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Ghostbusters (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


ghostbusters_ver6It’s been over 30 years since Ivan Reitman’s feature, including Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson, about a group who band together in discovering paranormal activity all around New York. The movie would become a staple to Reitman’s career and a fan favorite. We’d then see a sequel in 1989 with the original cast returning that would lead to mixed reactions. And with Paul Feig wanting to resurrect the franchise he does so by replacing our fond male leads with an all female cast of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones as they dawn the jumpsuits and take fight to the ghosts and ghouls of New York City.

As Erin Gilbert sets herself for tenure at Harvard, she pleads with her friend Abbey to take down a book they both worked on that dealt with the paranormal. But after the Aldrich hauntings and callings of paranormal events popping up around New York, they assemble a team to investigate the events as they find out someone is perpetrating the ghost sitings and is planning for something much bigger. There was a lot of flack for Paul Feig’s decision for an all female cast. More so was the expectations for ‘Ghostbusters‘ as many wondered if it could harness the charisma and wit that came from the original cast. Now that the movie is released and many have gone to see it, we can say it’s not a blunder.

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Not being sure how I would react to ‘Ghostbusters‘ I went in with low expectations so to not set myself up for disappointment. Also was the amount of chatter in regards to how awful the movie was with what seems to have audiences and critics at odds. The movie opened in great fashion as we see some paranormal activity over at the Aldridge Estate. This leads us to meeting Erin and Abbey, who after a fallout over their book, agree to investigate the Aldridge case. And this is how the Ghostbusters unit is born. The chemistry between Wiig and McCarthy flowed and did too with Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. All of them had their own quirks which was a compliment to Bill Murray and company.

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Many wondered if the original cast would make appearances in the new movie and so they did. They weren’t big roles nor were they crucial to the plot, instead it was a trickle here and a trickle there that made it fun rather then all in one take. One of the interesting roles we see is in Chris Hemsworth as the Ghostbuster’s new receptionist. He definitely found a fit with the cast as his odd personality matched that of Kate McKinnon but not as you may expect. Seeing him in future installments, if there are any, will be a welcome that’s for sure.

For the most part the movie brought nostalgia as to the return of the jump suits, ghostbusters mobile, old ghosts we’ve seen in the past, and the iconic theme music. The music was hit and miss and personally wasn’t all that memorable when compared to the original. The overall story started off great but then it fell into a borage of ghosts that the Ghostbusters had to shoot at. I got the impression that the person pulling the strings, played by Rowan North, was being set up for future installments as the main villain. Come to find out it doesn’t turn out that way and all we get is a dissatisfied character.

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Yes the movie is entertaining to watch with an all female cast and we do get shout outs to the original. There’s promise for a franchise as was started by Paul Feig, but the question lies into whether the audiences respond well to the reboot. And with audiences and critics at odds over the movie, it should make for interesting results and whether or not a ‘Ghostbusters 2‘ will be green lit. As for now, ‘Ghostbusters‘ pleases but can do much much better.

Rating: 6.3/10

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What do you guys think of the new ‘Ghostbusters‘? Are you planning to go watch it? Do you want to see a franchise with the all female cast? Comment below and share your thoughts.

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The Purge: Election Year (2016) Review

PG3_UncleSam1Sht_0518_1SM.0This is not a test. This is the commencement of the annual purge sanctioned by the U.S. Government. With Universal successfully coming off of the sequel with ‘The Purge: Anarchy‘ after a rocky start to the franchise, audiences bare witness to the next event. From the director who brought us the first two Purge films is James DeMonaco, who surprisingly has  only directed four movies including this one. As America enters into election season, a Senator running for office threatens to suspend the annual tradition if elected as President. This catches the attention of the founding fathers as they set out to eliminate any threats that would bring an end to their agenda.

It’s not ironic that with an election coming up we’d see Universal take advantage by returning with their eye catching property ‘The Purge‘ while adding their own message to the mix. Frank Grillo returns for ‘The Purge: Election Year‘ and is Senator’s Charlie Roan’s  (Elizabeth Mitchell) protector when the annual purge slowly approaches. Coming off the last film where Leo Barnes was going to go after the man responsible for the death of his son, returns here in a role where he too wants to see the purge come to an end. While the Senator is put in a safe house it soon is found out that it’s all a set up from the inside to kill the Senator. This sets both Leo and Roan on the run while danger awaits them on every corner.

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The first Purge movie was met with mostly negative responses and was in due part to the action taking place in one location. As a viewer we weren’t able to take in the concept which is that a country would for 12 hours see an event where all crime is legal; including murder, and the carnage that would follow. Later we’d see the sequel in 2014 where it made up for what lacking while also adding more to the founding fathers and why the purge was created. And with a standout performance by Frank Grillo as the Sergeant, he takes in survivors of the night while trying to lead them to safety. So it brings us to the third installment where it’s for all the marbles and the country’s soul is on the line.

