Tag Archives: thriller

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.

rings-movie-paramount

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.

1-11

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.

maxresdefault

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

13476359851958638477thumbs-down-icon-red-hi-md

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

Advertisements

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


resident-evil-the-final-chapter-posterWith a five year delay, and after countless sequels, it looks like Milla Jovovich is hanging her artillery up for good. Paul W. S. Anderson returns to direct ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter‘ and looks to bring the franchise he started back in 2002 to a close. All the lingering questions everyone’s had about the Umbrella Corporation and if and what can stop the T-virus from whipping the face of humanity into extinction will be revealed. For over 15 years, it’s a franchise that many gave up on as the series dragged on with Jovovich at the helm. Some may argue the sequels gave a clear identity of what it wanted to be, as we’ve seen in other franchises such as in the Fast and Furious series. It all comes to an end and much of the production is more of like a thank you to everyone that stayed the course, for good or indifferent.

Alice (Milla Jovovich) arises to find out that much of humanity has now been deceased. However, with a little help from the Red Queen, she discovers that an anti-serum exists deep within the hive’s location. And with Dr. Isaac (Iain Glen) on the hunt to stop Alice in her tracks, his master plan is in jeopardy. It’s a race to Raccoon city with the true fate of humanity resting in Alice’s hands.

international-trailer-resident-evil-the-final-chapter

I was a fan of the Resident Evil video games back in the 90s and it was announced that a film adaptation was in the works everyone was intrigued; especially with Milla Jovovich being attached to the project. Once it hit theaters it was drawn with a mix bag with some liking it and others thinking it was mah. Though not a complete transfer from the storylines we’d seen in the games it had an appealing premise and action sequences to entertain. Thereafter, the series became a thing on its own and eventually giving us that videogame feel with ‘Resident Evil: Afterlife‘ (2010). By this point, the series seemed like a cash grab and became a huge appeal to audiences overseas where much of the revenue came in.

resident_evil_final_chapter_review

One thing you could take from the recent and supposedly “final” chapter is that you could tell it was made for the fans; whichever how many are left that is. It went away from a level by level game mode to more of what ‘Apocalypse‘ brought. Story elements were thrown in to tie up the loose ends of the series, including the backstory behind the Umbrella Corporation and why the T-virus was created in the first place. We’d even get a philosophical explanation by Dr. Isaac that really takes the originality of the premise into familiar territory. But what would you expect from the last and final film?  Aside from the beginning and end, everything in between is exactly what fans come to pay and see. And rightfully so.

1fa57d97bb5c0479a897289b4cf49cfbcdfff1db

The movie promises to come full circle and for the most part we get a conclusion to Alice’s character. But to argue that the movie is the best in the series is a tough argument to make. There were moments when the effects looked cheap and the acting was never top notch either. Some of the plot points had me scratching my head at times when there was talk about the anti-virus. I could’ve sworn the anti-virus was mentioned in the very first movie and thus had me wondering why it was supposed to come as a surprise that one exists. But again, we’re not here for story so it doesn’t even really matter.

With the series coming to a close and Milla Jovovich bowing to her fans for one last time (let’s hope) I sincerely hope it is the end. After a five year break it’s a little surprising Paul W. S. Anderson would even return given the lack of interest in the U.S. market. ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’ does have action for everyone as one would expect by now. As a sendoff to a franchise that fans have come to endure it does leave you with some satisfaction. And that’s being nice coming from someone who lost interest after the original.

13476359851958638477thumbs-down-icon-red-hi-md

Rating: 5.5/10

What do you think of ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter‘? If you had to rank the films in order from worst to best, how would you rank them? Comment below and share your thoughts.

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.

split04

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.

56373_069

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.

split-gallery-3-586544774d2d1-1

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

thumbsup

Are you planning on watching ‘Split‘? Which M. Night Shymalan movie is your favorite? 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.

maxresdefault-4

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.

the-disappointments-room-2016-movie-posters

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

13476359851958638477thumbs-down-icon-red-hi-md

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.

morgan-gallery8

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.

