Tuesday, May 30, 2017

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Home For The Holidays Movie Review

At the insistence of their dying father, four sisters reunite at his mansion, where they suspect their old man's new wife is poisoning him. Soon after, the sisters begin dying off as well. Not to be confused with the 1995 Robert Downey Jr. and Holly Hunter comedy that long time readers may recall being on this site back in its early days, this is a 1972 made for television film, so we know right off the bat not to expect much blood and guts. What we do get is a somewhat interesting story, lots of standard 1970s zooms, and some surprisingly good acting.

And a young Sally Field

The sisters--Field, Eleanor Parker, Jessica Walter, and Jill Haworth--all turn in decent performances, though Parker and Walter go a little too over the top during their respective character climaxes. If you're into the 70s look, you may also find the gals visually pleasing as well. Julie Harris as Elizabeth, the new wife, is the real acting gem in this film, as she plays the character straight as an arrow. The movie goes for a twist or two in the end, but you will likely see them coming, so it doesn't get many points for this. The scares are few, but for a made for television film from 1972, the death scenes push the envelope somewhat. While far from a classic, Home For The Holidays is a little better than I expected, and is worth a watch. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5


Home For The Holidays Television Spot (This is really cool)

Friday, May 26, 2017

SHUT IN

Shut In Movie Trailer

Clinical psychologist Mary (Naomi Watts, The Ring) has to care for her 18 year old stepson Steven (Charlie Heaton, Stranger Things) after a car accident kills his father and leaves Steven in a vegetative state. Some time later, another boy Mary is treating goes missing, and Mary begins having a mental breakdown, having difficulty distinguishing her dreams from reality. 

She's wishing this movie was just a dream

This movie starts off slow and doesn't really pick up at all until the last fifteen minutes or so, but by then you've probably given up on the film completely. The scares are nonexistent, as is any tension, uneasy feeling, blood, gore, or anything else that would make for a good horror or thriller. Watts, who is typically at least a decent actress, is horrible here, and not even Oliver Platt, who is good in just about anything he does, seems not to care enough to do more than phone this one in. Heaton at least tries in his role, but it gets to the point of laughable over acting. The plot, which could have built an interesting story surrounding Mary and Steven, or even around the missing boy, falls into cliche after cliche, leading to an unexpected twist ending--don't think of that as a positive here, as the twist is so absurd and unlikely that you will shake your head and roll your eyes when it unfolds. Thankfully, the movie is at least shot well, and the lighting adds mood otherwise missing from the film. Still, this is not enough to make this film one worth going out of your way to watch.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4


Shut In Movie Trailer

Thursday, May 25, 2017

GODZILLA VS MONSTER ZERO (aka Invasion of Astro-Monster)

Godzilla vs Monster Zero Movie Review

Two astronauts land on Planet X, where they come across human-like aliens who ask them to bring Godzilla and Rodan from Earth to battle their "Monster Zero", who we know better as Ghidorah. There's also a side story involving an inventor selling an electronic siren device to a woman who rips him off, and this all comes together when the alien beings inevitably turn out to be evil, but do we really care? We watch this movie for one thing: the monsters.

These guys

The monsters, of course, look awesome, but the fight scenes, unfortunately, leave a bit to be desired. This movie was the sixth installment in the Godzilla franchise, and, also unfortunately, was when our lovable monster began to become more comical than menacing--this includes, but is not limited to, Godzilla DANCING after a fight.

No, I'm not kidding

All of this adds up to a rather disappointing Godzilla film, but hey, it IS Godzilla, along with the other two coolest monsters from the Godzilla-verse, so it can't be all bad. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5


Godzilla vs Monster Zero Movie Trailer (In Japanese)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL

Ouija: Origin of Evil Movie Trailer

Fortune telling swindler Alice Zander (Elizabeth Reaser of Stay), with the assistance of daughters Lina (Annalise Basso, Oculus) and Doris (Lulu Wilson), makes a living conning people out of their money; things change, however, when Alice decides to add a Ouija board to her props, and suddenly the restless spirits really do begin communicating with the family. Set in 1967, this is a prequel to the 2014 film Ouija, and lays the groundwork nicely for that film. There really is a lot to like about this movie, and it starts with the retro Universal opening, and continues with the 1970s looking title. Director Mike Flanagan (Hush) continues the throwback awesomeness with some interesting post production decisions, including inserting cigarette burns, fading in and out and abrupt scene changes. Unfortunately, the acting brings the movie down quite a bit, especially Wilson, who fails to deliver the creepiness one would expect in this role. Flanagan also relies far too much on jump scares, and the cliched demon voice is present throughout--this is not to say there is nothing scary in the film; in fact, some scenes are terrifying, and Wilson does look frightening at times.

