considering the lambasting of the original.

Rating: 6.3/10

What do you guys think of ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil‘? Are you planning on watching the movie? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Source: BoxOfficeMojo

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Goat (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


v1-btsxmja5mzq5mjtqoze3mta0ozeymda7njuwozk2mwInspired by true events, ‘Goat‘ tells the story about a college student named Brad, who after experiencing a brutal assault, decides to enter a fraternity with his brother Brett. What starts as fun with beer, girls, sex, and endless parties is when the initiation begins. That’s when accusations of hazing turns deadly as the cost of entering the fraternity walks that fine line. Based on the short memoir by Brad Land and his experiences of hazing in fraternities, Director Andrew Neel explores the world of fraternities and hazings and how the media has begun to draw attention to such extremes and the dangers they pose. The film stars Ben Schnetzer, Nick Jonas, and a short cameo appearance by James Franco.

After months of anticipation and an effective trailer that was disturbingly eye catching, we get to see Andrew Neel’s ‘Goat‘. The film as described by the synopsis starts with an intense assault on Ben Schnetzer’s character as Brad who then enters a fraternity to try and work through the trauma that was brought upon him. Whether or not it was effective is left to the interpretations of the audience as the movie is centered around Kappa Sigma and Hell week as it’s implied. Hazings has been brought to the attention of college campuses around the country as they’re becoming aware of the dangers these fraternities bring upon to those who wish to join. Brad was introduced to the frat by his brother Brett, played by Nick Jonas, as Brett is already a member of Kappa Sigma.

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The movie is intense and there were times when you began to wonder when the line is crossed as you watch Brad go through Hell week along with other individuals. And there was a natural feel to these characters coming from all the actors which made the movie that much more disturbing because it didn’t feel like your typical Hollywood production. Andrew Neel did a great job as he gave you a true sense of what a fraternity is like, plus or minus the hazings as not all fraternities should be portrayed as going to these extremes. We also get a psychological perspective from Brad as he’s inflicting a lot of the brutality. Having already been assaulted you sort of watch him revisit that torment and makes you wonder how it becomes therapeutic from not taking crap from anyone.

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In a short appearance we also get to see James Franco who’s role is basically that he was once a part of Kappa Sigma and has then went on and started a family. However, he makes a short visit with his brothers and relives the memories of the frat and why they’d have Brad’s back. On the one hand it was effective as Brad would no longer need to fear fighting alone but on the other hand he starts seeing the dangers as well. It was nice to see Franco in the movie but I’d only wished we got to see more of him. Then again as the movie is based on a memoir there may or may not have been an involvement anymore then that.

Some of the issues that come up are mainly based on how the movie jumps between Brad as he copes with the assault and him joining the fraternity. Because as the movie starts we don’t really get introduced to the fraternity until at least a half hour and in those thirty minutes its based around the assault. Then as he he partakes in the initiation we watch him go through psychological torture which is when we then see him revisit the assault at various moments that kind of makes it feel like we’re watching two different movies. Where on the one hand there is the assault and then on the other is the hazings in the fraternity. But at the same time there’s a psychological connection between the two events which makes it work from that perspective.

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Not having read the memoir from Brad Lane, it’s hard to make comparisons between the two and whether or not the movie explored all the events as told. But from what I watched Andrew Neel did an amazing job telling the story of what possibly is concerning for college organizations across the country as it comes to hazings. Nick Jonas was surprisingly utilized effectively and really lived up to the role as a college frat as his youth may have played a part in it. Same can be said with Ben Schnetzer who had a daunting task of taking the abuse and mentally putting himself in uncomfortable situations. In the end though his performance paid off. This may or may not be easy for some viewers to watch but ultimately it does the job and the performances are the big reason why.

Rating: 7/10

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What do you guys think? Do you plan to watch ‘Goat‘? Are you or someone you know involved in a fraternity that has experienced such events? Comment below and share your thoughts.

The Disappointments Room (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


v1-btsxmjixmteyottqoze3mta2ozeymda7njqxozk0oqFrom Relativity Media comes the story about a family who move into their new home in the country side. When a room is discovered on the attic floor it reveals the grueling details of the secrets families kept as it regarded kids with disabilities or deformities. Soon after, Dana must find a way to keep her family safe as a vengeful entity terrorizes her and her family. The film is directed by D.J. Caruso and stars Kate Beckinsale.