Let’s start by saying that seeing Frank Grillo return was a great call and seeing him in this movie brought us back to how great he was in the last outing. He doesn’t stop a beat when insider’s turn bad and he has to escort Senator Roan to safety. This leads us to Elizabeth Michell’s performance as the Senator who believe it or not wasn’t a distraction. You were sold into her character who was running to end the violence and tradition that was only fueling the agenda’s of the elite. There are instances where people are uncertain of her true motives as she can be seen like all other politicians.

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It would be crazy for me not to deny there wasn’t a political tone to the movie when it comes to rich versus the poor and is how the tradition of the purge helps to eliminate a certain class. A more disturbing take was how we see tourists from other countries coming to participate in the purge. This brings to light the ongoing fight in today’s world where terrorism is arriving or showing up all over the world. But for the sake of the film it works to it’s benefit and shows how powerful a voice can be if one or not all takes action. Of the three films thus far, ‘The Purge: Election Year‘ is the most politically telling of them all and may leave you with mixed reactions.

As was the case with the last two films, ‘The Purge: Election Year‘ has it’s fair share of problems. The concept still has holes that it can’t manage to overcome considering the scale of such an event. No matter how hard the movie tries focusing on the political aspects of the event, it ends up cheating itself from being a more thought provoking idea. The violence is surprisingly little, yet we see a lot of blood and death if that were to make any sense. There’s plenty of ammunition to be spent here and is what we see most of. In the end, it struggles between being a horror film or an all out action feature. One last thing I’ll say is that in the last films we’d see a time frame of the purge taking place. In this one the movie doesn’t place too much attention to how much time has passed from once the purge starts to when it ends. Though it may not make a difference it does feel absent and leaves you wondering why that decision was made.

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With that said, the ending does leave with potential for another sequel and will ultimately depend on the returns at the box office. The production budget for this movie was $10 million* so it can easily make a profit. As Universal and Blumhouse productions continue with a winning track record, it’s safe to say their trilogy is a success. And when I mean success, it’s in regards to the concept that is the purge and how it caught the attention of movie-goers since its inception in 2013. Give it to Director James DeMonaco as he not only made a franchise but also isn’t shy in making a statement as well.

Rating: 6.8/10

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Source: Box Office Mojo

Do you plan on watching ‘The Purge: Election Year‘? What do you think of the franchise? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Triple 9 (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


UnknownA group of crooked cops are under pressure by a Russian Mob to pull of a heist. But not everyone is in on the job as Chris Allen is partners with Michael Atwood who has relations with the boss’s family. When the IA gets closer to the bandits and the walls begin to close in, everyone is on their own and trust soon turns to betrayal. The movie is directed by John Hillcoat with stars Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, and Woody Harrelson.

From the same person who brought us ‘Lawless‘ and ‘The Road‘, John Hillcoat delivers an action packed drama that wasn’t promoted or advertised. Not having seen the trailer I went into ‘Triple 9‘ with low expectations because of the lack of exposure in theaters and on television. So how did the movie fair? Although it kept my attention with the story and action sequences the film is far from perfect but it managed to stand on its own two legs for most of the runtime.

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What this movie reminded me a lot of was Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Departed‘ and Antoine Fuqua’s ‘Training Day‘. In this film we find Michael Atwood lead a group of men in a series of heists while working for a Russian Mob. Along the way he struggles to please his bosses while trying to see his son whenever possible. It gets to a point where Michael has to make drastic decisions in order to stay alive. At the same time we follow Chris Allen (Casey Affleck) as he is partnered with Michael unknowing of his involvement with the mob. This leads to a heist that is near close to impossible where the only solution is to call a triple 9 and lure police away from the police station in order to steal from The Department of Homeland Security.

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The movie keeps the viewers attention with the drama and crime scenes that are genuine to what we see with cartels and inner-city violence. There’s one scene that got a reaction from the audience that hits close to home that involves a car and head trophies sitting on the hood of the trunk. And the performances by Affleck and Ejiofor were what stood out from everyone else. Everyone contributed in their own way including Woody Harrelson who played the IA detective and father of Chris. One of the disappointing things that took me by surprise was the sudden death of one of the characters. Without spoiling it all I’ll say is that I really thought this character would have had a leading part in the movie.

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There wasn’t necessarily a bad performance throughout the movie; however, what did hurt the film was the pacing. After starting strong with a bank heist we then get introduced to the mob. It’s soon after that we learn of the heist that’s to take place in the near future. But until then the movie takes its time leading up to the heist that a good twenty minutes could have been removed to quicken the pace without hurting the story. And where the movie also suffers is in the quick and sudden resolution between Michael and the Russian mob. The movie could have better intertwined the crooked cop narrative along with the mob’s narrative. It felt at times the two were separate from each other yet people were referenced by each side. Aside from these issues, your entertained till the end with decent performances from everyone involved.

