Tag Archives: 2016

Rings (2016/17) Review

mv5bnju1ndaxntg0mf5bml5banbnxkftztgwnzuxmjewmti-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_Following the footsteps of Hollywood as it continues to revisit long lost franchises, we get the third installment in ‘Rings‘. The film is directed by F. Javier Gutiérrez, who was only involved in one other film and is fairly new to Hollywood. It has been 12 years since we’ve seen a sequel to ‘The Ring Two‘ and what begs the question is why now? That can be said for many properties in the horror genre as not only this month, January, but for the remainder of 2017 as well. So let’s dive into ‘Rings‘.

When Julia suddenly loses contact with her boyfriend Holt as he attends a University, she goes on a search to only discover that not all is as it seems. Soon after Julia watches a video she then gets the message that she has seven days to live. This sends her on a wild goose chase to locate the remains of Samara before it’s too late. The film stars Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz and Alex Roe.

In my last review with ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter‘, I spoke about how the series has been around for 15 years and that by this point it was more of a fan affair. So with ‘Rings‘ you look at it and wonder if it is even relevant to the fans of the original back in 2002. Coming off of a very disappointing sequel in 2005 one stops to think if there’s a purpose on moving forward. The trailers leading up to its inevitable release were cringeworthy alone as you can sense that the lore and greatness of Gore Verbinski’sThe Ring‘ was all but non-existent. This leads us to three minutes of footage that was put out by the studio which saw a doomed flight for a couple of passengers. At this point nothing could save this movie.

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Do not think after 12 years that resurrecting this franchise was going to be amazing. There’s an epidemic going around with these properties where continuity doesn’t mean anything anymore. The troubling aspect of this is that the fans of the original will hate the direction on which the movie takes; whereas the general audience most likely will not notice. Just from what I’ve seen it felt like the studio deliberately made it into a stand-alone from its predecessors. There wasn’t even a nod or mention of Naomi Watt’s character from the previous films.

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The acting in this debacle was below average and the couple that we follow of Julia and Holt, both played by Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz and Alex Roe, were cringeworthy. I do have to say that from the beginning when Julia first came on screen she didn’t bother me at first and I was going along with it. But there’s a certain moment when logic is supposed to kick in that she does the inevitable and lost my interest soon after. And we have Alex Roe who’s only there because of good looks and cause he’s the person that puts Julia in her predicament in the first place. We also have to mention Johnny Galecki who plays Gabriel who for the most part I thought would play a bigger role just by how the movie started. He gets wasted and written off by the half-way mark which by that point nothing was going right so he was smart to leave in that sense.

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One of the big caveats that I had with the film was the pacing because there were times when characters were jabbering and nothing was happening. Which then leads me to the plot of the movie which has to do with Samara. She was watered down compared to what we’d seen in the previous films to a point where I didn’t find her terrifying at all. One of the plot devices had to do with characters showing the tape to other people and in which would pass death down the line. No spoilers there but how many times have we seen this used? We’ve seen this in ‘Final Destination‘, ‘It Follows‘, among others. And yes, given the opening to the film you get a Final Destination vibe. There’s even a scene that takes place towards the latter end of the movie where you sense ‘Don’t Breathe‘ and was a complete ripoff from that.

If you’re going into ‘Rings‘ as a fan of the original you are going to loathe this movie. There is nothing redeeming here and even for the general audience who go to see this will regret it just by the acting and pacing. Forget what you had remembered in the other films because it just won’t matter since Samara seems to have multiple variations of her story. Try not to get sucked into the theater because if you thought watching the video was going to get you killed, then believe me this movie actually will.

Rating: 4.5/10

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What do you think of ‘Rings‘? Do you plan on watching it? Comment below and share your thoughts.

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Split (2016/17) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


split_red-692x1024From the director who brought us ‘The Sixth Sense‘, ‘Signs‘, and 2015’s ‘The Visit‘, M. Night Shymalan returns with a suspense thriller that stars James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy. When Casey Cooke and her friends are captured by somebody with multiple personalities, they must race to find answers as to whom they’re dealing with and whether or not escape will even be possible. After coming off of a mediocre effort in Shymalan’s last movie, are we continuing to seeing a revival of the director’s career? Let’s find out.

**For the purposes of the film, I will be referring to McAvoy’s character as Kevin.**

This was definitely an unsettling movie and not in the way of violence but more so in how great of a performance we get from James McAvoy. His characters suffers from a condition called Disassociative Identity Disorder (DID) and portrays over 23 personalities that all came to be over a dark past. With this in mind, it takes us to the plot which is evident in the trailers as Casey and her friends are captured by Kevin and are then placed in an undisclosed location. We then see the different personalities come to light and in which Casey tries hard to piece together a way out. But a repetitive reference to “The Beast” raises alarms as to whether or not a deeper more menacing figure looms in the shadows.

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Having said everything thus so far and with what little is known, it’s best not to give any more details without possibly spoiling the film. All that will be said is that James McAvoy puts on a challenging performance; especially when you’re encompassing 23 characters in one body. There were moments when you felt fear for Casey, who’s played by Anya Taylor-Joy, who comes face to face with him and you never know who you would be talking to next. What also caught my attention was to the story behind Casey and how her upbringing was met with a dark past herself that I thought would later play out in the movie. But it didn’t go the way I expected.

We’re also introduced to Dr. Karen Fletcher, played by Betty Buckley, who is the psychiatrist that Kevin goes to visit. She was very good and I liked her role as this person who truly cares about him. You could sense it from the start and it wasn’t like she was meant to be written off very quick. We’re able to get a bit of exposition as to why Kevin is the way he is when the two characters are together. Their chemistry was awesome; although later on I will get into issues that I had when certain things would happen. Overall, Buckley did a great job.

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If you’re getting the hint that things didn’t pan out as I had expected while watching the movie then most likely it’s because of the direction of the script. The movie started strong but by the third act that’s when the wheels on train begins to fall apart. As seen in the trailer when McAvoy begins to climb on the walls and is running around like a demon in distress, it left me still trying to piece together how this entity breaks through the sound barrier. Because everything that involved the DID made it seem believable that a person could be this way. There was a believability factor that existed and that was one of the reasons that made everything else that was happening that more terrifying. But once “The Beast” as they say appears it sort of ruined it for me because it felt like we entered into another dimension. It could’ve been handled better.

Now let’s get to the elephant in the room which is in regards to the twist. Every M. Night Shymalan has some element of a twist in his movies and for ‘Split’ it is no different. I will not however go into detail about what that twist may entail because it is something for the audience to stumble upon for themselves. As far as my reaction to the twist I thought it was an interesting decision by the director and that’s all I will say to that.

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Where does ‘Split‘ stand against Shymalans’ other projects is that it’s a hit or miss but is definitely one of his better efforts. It’s directed with care and has good performances by the actors. Again, it goes back to the script and the direction the movie is trying to head towards can sometimes get lost in translation. The movie reminds me a lot of ‘Identity‘ (2003), where from a psychological point of view you’re not sure who’s character is really screwed up. For a January release, the movie is surprisingly fresh and forgoes the dump machine that many studios rely on.

Rating: 7/10

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Are you planning on watching ‘Split‘? Which M. Night Shymalan movie is your favorite? Comment below and share your thoughts.

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

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.