Based on true events we follow Dana, an architect, as she stumbles upon a room in the attic that leads to a disappointments room where children were put in when families tried to secretly deny their child’s existence who has a deformity. The concept and loose tellings about such events caught my attention when a trailer was released and didn’t give away too much about the plot. With that said, this was such a disappointment as the title of the film suggests. There apparently weren’t any early screenings for critics nor are there many reviews up on Rotten Tomatoes which suggests an embargo may have been put in place. Even without going into detail so far, you’re probably thinking where this review is headed.

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The premise of the film caught my attention and what I wanted to learn more was why or how such rooms were constructed and the families involved. Unfortunately, very little is told in the movie and what’s even worse is how hollow the story involved with the home Dana and her family move into. We then get into the movie itself that is unsure what it wanted to be as it goes from being a mystery to a drama and then at times goes into a thriller. This reminded me of ‘Cold Creek Manor‘ back in 2003 as far as the pacing and where the movie was headed. A promising start just spirals into chaos and just gets worse and worse and worse.

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Let’s talk about Kate Beckinsale because her character is a mess. She’s a caring mother who suffers from depression after a traumatic events that persuades her husband in moving the family to the countryside. Dana starts seeing things and eventually you as the viewer aren’t sure what you’re seeing which then leads into bigger problems as the movie progresses. And how the movie handles her past to dealing with the room and the ghosts that follows is mind-boggling numb to watch. There is no clear connection between her depression and the ghost that is terrorizing her nor is it cohesive from a narrative sense. Many times her performance was cringeworthy; especially during the times when she is confronting her husband when something happens to her.

It’s hard to continue on bashing the film because there’s just so much to talk about without giving away any spoilers. Again, the premise got my attention and what I wanted to get was a story – thriller or horror- that would build up the suspense as the lead character pieces together the clues that would make you want to care for them. Unfortunately, ‘The Disappointments Room‘ is packaged in mystery but once you dig into the film it becomes a jumbled mess from story to character development to the resolve at the end. If you want to do justice it’s best to research the disappointments rooms rather then paying for something that you’ll get very little in details.

Rating: 3.5/10

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What do you guys think? Are you planning to watch ‘The Disappointments Room‘? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Morgan (2016) Review

MV5BMjA1MjYyNDkxN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTgxODAwOTE@._V1_UY1200_CR90,0,630,1200_AL_From 20th Century Fox and Producer Ridley Scott is a science fiction thriller about a young girl named Morgan who isn’t as she seems. When a government official, Lee Weathers, is sent out to investigate a string of mishaps with Morgan and whether or not she is a danger to anyone she comes in contact with. The film is directed by newcomer Luke Scott who’s been involved in previous films such as ‘Exodus: Gods & Kings’ (2015) and one credit in 1977’s ‘The Duellists’. The movie stars Kate Mara, Boyd Holbrook, and Chris Sullivan.

There are only two things that are going for this movie and that is Ridley Scott being attached as producer and the lead actress in Kata Mara. If the trailer was any indication it has the same vibe and feel of 2015’s ‘Ex Machina‘ where a scientist creates a synthetic organism that struggles to understand the qualities of a human being as it explores the feelings of sadness or anger. So for ‘Morgan‘ it’s the same set up where a group of scientists create a number of synthetic beings as each one fails to live up to expectations. That is until the third attempt where Morgan was able to develop properly with no health issues and has grown into a five year old. The only problem is that Morgan has tendencies to exhibit violent behavior that brings into question her validity as someone who can learn right from wrong.

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My initial reaction to the film is that it had a lot of potential as it pertained to the idea of creating artificial life with the ability to express emotions like a human. And with the addition of Ridley Scott producing the film it brought into question the ethics of science and knowing the boundaries between right and wrong. Scott is great with science fiction as he’s shown us with movies like ‘Blade Runner‘ and ‘Alien‘ that have remained intact for almost 37 years. What I also enjoyed was the performance by Kate Mara who played the role of Lee. Her character came off as secretive by not divulging any kind of information that would disrupt the investigation.

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This leads us to my issues with the film as I’ll start off by saying that at some point in the movie there is a twist. I cannot say much without giving too much away but once the movie hits its peak we then get a generic sci-fi picture. And partially some of it has to do with Kate Mara’s character which becomes evident when Morgan and Lee have some kind of interaction with one another. It actually bothered me because we’ve seen this direction before in other movies and it leaves you asking ‘what was the point’? The mystery that was building all the way up to that point ends up being for nothing.

