Friday, September 8, 2017

It (2017) Review

It Poster (2017) 
“It” by Stephen King is a 1200 page behemoth of a book. I couldn’t finish it within 21 days. I borrowed it from the library, and couldn’t finish it fast enough, and I’m now on a waiting list to get it again. In the mean-time, I was able to see the new movie that is based on the film. The movie of course is a remake of the mini-series, and is now split into two movies, one focusing on the youth of the characters and one that focuses on the adults. So here we are in 1989, and we are introduced to the main characters, and follow through fast pop culture references, and horror infused elements starting with Pennywise showing up and showing his true colors.

The visual design of this movie is great. Don’t get me wrong. There are some great elements of modern computer graphics throughout. There’s a lot of elements that just bring the nightmare to reality, and Pennywise this time around is far more devious than anything you’ve seen on the screen. However, it’s in that piece that you start to feel left out by the book’s creative alluring clown, and start to just get a creepy vibe that was fueled within “American Horror Story”.

Throughout the movie I kept thinking that this was just “Stand By Me 2”, because it felt that way a lot of the times. Furthermore, it felt like watching Stephen King’s version of the “Goonies” which is what The Los Angeles Times agreed with in their review. The complexity of these characters that were found in the book is gone, and you don’t really care about them. I cared the most about Bev, but that’s because her reality was far worse than the clown’s sinister behavior.

This movie felt a lot like “Monster House” mixed with “Stand By Me”, and that’s not a good thing. While I found myself lost at times in the nostalgia, I couldn’t shake the fact that there was a lot missing from the book’s central themes, and truly horrific scarring as children, that turned into adults. These kids don’t seem that scarred, and it makes me think that their future is just fine, because they honestly overcome Pennywise like a boogeyman, which he’s not supposed to be.

Omissions aside, this movie isn’t what you think. It’s a slick, Pg-13 level movie, with a rating of “R”. I don’t know why it’s rated “R”, it doesn’t showcase a lot of elements that the movie “Drag Me To Hell” didn’t show, and I hated that movie. “IT” is not a great movie, it’s lackluster at best, if you read the book. If you didn’t read the book, if you didn’t see the miniseries, than it suffices with a lot of jump scares and random moments that seem horrific, but I found myself laughing more often than not. This is not a scare fest, it’s actually long and boring at times. Oh, and it’s only the first part of 2 movies.

This is not something I’ll revisit. It’s just not that good. I’m not being contrarian, I am just being honest.

You can buy “IT” by Stephen King by clicking here.

You can buy “It” the Mini-series Blu Ray by clicking here.

Did you see “It”? Drop me a comment below.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Alien: Covenant Review

Alien Covenant Movie Poster 
I finally sat down to watch the latest movie in the “Alien” series. “Alien: Covenant” is supposed to be a sequel to the science fiction film from 2012 “Prometheus”. If you saw that one, then you already know how this is going to turn out. Ridley Scott helms the director’s seat for this one, and while I was excited to see it at first glance, it turned out to be a little different than I wanted. In fact, this was not that grand, and unfortunately, the more I think about the movie, the less I like it compared to a lot of the other movies from the past.

“Alien: Covenant” is a movie about a ship that gets stuck on a rescue mission. As they are trying to rescue a ship, they go down to a planet and investigate, only to find out that there’s something disturbing on board, aliens! That’s where the problems begin for me. There are several elements of the movie that make no sense, including the death of someone’s wife, that doesn’t lead to an ultimate revenge. If you recall “Skull Island”, a character loses his platoon, and he vows super revenge, and it goes through the movie, motivating the character. This time around, someone loses their wife, and you just get some odd facial expressions, and that’s about it. That’s not all, the aliens themselves are CG and it looks terrible compared to the people in the movie. I saw this on Blu Ray and it particularly looked bad.

The movie was slow. So slow that I wanted to give up on it. It had several layers, and a nod to Mary Shelley at one point, but it was so tedious that I was bored to death by the time things started to go off the rails. This is a movie that requires your attention, and you have to forgive it for a lot of the plot holes and lackluster writing. However, as far as atmosphere, Scott does a good job of creating a good overall movie that fits within the series. “Alien: Covenant” is not my favorite, it lacks a lot of elements, and it is paced so slow.