Morgan-Film-Trailer

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

13476359851958638477thumbs-down-icon-red-hi-md

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.

Nerve (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


Nerve-2016From the directors of Paranormal 3 & 4, are Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman’s take on a game that takes a person to their limits and once you start you’ll have to finish, or else. When Vee is pressured to take risks for a change by her best friend Sydney, she takes part in a viral game called Nerve. What starts as an innocent game of truth or dare soon takes a turn towards danger as complicated scenarios are thrown Vee’s way that could mean between life and death. The movie stars Dave Franco and Emma Roberts.

This movie reminded me a lot of ‘13 Sins‘ (2014) which has a similar premise when it came to making money and how someone is thrust into a deadly game with everything to lose. It worked as a thriller as the main character had to complete a series of tests but with each one being more dangerous as the last. But as for ‘Nerve‘ we get a more modern take on how the game utilizes social media to thrust people into uncharted territory and even to the point where it turns players against each other. Another way of looking at it is how so many people have embraced Pokemon Go and hearing how far people would go in catching all of the Pokemon, from getting into accidents or walking off cliffs. Now most of the events were unintended  but the gist of it is in the fact that it created a social media storm.

nerve-2016-emma-roberts-and-dave-franco-play-a-dangerous-game-399387

Let’s start with the performances by Emma Roberts and Dave Franco as they each participate in Nerve but also finding attraction for one another at some point along the way. This in many ways was Franco’s first stand out performance, coming off of the Now You See Me franchise and ‘Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising‘ that came out earlier this year. He did a good job and was likable as a character who ends up playing a pivotal role along the way. Same can be said for Emma Roberts who at times can make it not seem believable; especially when she’s known for playing it safe to then jumping into being a risk taker. You do get a sense of understanding though for Vee as someone who wants to better herself and wants to move out of her mom’s home. By participating in Nerve it not only breaks her fear of risk but she can also make money along the way as a means.

889671_017

Without giving away spoilers as it’s implied in the trailer is how focus was put on the use of social media and the consequences that could follow. The game requires both watchers and viewers which after the movie you’ll understand to the extent of what I am saying. It brought to light how influential social media can have on people, good or bad, and how being a watcher is just as powerful. The ending to the movie is where I’m making my point and it reminded me of how feeding into an event or participating in something that you’re not so sure about can be just as dangerous as to those behind the lens. Things that came to mind were bullying or even the political climate where the media can influence viewers in ways we don’t even know and can sometimes determine the outcome.

Some of the problems I had with ‘Nerve‘ stemmed from the lack of origin of how the game came to be. It’s given some explanation of how the game exists but is treated as a game that doesn’t have an origin. However, what got me the most was how illogical and irresponsible watchers could be when it came to daring people. Some of the challenges were downright dangerous and made you think that the watchers were the real villains as they watch people die from dares they all agreed to. The love component between Vee and Ian is unrealistic and always makes me wonder why that’s thrown in because they easily could’ve turned into good friends. It’s almost as if the filmmakers were trying to appeal to the female audience when in fact the movie was advertised as an action thriller. Last but not least, this is a one trick pony and doesn’t have a re-watchability to it which may as well have been put straight to Video-On-Demand.

Screen+Shot+2016-05-11+at+3.19.23+PM.png

There is fun to be had with a premise that isn’t so original and some good chemistry between James Franco and Emma Roberts, but ultimately the thrills go over the top and becomes illogical as the movie progresses. Without making comparisons, ‘Nerve‘ is definitely better then Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman’s found footage projects in horror. That said, it is entertaining enough and has some jaw dropping camera work especially if you have a fear of heights.

Rating: 6/10

thumbsup

What do you guys think of ‘Nerve‘? Do you plan on watching the movie? Comment below and share your thoughts.

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.

purge-ey-3

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.

New-Trailer-Released-for-The-Purge-Election-Year-VIDEO

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.

the-purge-election-year-2016-hanging-tree

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

thumbsup

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.