As far as the performances goes besides Kate Mara is that there wasn’t anyone that stood out. Boyd Holbrook plays a chef who gets introduced to Lee when she first arrives to the property which gave us potential for a love interest. Thankfully that wasn’t meant to be but it’s unfortunate because the movie leads you to believe he’d play a bigger role by the films end. There is a small cameo with Paul Giamatti who plays as Dr. Alan Shapiro, which actually was one of the better parts of the movie. It was great seeing him in the movie but I had wished we could have seen more of him.

Even though ‘Morgan‘ didn’t hit it on all cylinders it did provoke intrigue about the ideas of science. The ending had problems and the performances were generic at best. You can see the potential but ultimately it fails to make you care for what you are watching.

Rating: 5.9/10

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What do you guys think? Do you plan to watch ‘Morgan‘? Comment below and share your thoughts on some of your favorite science fiction films.

War Dogs (2016) Review

war-dogs-posterFrom Warner Bros. and the director of the Hangover trilogy, Todd Phillips, is a comedy about a couple of friends who become arm’s dealers while aiding the U.S. overseas. David Packouz is tired of his career and is about to usher in a new baby with his girlfriend Iz. An old-time friend, Efraim Divoreli, convinces David in joining him in his business AEY, Inc as an opportunity to raking in the big bucks. But when lies soon turns to betrayal, David must make a decision that will clear his name once and for all. The film stars Miles Teller and Jonah Hill.

There wasn’t a lot of marketing for ‘War Dogs‘ but with a formidable cast in Teller and Hill one would think it could be for some fun. As the premise indicates it’s about a couple of guys who get into the business of selling arms deals overseas without any knowledge of international laws and economic restrictions when it comes to trade. And with that much information is what the whole movie is about. The movie was okay as it wasn’t memorable or terrible but rather it had potential to be more then what I had expected. There were moments that made me laugh and much of that came from Jonah Hill who’s the one that influences his friend, David, to joining in his business. 635941649200081557-AATD-FP-035

What I had trouble with had more to do with the pacing and direction of the film as it progressed. The movie started off taking its time as David runs into his long-time friend Efraim as they catch up after so many years. Then it takes its time as we get into the details of the operation and how arms deals work. By the end of the movie we get a very disappointing conclusion that was building up to something that at least for me should’ve been more. Instead, the conclusion falls flat and doesn’t feel like there was any resolve or a confrontation that should’ve taken place. So as for the editing it really struggled. We then get into whether the movie is supposed to be a drama or a comedy but rather ends up being a combination of both which didn’t always work.

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The chemistry between the actors was fine as there were moments that had me laughing. Without getting into spoiler territory, once we see both David and Efraim head to Iraq while trying to transport weapons to a military base is when the laughter really begins. There is even a surprise appearance, to whom will not be told, that has some involvement between David and Efraim. From an acting standpoint there weren’t a lot of problems because both Jonah Hill and Miles Teller did great together. This leads us to Ana de Armas who plays as David’s girlfriend, Iz. As we get to know her and then find out of her pregnancy we get to build a little bit of compassion for her when the secrecy of the business starts to slip and becomes more frustrated as time goes on. For what she did, Armas did great and nothing could be said otherwise.

Overall, ‘War Dogs‘ suffers from an identity as it tries to cater to being either a comedy or an action drama. Most of it stems from the script and there being way too much of the details that had to be spelled out to the audience. Both Miles Teller and Jonah Hill did a fine job while shaking things up a bit as the movie trudged along. If you’re going in expecting a straight up comedy then you may be left disappointed but it’s not to say the movie doesn’t entertain.

Rating: 6.3/10

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What do you guys think of ‘War Dog‘? Do you plan on seeing it? Which are your favorite Jonah Hill and/or Miles Teller films? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Don’t Breathe (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


dont-breathe-posterIt’s the perfect hit and nobody around to raise the alarms for Rocky, Alex, and her boyfriend as they look to rob the home of a veteran soldier who just so happens to be blind. The problem though is he’s not only crafty but downright dangerous and may have just given the intruders a run for their money. From the director of the Evil Dead (2013) remake, Fede Alvarez, comes a new twist in this new horror gem that’s sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. The movie stars Stephen Lang, Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, and Daniel Zovatto.

