Thursday, January 31, 2019

GLASS (From The Theatre)

WARNING: The following review contains spoilers. Lots and lots of spoilers. You have been warned!

Glass Movie Review

The post credits scene of Split teased that film meeting Unbreakable, and Glass is the result. In this film, we find David Dunn (Bruce Willis) from Unbreakable tracking down Kevin Crumb (James McAvoy) from Split. When both are captured, they are taken to an institution that also houses Dunn’s nemesis, Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson). Leading up to what we all suspect will be a battle for the ages, we see Dr. Staple (Sarah Paulson) trying to convince all three that Super Heroes and Villains do not exist, and the three of them are just normal people with strong delusions.

A meeting of at least 26

M. Night Shyamalan’s third film in the trilogy does a wonderful job building suspense, and moves at a lightning fast pace, something quite unusual for the director’s films—the run time is 129 minutes, but it seems to only last an hour. The acting is impressive pretty much across the board—our four main actors all bring their A-game, and the supporting cast, lead by Anya Taylor-Joy (returning from Split), and Charlayne Woodard and Spender Treat Clark, both reprising the roles they had in Unbreakable. When I reviewed Split, I said McAvoy deserved an Oscar nod for his performance, and he is just as wonderful in this film...he still won't be nominated though. While most of the directing is wonderful, some shots will leave you scratching your head—the body mounted Steadicam second person shots during the fight scenes will leave you feeling dizzy, and the extreme close ups of the characters’ faces will leave you feeling your personal space is being invaded—these shots also bothered my girlfriend, who was critical of how Paulson’s lips were painted on...

In case you're wondering

Other than these very minor complaints, this film is rolling along nicely, and you begin to think this could end up being a classic—then the wheels fall completely off. I am about to go full spoiler, so if you chose to ignore the warning above, have not seen this movie, and intend on watching it at some point, click somewhere else on this site now.......if you are still with me, here goes—our main characters finally escape capture and do battle in front of the building. This starts off really intense, and the excitement level grows...until somebody shoots Crumb, killing him. Then some other people grab a struggling Dunn and drown him to death in a puddle. Mr. Glass gets punched in the chest, falls out of his wheelchair, and dies. Who could be doing these things? Super, super villains? Aliens? Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson? NO! It's some random, faceless, know nothing about them group headed up by Dr. Staple. Let me say this again—David Dunn, Kevin Crumb, and Mr. Glass are all killed by random, faceless, regular people who are a part of some secret society that is trying to rid the world of superheroes!!! Good grief!!! I almost left the theater when this was revealed. I won't even go into the fact that this notion was lifted from X-Men movies—SHYAMALAN JUST KILLED OFF THE THREE MOST POWERFUL CHARACTERS HE EVER CREATED,  AND DID SO IN THE STUPIDEST WAY HE COULD THINK OF!!!! My blood pressure still has not leveled out from this. After this twist we get another one--this would redeems what we just saw to a small extent, but it doesn't come close to saving the film. Look, I did not expect Dunn or Glass to live through this movie; I did, however, expect them to be killed off in a more glorious fashion! Dunn should have killed Glass--we waited almost 20 years for that! I don't think Staple having a hand in the deaths of the three characters was a surprise, but I would have been MUCH more comfortable with this idea if she was a powerful, super villain type herself. My girlfriend asked me how I would have ended the film, and I told her this: Dunn kills Glass, an ultra-powerful Staple reveals who she really is in true super villain form and shocks everybody by killing Dunn, and Crumb manages to escape to fight Staple in the next movie. WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN WRONG WITH THAT ENDING?!

Sorry Dennis. I'll relax

Though no follow up film has been announced, such a film would not surprise me as 1) Staple is still alive, 2) before dying, Glass makes reference to this being an origins story, and 3) this movie has already made a ton of money. One has to wonder, however, what the interest level would be after killing off three such amazing characters. Granted, we still have the side characters each was attached to, and we did see them team up in the end, but none of those characters exactly scream "main character". Maybe Shaymalan is following X-Men's lead there too? Anyway, Glass is still a good movie, and certainly one worth checking out, but it ultimately falls well short of reaching the level of awesome it should have.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7



Glass Movie Trailer

Saturday, January 26, 2019

HELLRAISER: JUDGMENT (Hellraiser 10)

Hellraiser: Judgment Movie Review

Three detectives investigate a serial killer known as Preceptor, a sadistic madman whose murders are based on the Ten Commandments--no points for originality there. Meanwhile, Pinhead and the Auditor of the Stygian Inquisition (Gary J. Tunnicliffe) are devising ways to collect new souls. Let me answer the question you are probably asking if you have not already seen this movie--no, Doug Bradley does not come back to the series for the tenth installment; instead, we have Paul T. Taylor taking over the role of Pinhead, and while no Doug Bradley, he is a step up from the guy we saw play the lead Cenobite in the ninth film.