Although the narrative could’ve been a little tighter with less of a runtime, ‘Triple 9‘ is good enough to leave audience members satisfied. It may not have that effort as compared to ‘Training Day‘ or ‘The Departed‘ but it follows the same twists and turns each were able to offer. Casey Affleck and Chiwetel Ejiofor are the leads who did a great job along with Woody Harrelson. Having not been advertised enough it’s disappointing this movie won’t do as good financially had it been the other way around.

Rating: 6.5/10

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What do you guys think? Have you heard of ‘Triple 9‘ and are planning to watch it? Comment below and click the like button if you enjoyed reading this post.

Gods of Egypt (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


godsofegypt0001When Horus is about to be crowned King of Egypt, his uncle Set turns on his fellow brother to take over and rule the land. As the Gods are hunted down one by one until Set is the only King, a mere mortal in Bek sets out to help Horus and return Egypt to greatness. The film is directed by Alex Proyas and stars Gerard Butler, Brenton Thwaites, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

Going into ‘Gods of Egypt‘, Alex Proyas is known for having success with ‘I, Robot‘, ‘Dark City‘, and even ‘The Crow‘. Those films had visual appeal that going into this movie I was looking forward to another showcase. If one were to find out this movie had a production of $140 million* you would be in disbelief. How or where the money went to produce a poorly edited, poor effects, and a lackluster script made ‘Gods of Egypt’ a big budget mess.

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The opening of the movie was eye catching as the narrator introduces us to the groundwork. It’s here we find Gerard Butler as Set confront Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) after the death of Horus’s father. With exposition in place we are led on a long and treacherous journey where the movie ultimately fails. With actors like Butler and Thwaites we’d expect a decent experience where entertainment would be a given. So much effort was put on the special effects that there was barely a script to follow. The dialogue from some of the actors must have been hard to muster because it didn’t make any sense nor was it funny when it wanted to be.

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With performances aside the money grabber is on the effects. Yet with so much invested the outcome is horrendous. Where things went wrong is something Director Alex Proyas would have to explain because there wasn’t a justified effect that stood out. The only effect that would have worked had it been done right was how the Gods were depicted when they transformed from human form to shielded giants. If the special effects were spot on the action scenes would have been amazing; especially the fighting sequences between Set and Horus.

Along with a bad script and poor effects, we also get a 127 minute runtime that isn’t justified. The movie could have easily been cut down to 90 minutes as there were countless scenes of dialogue or action sequences that were put in the script for the sake of keeping audience’s attention. It’s to no surprise an embargo was put in place with no early screenings for critics that ‘Gods of Egypt‘ was doomed upon release. This is a huge let down from Summit Entertainment that sees Alex Proyas with a less than stellar entry to his portfolio.

Rating: 4/10

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What do you guys think? Are you planning to watch ‘Gods of Egypt‘? Comment below and share your thoughts. And click the like button if you enjoyed reading this post.

*Source: Box Office Mojo

Risen (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


Risen_2016_posterWhen the Messiah is put on the cross and left to die, Clavius is ordered to put the body in hiding. After three days the body of Jesus is said to have disappeared thus leaving Clavius to search the truth. In a story about resurrection it’s the telling of a non-believer who searches deep within to question his loyalty and faith. The movie is directed by Kevin Reynolds and stars Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton, and Peter Firth.

Another telling of the bible as LD Entertainment delivers a faith-based story as we slowly approach the Spring season. This time Joseph Fiennes plays the lead role of Clavius who is ordered to go throughout Jerusalem and bring forth the thieves in the night. His performance here is one of the bright spots because although the movie centers around him the movie could have easily failed had it not been for his contribution. Majority of the film is about Clavius searching for the prophets body. When Jerusalem is raided and Mary Magdalene (Maria Botto) is found by Clavius it leads to a pivotal moment where belief comes into question.

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The narrative for ‘Risen‘ doesn’t lead up to anything but rather explores the key events that leads to the rise of Christianity and the disciples who are sent out to spread the word of god. Some may find the film questionable while others may gloss over the facts, either way the target audience for ‘Risen‘ will find something to like. One of the things that took me by surprise was the amount of parents who brought their kids to the theater to watch the movie. There is a good amount of violence that at least in the theater I went to no one was complaining or had to take their kids out. One scene in particular was intense as we see one of Clavius’ guards piercing a rod through one of the three men on the cross. To hold a PG-13 rating the movie surely was riding that line where at moments you thought it should’ve received the R.