Like here

Ouija: Origin Of Evil had all the pieces in place to be a classic, but ultimately falls short--that said, this is still a pretty good horror flick.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Ouija: Origin of Evil Movie Trailer

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

28 WEEKS LATER

28 Weeks Later Movie Review

Set 28 weeks after the initial events of 28 Days Later, we find that NATO forces have taken control of Great Britain and have created a safe zone from the virus, which they believe to be almost completely eliminated. Two kids sneak out of the zone to visit their old home, where they find their mother still alive. The U.S. Military, headed up by sniper Doyle (Jeremy Renner), brings the kids and their mother back only to discover the woman has the virus, as well as an immunity to it. To nobody's surprise, the virus breaks out again and all hell breaks loose.

There's one way to escape

Much like in the first film, one could argue about if these are zombies or not--I won't argue one way of the other, because it really doesn't matter. This movie takes the violence and bloodshed of the first film and turns it up a notch. This was arguably Renner's breakout role--it's certainly what made me a fan, as he does a fantastic job here. Robert Carlyle (Eragon) also turns in a fine performance, and Rose Byrne of Insidious fame stops as well, but overall the acting is a step down from the first film. The movie moves at a very good pace, and there are some pretty surprising moments along the way. The story is very smart and the film is sure to keep you glued the entire time. The movie ends with a lead in to what has long been rumored to be the third installment of the film, allegedly 28 Months Later, but alas, nothing has come about yet. While most sequels do not live up to the original, this one comes awfully close.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8


28 Weeks Later Movie Trailer

Monday, May 8, 2017

28 DAYS LATER

28 Days Later Movie Review

Bicycle courier Jim (Cillian Murphy) awakens in a London hospital to find the city largely abandoned, the result of a virus that has eliminated much of the country and turned thousands into raging killing machines. This 2002 film sort of set the horror world on fire upon its release, and really brought new life to the zombie genre--of course, the argument could be made that what we see in the movie aren't zombies at all, and it's a fair argument, but lets face it--this is a zombie movie.

"What did you call me?!"

Jim meets up with a woman named Selena (Naomie Harris, the Pirates of the Caribbean movies), and they eventually come across a man named Frank (Brendan Gleeson, the Harry Potter Series) and his daughter Hannah (Megan Burns), and after hearing a radio broadcast, the group decides to travel to a supposed safe camp, but when they arrive, and we see it is a military camp, we know things are going to go bad. The wheels begin to fall off when the characters at the camp begin to unleash their real intentions, but there is so much to like about this movie that it likely won't turn you off to the film. The acting is top-notch, with all four of the actors mentioned above doing a tremendous job. The violence and gore are unrelenting, the music is fantastic, and the directing (Danny Boyle) is wonderful. The zombies are presented in a way we had not quite seen before, which, when the movie hit theatres, truly blew the audience away--you could almost hear the entire world all at once proclaim "the zombies are FAST!". 28 Days Later is considered a modern classic, a title it certainly deserves. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 9


28 Days Later Movie Trailer

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

MORGAN

Morgan Movie Review

A genetic-engineering company sends in a risk-assessment employee (Kate Mara, 24) to evaluate their latest creation, human hybrid Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy, Split), who, at five years old, has physically developed about five times fast than humans and has surpassed them in intelligence...and she has quite a temper to boot. After stabbing the eye out of Dr. Kathy Grieff (Jennifer Jason Leigh of Fast Times At Ridgemont High) and killing a psychologist (Paul Giamatti, Lady In The Water), it is decided Morgan must be destroyed, but that's easier said than done.

A bit of foreshadowing?

This is a slick sci-fi/horror film that hooks the audience with a cool premise and delivers on the action. The acting is pretty good in this movie, especially Taylor-Joy as the title character and Giamatti in his limited role. The directing leaves a little to be desired, but it works, and the story moves along at a nice pace, though it is a bit slow coming out of the gate. The film skips the typical argument of whether this type of science should be done, thus saving the audience from cliches we expect. The plot is a bit thin, so it will never be considered a classic in the genre, but it gets the job done. There is a twist ending that is effective--I didn't see it coming, but in a true rarity, my girlfriend did. Morgan is one of those films I didn't have great expectations for, but it was better than I thought it would be. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


Morgan Movie Trailer