He looks a lot like the Pinhead we know and love

The direction of Pinhead's crew is a little different here, and the Cenobites are largely gone, replaced by the Stygian Inquisition, a less fearsome looking gang with no interest in the pleasures of the humans they interact with. While The Auditor is an interesting character, if you are a fan of the early Hellraiser films, you may find yourself longing for the days of the Cenobites--I know I did. We get a very brief cameo from Heather Langenkamp of A Nightmare On Elm Street fame, but if you blink you will miss her--even if you don't blink, you may not recognize her. The story of the cops is rather bland, and the "police work" of the three leaves a lot to be desired. The movie actually gets off to a decent start, but really slows down and absolutely drags after that--any time we are not seeing Hell's denizens we struggle to stay awake or even into the movie. Things do pick up, however, at the end--we get a "twist" we see coming a mile away, followed by Pinhead finally unleashing some violence, complete with the chains he uses in previous outings. The conclusion, involving God and Jophiel (Helena Grace Donald), is quite contrived, but it does beg the question "Is living on Earth worse than living in Hell itself?" Stick around after the credits to see a tease of what will likely be the first look at the 11th film...please just stop. This series has long since been dead--that said, Hellraiser: Judgment at least feels like a Hellraiser movie, and, for whatever it's worth, is the best film in the series since Hellraiser III

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5


Hellraiser: Judgment Movie Trailer

Links To My Reviews of the Rest of the Franchise:











Friday, January 25, 2019

HALLOWEEN (2018)

Halloween Movie Review

Forty years after the events of the original Halloween film, Michael Myers has escaped during a transfer, and is heading back to Haddonfield. Meanwhile, we see that Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has become a recluse in her fortress of a home, and has essentially become estranged from her family, which includes her daughter Karen (Judy Greer), granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), and son-in-law Ray (Toby Huss of Carnivale).  I was excited to see Huss in this—he was wonderful in Carnivale, but I will always think of him as that dude from the MTV commercials back in the day.

He's not that bright

So this movie is a direct sequel of the original 1978 film, thus dismissing anything that happened after that movie...if you are a fan of the series, you have pretty much come to accept that Laurie is Michael's brother, but that idea didn't come along until the second film, so it is thrown out here--this is handled nicely, as the kids cast it off as an urban legend. I wondered going in if the fact that Michael is pushing 70 would be addressed as well, and it is--they don't really mention his age, but we see an unmasked Michael's profile shot several times, and he is indeed very grey haired. This matters not, as he still unleashes havoc with near super human strength.

He doesn't look a day over 59

The movie is shot similar to the original, which is nice, though in some scenes the camera's focus comes and goes almost as frequently as my girlfriend's when she is doing her homework. Some of the killings are intense, and seeing Laurie as she is now was effective. The actors, for the most part, pull off their performances well, and the story unfolds nicely, but where this movie fails tremendously is in the third act. Leading up to that, we have a set up of Laurie finally finding closure, which is what we all expect--after all, we are told this is the final chapter of the story, but the one eighty this film pulls is beyond disappointing. The twist leading up to the final battle--the one involving Michael's new doctor-- falls absolutely flat and completely takes the viewer out of the movie. There is an opportunity to rebound, however, with the final battle--the fight we have waited 40 years for--but this disappoints as well, as Laurie sacrifices her entire home to kill Michael, but, as we should have expected, we never actually SEE Michael die, leaving open the opportunity for him to come back yet again. The more interesting tease in the end involves Allyson, and may remind you of the ending of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. For all the hype this movie received, and for all the records it broke, Halloween ends up a major disappointment. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5


Halloween Movie Trailer (2018)

Sunday, January 20, 2019

THE SECRETS OF EMILY BLAIR

The Secrets of Emily Blair Movie Review

When nurse Emily Blair (Ellen Hollman) becomes possessed by a demon, her fiancee, William Regan (Will Kemp), enlists the help of his long-time priest (Colm Meaney) to try to bring her back. One of countless movies inspired by The Exorcist, this one honors that film not only with scenes that are similar, but also by equally obvious references--see Emily's last name, William's last name, and Emily's location, and judge for yourself how impressive this is. The story plays out predictably, and the movie crawls at times. One interesting thing about the film is the scenes inside Emily's..mind? Soul? Body? Wherever it is, we see Emily battling the demon that has possessed her.

Finish her!

The acting in the movie is rough--Adrian Paul eventually shows up as a former priest, and he is so unconvincing in the role it is distracting. Kemp plays a confused fiancee fine, but when it's time to show any emotion, his performance collapses to the point of being laughable. Meaney is fine as the priest, but he seems rather bored. Hollman is quite the opposite of the others--she is forgettable as nurse Emily, but when the possession begins, she turns it up to 11. Hollman's portrayal of the possessed is one of the finest you will see--her movements are creepy, and her facial expressions are likely precisely what you picture when you think of a demon come to life.