With good praise coming out early for ‘Don’t Breathe‘ it got me wondering what we could expect as the trailer caught my attention. After viewing the film I will say this was a lot of fun with chills coming from every corner. Starting with the concept of intruders breaking into a blind mans home to only discover he’s crazier then he seems really worked and even pushed the envelope to places that were shocking. The performances were even good, considering it was kept to three characters which gives us enough time to flesh out the characters before things go really bad. Standouts come from Jane Levy and Dylan Minnette who worked very well together and showed great chemistry when they put up a fight against the blind man. Even the blind man who is played by Stephen Lang surely brought terror to viewers eyes when it’s revealed in the movie of his motivations behind his madness.

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One of the things that was appreciated was how the creators turned the playbook upside down by having our antagonist be the one who suffers from an ailment versus the protagonist. In this case, the veteran who lost his eye sight in battle uses methods to go after the intruders and must rely on sound and even smell when appropriate. As the title implies, ‘Don’t Breathe‘ has a purpose and the filmmaking truly sets up a tense and nail biting experience. Take for instance the moment when Alex realizes something’s gone terribly wrong and tiptoes through the hallways before the blindman appears in front of him as they cross paths. It’s seen in the trailer but it has more of an effect when you’re actually watching the movie that it does justice.

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As much as the premise was what got me into the theater is why there are also flaws that at times can be glaring. Take for instance the moment where the blindman’s motive is revealed and how he went about dealing with it. Some of it is far fetched and when someone is not able to see and yet they have the ability to get revenge is when the film loses credibility. The biggest strength the movie has is by keeping the movie inside the home. Because once the movie heads outside is when the villain becomes weak. It’s scarier to imagine being locked inside of a crazed blindman’s home who has a few tricks up his sleeve. There is a little bit of nostalgia as a dog is seen in the movie which plays homage to Wes Craven’sThe People Under the Stairs‘ and at times becomes resourceful for the blind man.

For ‘Don’t Breathe‘ this was a unique experience and is definitely terrifying for the audience. Even with flaws in logic at times, it does what it sets out to do by getting under your skin. One scene in particular was shot hauntingly well that it would give anyone the chills and a turn of the stomach. For Director Fede Alvarez, this movie is a step up from his last effort and shows growth in his career. It shows that it’s not always about the blood and gore but with a clever concept it can go a long ways in leaving an everlasting impression.

Rating: 7/10

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What do you guys think of ‘Don’t Breathe‘? Are you planning to watch it? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Sausage Party (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


v1.bTsxMjE5Njg0NDtqOzE3MDYxOzEyMDA7MjAyNTszMDAwFrom the mind of Seth Rogen comes a raunchy R-rated animated feature about food that once taken off the shelf they expect to go to the great beyond. But when they’re told the great beyond is actually fabricated and is really a place of bad things, the store bands together and fights back. The movie is directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon and stars the voices of Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, & Michael Cera.

Just off the first trailer for ‘Sausage Party‘ I immediately was curious as to what this movie was going to be about. There were references to sex, orgies, and visuals that most certainly gets taken to another level. That said, this is an original piece of comedy that had me laughing non-stop. Yes there was an abundance of vulgarity to which can push people away but it managed to balance itself with the different food groups that implied so many cultural references. With a simple premise the movie could have struggled but with comedians such as Seth Rogen and Kristen Wiig they managed to carry the film.

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One of the best parts in the movie is also the most over-the-top as the film is coming to a close. It was so crazy that it had me laughing and wide-eyed for a good 2 minutes. As the movie implies in the trailer you knew what you were getting into and it was about that time that the film took it to that point. Now with the things that didn’t work a lot of it had to do with the verbiage as it felt as the F-bombs were dropping like crazy. And sometimes there would be lulls to where you wondered why certain things could have been cut out to reduce the runtime. However, with a movie that runs 89 minutes you can tell the filmmakers wanted to have enough that would entice all audiences.

This movie is definitely not for younger audiences and should not be mistaken for your typical animated feature. ‘Sausage Party‘ knows what it is and runs with it that does not disappoint. For being different and original this was a surprise and Sony is already looking to green-light a sequel pending the results of this weeks box-office run. If you’re looking to have fun and laugh yourself out the door then go watch this movie. There’s a little bit of everything to satisfy even the most skeptical.

Rating: 7.3/10

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What do you guys think? Are you planning on watching ‘Sausage Party‘? Do you hope to see a sequel? Comment below and share your thoughts.