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Life (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


MV5BMzAwMmQxNTctYjVmYi00MDdlLWEzMWUtOTE5NTRiNDhhNjI2L2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTkxNjUyNQ@@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_When an international space station intercepts a failed satellite, they discover a single cell membrane that may lead to Earth’s first contact with alien life. As the life form retaliates it looks to attack the astronauts onboard. To the astronauts the only thing that matters is that it doesn’t get back to earth; even if it means taking their own lives. The film is directed by Daniel Espinosa and stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, and Rebecca Ferguson.

First thing that comes to mind when I first saw a preview for ‘Life‘ was how familiar it was. And it’s coincidental that this movie comes out two month before one of the most eagerly hyped films of the year in ‘Alien: Covenant‘. If you thought going into the movie you were going to see something fresh and unused compared to years past then you are terribly mistaken. But what the movie does have going for it are the involvement of its stars. And believe it or not the acting isn’t all that bad. As a matter of fact, the movie is competent for most of its duration. Yet in the end the movie is just there.

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Getting this out of the way, the movie does give call-backs to Alien and many other franchises; almost to the extent of embarrassment. One of which is shown in the trailer where Ariyon Bakare’s character is seen having hand difficulty when the organism grabs hold. It immediately brought me back to Ridley Scott’sPrometheus‘ (2012) when a biologist gets his arm snapped by an alien worm. And once the organism grows to a certain point it resembles something we’d see in ‘The Faculty‘ where high schoolers fend off against parasites taking hold of there teachers.

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Looking back I regret even seeing the trailer because beat by beat you see major spoilers that lessens the events that transpire. And upsettingly the conclusion is spoiled with a lackluster twist. What I hoped to get from the movie was some form of character development to where we can care about the people we watch. To a point they succeed with one of the astronauts who’s welcoming a baby girl. And another who’s length of time in space is taking a physical toll on his body but emotionally he is not too ready to return to earth because of space’s tranquility. Yet as a whole the script doesn’t succeed in making us care for them when turmoil ensues.

Though the movie started with promise and exposition as to what life-form they’re dealing with, I was hoping they’d go into more detail. The movie just rushes to move ahead rather then venture into what the organism is capable of or what its endgame would be. It’s obvious that it can’t get to earth because doing so would put the fate of mankind at risk. So where’s the suspense? There really isn’t any. From Gyllenhaal to Reynolds to Ferguson, they all were fine with some gripes to be made on some of their decision making. It’s not a terrible movie. It’s not a game-changer. ‘Life‘ is sadly just there.

Rating: 6.5/10

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How do you feel about ‘Life‘? Are you planning on watching it? How does it compare to other sci-fi movies in years past? Comment below and share your thoughts.

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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.

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.

The Shallows (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


UnknownJust when you thought it was safe to get back in the water, Sony delivers a terrifying feature where a perfect paradise soon becomes a hunter’s prey. Blake Lively stars as our heroine, Nancy, who is attacked by a man-eating shark. After finding refuge on a wreath while fighting the elements, Nancy fights for her life to when all seems lost. The film is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and also stars Oscar Jaenada.

It’s been over 40 years since Steven Spielberg’sJaws‘ splashed onto the big screen in 1975 that not only terrified the audiences but also jump started a new sub-genre in horror. In between time we’ve been acquainted with rip-offs such as ‘Piranha’ (1978), ‘Deep Rising’ (1998), & Shark Night 3D (2011) with television sensations in Syfy channel’s ‘Sharknado‘ that even saw a one-night theatrical release. But none of the names mentioned comes close to the impact ‘Jaws‘ had on beachgoers since then. Well the wait may be finally over as ‘The Shallows‘ comes to be a fresh surprise.

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Let’s talk about the lead actress in Blake Lively, who was awesome in this movie. She came off as a tough heroine to fend off against the beast that came for blood. Every move she made or was thought to make would come at a price. Without giving too much away, it’s safe to say she was down right deserted when she’s attacked. With no one around to help her she managed to use her well-quipped survival skills to survive the elements. The one thing I enjoyed about Lively’s character is that you got to know her and understand her reasons for venturing out to a beach in South America. Those reasons then aid her later on when the shark goes for the kill which leads to Nancy talking herself through the ordeal.