This is not a great movie. It’s not a bad movie, but it’s definitely not what you’re going to expect if you’re a fan of the original. I think it’s worth checking out, but as far as the bigger picture is concerned, I’m not a fan of this movie. “Alien: Covenant” is just a slow moving science fiction film, which is not memorable at all. Maybe there’s a silver lining upon further viewings, but honestly, I don’t really want to dig through this movie again, it kind of bored me. It has some good visuals, good gore, interesting plot points and setup, but the follow through and ending just isn’t the same as the original or even as good as “Prometheus” if I’m being really honest.

You can purchase “Alien: Covenant” on Blu Ray by clicking here.

Did you see “Alien: Covenant”? What did you think? Drop me a line.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Kong: Skull Island (2017) Review

Kong: Skull Island 2017 
It has been a long time since I’ve seen a monster movie that was well worth the price of admission. I didn’t even see this movie when it came out in theaters. But after waiting for it to arrive on rentals, I finally decided to bite the bullet. At first glance, this seems like another blow out blockbuster, but there are layers to this movie that make it a lot of fun. Note, I said fun. If you apply logic, even though the movie begs you to do so, you’re going to be soured fast. I was soured by the logical problems associated with this film, but I did like the larger grandiose display. In fact, it’s a fun ride, with a lot of modern elements to cheer, more than the lack of logic, but hey, that’s Hollywood for ya, right? It’s an interesting romp that deals with a few key historical points, and lots of great editing. “Kong: Skull Island” could very well be the best monster, science fiction movie I’ve seen this year. But that’s not saying much, right?

The movie starts off with some killer editing. Richard Pearson’s editing job is great here. Larry Fong’s cinematography is great, and the music works to set up cues that are right for the time frame. There are some great moments here, and a bit of history to boot. The movie starts off in 1944, at the end of the second World War, and you get to see a group of individuals that are going to an uncharted island. They are going for a variety of reasons, but no one mentions Kong, until he shows up and strikes down the United States Military. Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, and Tom Hiddleston round out the major actors, and I didn’t even recognize Brie Larson at first glance. John C. Reilly also shows up, but you first get sequencing that sends the military group with scientists to the island to explore, chart, and map the terrain. This prompts Kong to show up and start defending his territory, and a revenge plot begins with Samuel L. Jackson becoming a badass throughout the movie.

The plot is simple, and the movie starts to make little sense as it goes through. I started to question the logic mid-way through the movie, but appreciated the spectacle. You cannot apply logical questions to the movie, because you’ll run yourself ragged. I did appreciate the visual design flow, and the beauty of the shots, as well as the great after effects work, green screen work, and practical effects that were used. A lot of work went into presenting the beauty of the Island, and the insanity that comes with fighting off a monster. I loved it.

The movie is not a bad one. I liked the flow, the action, and the dialogue at times. The editing really got to me. As a History major, I really loved the way the juxtaposition of real military elements were mixed in with the fantasy of Kong, and the ethos that went back to the classic monster movies. You may be a fan of the original King Kong movies, but this is definitely an upgraded, up to date, and inspired movie with a lot to offer. It’s swift, it’s slick, and it certainly has a lot of great action, although, it is missing that “Scary”, “horror” element that sunk into latter Kong movies. It’s a nice science fiction, monster movie, throwback, with a great visual design flow. I liked it, but probably won’t spend too much time watching it again and again like I did the originals.

You can buy “Kong: Skull Island”on Blu Ray by clicking here.

Did you see “Kong: Skull Island”? What did you think? Drop me a comment below.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Get Out Review

Get Out (2017) Poster
I heard a lot of great things about “Get Out”, but I don’t really go to the movies anymore. So I waited, and I waited, and finally caved in and got the blu ray edition of this movie. I was surprised by how many elements of horror are found in this film, yet it’s not really “horror” in the traditional sense. I was waiting for the horror elements to be amped up, but they never were. This is more of a thriller to me, but that’s just my opinion based on mulling this over a long time now. With that in mind, let’s take into consider what “Get Out” is, and isn’t, and what I feel about the movie after seeing it, digesting it, and really considering the hype that has this getting a 99 percent on rotten tomatoes right now.