Here's a look at her look

Hollman's performance will keep you glued, and some intense death scenes will help keep you going, even when the story goes sideways and the dialogue becomes just short of awful. The end is as uninspired as most of the rest of the movie, and a post credits scene teases a sequel we really don't want or need. Watch The Secrets of Emily Blair for Hollman's performance, but don't expect much more from it.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6


The Secrets of Emily Blair Movie Trailer

Friday, January 11, 2019

THE WINDMILL (aka THE WINDMILL MASSACRE)

The Windmill Movie Trailer

When a bus full of tourists checking out the windmills of Holland breaks down, the people on board begin experiencing something sinister—a madman with a taste for blood  stalking them. I came across this 2016 movie on Netflix and thought it sounded interesting enough to give it a shot, and I'm kind of glad I did. We get at least a brief look at the characters on the bus before they begin their journey--it's not too much, but enough to let us get an idea of the characters, which becomes important near the end of the film. The acting is very hit or miss, and unfortunately, our lead, Charlotte Beaumont, is probably the worst of the bunch. When we finally get a look at our killer, we see a decent throwback looking fella.

Straight out of the old school

There is a good bit of gore throughout, with a surprise thrown in here and there for good measure. The end reveal falls flat, but there is an extra surprise, so the film picks back up soon after dropping. The dialogue leaves a bit to be desired, but I don't think anybody will watch this film for that anyway, so we can look past that. I don't know if I enjoyed The Windmill as much as I did because it was surprisingly good, or if it just seemed good when compared to the other movies I have watched on Netflix lately, but I found this to be an enjoyable, low budget slasher. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


The Windmill Movie Trailer

Friday, January 4, 2019

A QUIET PLACE

A Quiet Place Movie Review

A family headed by Lee and Evelyn Abbott (real life couple John Krasinski of The Office and Emily Blunt--she's Mary Poppins y'all!) must remain perfectly quiet so they do not attract the attention of creatures out for blood. A surprise big screen hit in 2018, this film garnered tons of critical acclaim, making me weary of it right off the bat. I skipped seeing it in theaters, and thank God for that—this movie is so silent  the sounds of all the morons around me chomping on nachos, shaking their popcorn box, and slurping in vein to get that last drop of pop from the bottom of their cup may have driven me to madness—hearing the neighbor’s ankle biter dog yapping while I watched this in my living room was bad enough. Uninteresting side note fact—this is the first movie my girlfriend and I ever streamed on Redbox.

"Shhh...nobody cares"

After a fairly stunning opening sequence, the movie settles in, and slows down considerably. We see that Evelyn is pregnant, which immediately annoys me and makes the viewer wonder why on earth the couple would decide to have a kid in a world such as this. Naturally, we know this is going to lead to how she will give birth without drawing the attention of the monsters—the reveal is disappointing and ridiculous. The creatures, on the other hand, are impressive, though they may put you in mind of the Demogorgon from Stranger Things. The acting is strong here, but the real strength of this movie is in how the suspense is built up through the combination of the quiet and the eerie music—this helps to keep you on the edge of your seat. This all leads up to an interesting ending that is a combination of cool and absurd. Is A Quiet Place a good horror film? Yes. Is it as good as you have heard? Not quite.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

A Quiet Place Movie Trailer

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

BIRD BOX

Bird Box Movie Review

An unknown force is causing mass numbers of people to commit suicide, and the only way to avoid this fate is to not see the creatures...or demons...or whatever is causing this. Unfortunately for our group of survivors, the beings are pretty much everywhere outside, meaning stay in if you can, and walk around blindfolded if you must be outdoors. This 2018 Netflix original film has considerable star power—Sandra Bullock is the lead, and the supporting cast includes John Malkovich (Shadow of the Vampire), BD Wong (the Jurassic Park franchise), Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story series), Pruitt Taylor Vince (Identity), and David Dastmalchian (The Belko Experiment). This movie really starts off strong, and if the opening sequence puts you in mind of the 2004 version of Dawn Of The Dead, you are not alone in that. The movie jumps around between the present time, when we see Bullock and two kids she calls Boy and Girl (sadly, kids these days are getting even worse names than this, but don’t even get me started on that) floating down a river in a small boat, and five years prior, when this all started.

She left a good job in the city...

 If you are all about the memes (I'm looking at you, Sani), the ones you have likely seen on the internet referencing this movie are taken from the outdoor scenes, but truly, most of the best parts of this film are when they are all inside. The acting is kind of hit or miss—Bullock has certainly been better, and those playing some of the less important characters leave a bit to be desired, but relative unknown Trevante Rhodes is impressive as Tom, our hero, and, as always, Malkovich reeks of awesomeness. There is a twist here and there, with varied results. The movie runs a bit long at 124 minutes, and could have benefited from shaving off about twenty minutes--extending this into a mini-series could have also done wonders, as many questions are left unanswered, and several arcs could have been explored on this platform. While we never actually get a look at what the victims are seeing, we do get a potential glimpse at them via some drawings—I personally loved this approach, as often times not seeing the monster is much scarier than actually seeing it. This is one of those movies that, as you near the end, you think “The ending is either going to make or break this one”, and unfortunately, the conclusion breaks Bird Box.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6


Bird Box Movie Trailer