In the end you will go into ‘Risen‘ being educated about the resurrection of Jesus while also being entertained by very few action sequences. Although the movie isn’t memorable as there are more superior iterations such as Mel Gibson’sThe Passion of the Christ‘, audiences can take something away in some way or form. It’s a slight recommend with the performance of Joseph Fiennes that saves ‘Risen‘ from falling from grace.

Rating: 6/10

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What do you guys think? Are you planning to watch ‘Risen‘? Comment below and share your thoughts. And click the like button if you enjoyed reading this post.

New ‘Purge’ trailer promises a Government showdown…

Published by: Anthony Wallace


the-purge-election-year-PG3_Tsr1Sht11_RGB_0128_1SM_rgbAfter a two year hiatus and a project that almost didn’t see the day of light, Universal returns with ‘The Purge: Election Year‘. Frank Grillo returns to action as this time he is part of a security team looking to protect a government official as Purge operatives look to stop anyone from ending the annual tradition (View trailer down below). The trailer looks intense as we’re looking to go deeper as to who is pulling the strings as the New Founding Fathers took over the government. Grillo’s character will surely be prepared this time as his previous Purge took him all throughout the city while almost avenging his son’s killer.

The Purge franchise took everyone by surprise as ‘The Purge: Anarchy‘ righted many of the wrongs in the original. With making over $112 million* world-wide, Universal saw another sequel happening down the road. A sequel was quickly announced when ‘Anarchy‘ finished it’s opening weekend; however, time went by when little to nothing was moving in a direction for a release. It wasn’t until Frank Grillo agreed to return to the series that a script was readily available. Now with only five months to go before ‘Election Year‘ releases that the anticipation is set.

What do you guys think? Are you looking forward to ‘The Purge: Election Year‘? Comment below and share your thoughts. And click the like button if you enjoyed reading this post.

Source: Box Office Mojo

Deadpool (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


deadpool_ver9The highly anticipated Marvel comic-book action movie has arrived with Ryan Reynolds in ‘Deadpool‘. After finding out that Wade Willis has cancer, he is reached out to participate in a series of tests that can not only cure but make him capable of having super strength. When things go bad, Willis is out to seek the man who is responsible for his transformation and save his companion. The film is directed by Tim Miller and also stars Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller, and Ed Skrein.

Wow! This is possibly one of the best comic book adaptations we’ve seen in some time since ‘Captain America: Winter Soldier’. Given the R rating that everyone clamored for it gave the movie a gritty edge in violence and humor; all staying true to the comics that is ‘Deadpool‘. All of this mounting to a refreshing contrast to the Marvel cinematic universe we all have been used to seeing. Fun is the word you would describe this film; especially the performance given by Ryan Reynolds. Fans of the Marvel universe will be happy to know that the studio did justice to the character and didn’t hold any punches in the process.

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One of the great things about the movie is the pacing as your constantly jumping from action scene to events leading up to what is just transpiring. There is never a dull moment because if it’s not the action your seeing it’s the backstory of Wade Willis that keeps you in tune. I thought Morena Baccarin (Vanessa) as Willis’s love interest had good chemistry with Reynolds and made you feel for the both of them. Both of them were odd in their own ways which worked for them as a couple. And Wade’s closest friend Weasel, played by T.J. Miller wasn’t terrible either. For the most part everyone did a good job.

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What could’ve been elaborated more was the intentions of the underground establishment and the testing of live hosts turning them into enemies of the state. The casting of Ed Skrein as Francis was good but would’ve liked to have seen more on the development of his character. With the tight runtime it sometimes felt like there wasn’t enough time to explain events that takes place in the movie. However, again, emphasis was put on the action and humor involving Deadpool as he tries to save Vanessa as so much of the complaints can become overlooked and forgiven.

Some of the great moments I took from the movie were the references to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. The opening credits alone gets you some laughs cause you don’t see it coming. It’s hard not to bring up the X-Men as we see Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead take part along-side the ever so complicated hero. You sense there will be a connection at some point where we will see Deadpool team up with X-Men in the future. And lets not forget a small cameo appearance by Stan Lee that’s priceless to watch. Many people in the theater that I attended cheered on for Mr. Lee. This man is a legend and will always have a place in the Marvel universe if we hadn’t noticed already.

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Everything one could have asked for was received as ‘Deadpool‘ delivered on all the goods. Ryan Reynolds is a great addition to the Marvel cinematic universe as we wash away the backlash from ‘Green Lantern‘; although more of the problems were in the script and not Reynolds himself. So he redeems himself here and promises a franchise as it will be interesting to see him cross-over to the X-Men universe somewhere down the line. Overall this is a movie you will definitely want to watch that not only is action packed but is sure to give you a few belly laughs.

Rating: 7.8/10

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What do you guys think? Do you plan to watch ‘Deadpool‘? Comment below and share your thoughts. And please click the like button if you enjoyed reading this review.