Coming from the director who made ‘Orphan(2009) & ‘Non-Stop’ (2014), Jaume Collett-Serra took on ‘The Shallows‘ and one of the things that stood out was the cinematography cause the movie looked gorgeous. The camera work was great as we saw Nancy riding the waves along with shots where she begins to discover she is not alone. One of the things I took from the movie was how Collett-Serra was able to build suspense with what you couldn’t see. With choppy waters at times you sometimes felt on edge because of the thought of a shark just veering at you from out of nowhere, which actually got to me a few times. It’s no fault of the director because I’m sure that’s the reaction he wanted audiences to get.

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Where the movie struggles with is not trying to run into cliche territory; In particular we’re talking about the shark and how ‘smart’ it is. On occasion there are added characters who you can figure out will become shark bait, or the ending in which is a little unrealistic. But that’s what you would expect in a movie like this and shouldn’t surprise anyone. Characters show up out of nowhere at times with little to no explanation other then they’re just there. However, that’s little to quell over considering the strengths of the film and your invested in the character to make it out alive.

There’s a lot to appreciate here in ‘The Shallows‘ and although it’s no ‘Jaws‘ it definitely is a compliment to one of the all-time greats. Blake Lively was great and it can’t be said enough. Let’s hope this can be a return to a genre that’s been less than stellar over the years and make audiences fear the waters yet again.

Rating: 7/10

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What do you guys think? Do you plan on watching ‘The Shallows‘? Besides ‘Jaws’ which guilty pleasure water movie has been your favorite to watch time and time again? Comment below and share your thoughts.

 

Pride, Prejudice, & Zombies (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


PHeVyBYeK0Ajif_1_lBased off the book series by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith is the live adaptation of a love story taking place during a zombie apocalypse. As a plague devastates an English village of Meryton, Elizabeth Bennett is determined to rid of the zombie infestation while also falling for Mr. Darcy. With relationships turning on every corner, trust soon turns to desperation as England rages against the ill born disease. The film is directed by Burr Steers and stars Lily James, Sam Riley, and Matt Smith.

Curious going into the movie I was intrigued by the trailers over the last month; especially with Lily James starring as the lead role. James did a great job in last year’s live adaptation of ‘Cinderella‘ and returns here to bring another book to life. If you go into ‘Pride, Prejudice, & Zombies‘ thinking your going to get an action packed movie then you will be sorely mistaken. This unfortunately is what took me by surprise as having not read the book I wasn’t sure what to expect. With that said, the movie is a mess.

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Starting with the narrative we’re introduced to a village within England that has come to be populated with zombies. As the opening credits hits we are given a backstory to the events that led up to the plague and how local cities are dealing with the zombie apocalypse. Then we see Lily James who plays Elizabeth Bennett, who with five sisters stands side by side as they clean up the outbreak when it shows up. Not too long later we get a love story developing between Ms. Bennett and Mr. Darcy which then leads to the entire movie focusing on them and not so much zombies.

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Some of the positives I’ll give is the fact that the film suits the time period of 17th century London. The performance by Lily James as the heroine ass kicker is also to be commended. Having started on television and then working her way onto the big stage with ‘Wrath of the Titans‘, ‘Broken‘, James is getting on peoples radar as she should be. Her co-star in Sam Riley who plays Mr. Darcy was good and nothing more then that. His ability to play the male version of James’ role worked out well as they each possessed qualities that brought friction as they fought for each other’s love.

Having said the positives we now delve into the negatives of the film. There was very little action or suspense which came as a surprise considering the movie was ultimately a love story. There was more dialogue that took place over action that literally you could have taken the zombie component out altogether. Sometimes your thinking what was the reason for having zombies when it’s the living that’s causing more trouble. And the romance between Lily James and Sam Riley seemed neutral. I wasn’t rooting for either one of them that by the end of the movie your forced to accept the outcome. The buildup could’ve been better with more to be at stake. Then a love triangle looked like it was starting to shape up and that’s when I was over the movie entirely. The movie didn’t know what it wanted to be; thus lacking an identity.

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As confusing as the movie was with poor editing and fast cuts that denied you the pleasure of watching the action in full your left dissatisfied. I do not recommend ‘Pride, Prejudice, & Zombies‘ if your looking for an action zombie flick. Instead you will get a romance glossed over by mild violence and a tame script.

Rating: 5/10

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What do you guys think? Do you plan to watch ‘Pride, Prejudice, & Zombies‘? Comment below and share your thoughts.

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.