Jordan Peele is known for his comedy, and this movie is not a comedy. The movie dives deeper into the issues of xenophobia than any other movie in the genre that I’ve seen in a while. In fact, you’re going to get hit hard with a racial element as Allison William’s character is taking her new boyfriend to meet her parents, and the family that lives in what I can only assume is a massive mansion. Well it is, but come on. Anyways, Chris Washington and Rose Armitage visit an all white community and it appears that Chris is the odd man out, having to put aside the notion that he’s not fitting in, cause he’s black. This comes through in a very specific manner that I’ve felt all of my life, even now in the Midwest. I’m distinctly Mexican, and feel the pressure of who I am whenever I’m surrounded by this type of situation.

The movie continues, with our main character finding out that people are getting hypnotized in a way, and the movie continues to reveal the sinister plot. Mix elements of “Parts: The Clonus Project”, “The Island”, and “Extreme Measures”, and you start to see where Peele may have found inspiration to create a racially divided movie. There are even a few nods to “Gattaca” if you reach hard enough, with an element of bio-engineering for good measure.

Where’s the gore? That’s what I was wondering as I watched this movie progress. Yes, it’s a tightening gyre of sorts, but the 103 minutes really is more of a cinematic treat, then it is a horror fueled masterpiece. The social commentary that underlines the movie’s key reveals, and points, alongside the third and final acts really pushes the boundaries of suspense and thriller genres, not horror. The lack of gore, and the placement of characters makes this a great follow through, but at the end of the day, it falls flat for me.

Is this a horror movie? Not really. It’s more of a thriller with some horror elements. The lack of gore is one thing, but there’s something else missing, and I can’t really put my finger on it. However, the movie is a good one, for what it is, and a surprisingly well paced, interesting movie that pushes a lot of buttons, but gives you a little too much “rose” at times. The comic relief was good though, and for that, I’m going to recommend this one. It’s a somewhat well balanced, interesting take on the genre, but it’s not as “horror” fueled as some may want to say. I could go deeper into this movie, but honestly, I don’t have much more to say than what many other better writers have already said. Visually it’s good, the plot moves swiftly, and it’s well edited, and thought out at times. I liked it, and perhaps that’s the most important aspect of this movie. "Get Out" has a nice punch, and a great idea, with less horror and more suspense and thriller elements than you can shake a fist at. It's like watching modern day "Twilight Zone" in some ways.

I give this movie a 4 out of 5 rating, and recommend it.

You can purchase “Get Out” on Blu Ray by clicking here.

Did you see “Get Out”? Did you like it? Drop me a line in the comments.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Split Review

Split Movie Poster
What’s this? A new review? Yeah, you’re GD right! I’m back to business after a long time away, and we’re going to go absolutely crazy with movie reviews and random B.S. Here we go, an M. Night Shyamalan flick to start off the new era of this blog. “Split” is a movie that came out in 2016, and today we’re going to look at it from my perspective, as I didn’t think it was as bad as some people will have you believe. Twists and turns and all!

M. Night Shyamalan returned to form in this movie, and it’s fascinating how it all works out. The movie is simple enough, it’s a movie about a serial killer that has split personalities. He kidnaps three teenagers and goes through different personalities, and becomes a fascinating exploration of control, kidnapping and so much more. It’s fascinating that this is the comeback of M. Night Shyamalan because he was able to gain the upper hand on a $9 million budget! This movie went on to make $276 million at the box office, so you know there’s more coming. Either way, this movie was one hell of a thriller.

The movie features James McAvoy as 23 different personalities, and it’s a fascinating push forward. I was absolutely blown away by how he acted in this movie. The rest is your run of the mill kidnapping and horror tale, with flashes of the past from one of the young women that has been kidnapped. There are some great moments of horror, including flash backs to molestation, and other innuendos. There’s some insane elements too, with a point a “monster” comes out. There was no major twist, like I was told. There was a nod to another movie, but overall, this film goes straight through between thriller and horror. It’s a fascinating film to go through.

“Split” takes you through a horror fueled closet of sorts. McAvoy is great here, and the movie is simple, and runs through in a very narrow, linear path. It’s predicable, but looks great, and there are moments of true horror, and suspense at times. M. Night Shyamalan really rests on his visual spectrum, and does so with a limited budget and great editing. I loved it. However, I won’t watch it again, as it wasn’t a classic to me. There were a few moments where I felt it was too predictable, however, what he does well is the same kind of momentum that made Hitchcock’s films so suspenseful at the time.

I give M. Night Shyamalan’s “Split” a 4 out of 5.

You can pick up your copy of “Split” on blu ray by clicking here.

Did you see “Split”? Did you like it? Sound off in the comments, let me know.

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