Movies

The Dead Don’t Die

Aka let me beat you over the head repeatedly, starting with the very first scene, about my social commentary on how people are mindless, soulless consumers. Which is severely ironic given that the movie itself is as soulless, and mindless as it gets. There isn’t a single redeeming quality to this movie other than casting several well known actors/actresses. Director and writer Jim Jarmusch has lost his touch. His last good movie that I enjoyed was back in 1999 with Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai, and his obsession with samurai swords (katanas) makes a resurgence in this movie.

The jokes fall flat, the social and environmental commentary is so hammered in, it starts to get contrived. The fourth wall scenes are uninspired and that ending is just atrocious. Everyone in the movie felt like they were simply there for a quick paycheck, just going through the motions. If you think to yourself, “Oh, Adam Driver and Bill Murray, this looks fun.” Don’t. Full stop. Back out and watch anything else.

Overall, I simply don’t have anything nice to say about this movie. Too bad you can’t burn it after viewing. I want nearly 2 hours of my life back. Hard pass, do not recommend it at all.

Movies

Werewolves Within

A movie adaptation on a video game by Ubisoft? Oh, not an original game. A VR version spinoff of the popular werewolf/secret hitler format of group games where one of you is trying to kill the others or have them join your team, and you must figure out who it is. There are roles which can impact the gameplay like witch or scientist that allow you to better figure out who the wolf or secret hitler it is. So to turn that around into a competent and hilarious horror comedy is quite impressive. I find it a little funny that the screenplay is written by someone named Mishna Wolff… Anyways, the point is, Ubisoft has a successful and brilliant little horror comedy on their hands – ignoring the hard work of everyone else involved. Of course I’m joking, but you understand what I’m saying.

The story itself is simple and elegant. A new park ranger, Finn Wheeler played by Sam Richardson, arrives in the quirky town of Beaverfield where he learns of the town’s problems, both natural and supernatural. The residents are all a little bit off to put it mildly. Everyone’s got their own tics and issues. It felt like a real backwards-like town. When the moon rises, the story begins to pick up. The opening, for me, was pure horror followed swiftly by laughter. I was scared laughing until I began to pick up the clues and figure out who it was. That’s when the fear disappeared and I was awaiting to see the result. The effects were well done, because it seems like they went with a hybrid practical and CGI approach. Similar to one of my favorite movies, An American Werewolf in London. This helped the immersion factor. I was just sucked into this world, and along for the ride.

The acting helped a lot. Everyone felt at ease in their roles, and it wasn’t until the credits rolled that I put the actor behind the character into the picture. This was a properly told story. The elegance came from the fact there are multiple layers and actions often happening, at the same time, on screen. Hints in the background. The camerawork was stellar, the cinematography picked a great location. The woods really added to that sense of unease. They were creepy. It worked well. The tension hung in the air until the moment of revelation. The atmosphere was well executed and established. Music added instead of distracting from scenes on account of being too loud.

Overall, I highly recommend this movie. I think everyone should watch it. Or, wait until Halloween, if you’re that dedicated, and watch it then. Very fun, doesn’t shy away from the blood/gore that comes with werewolf movies. Lot of genuine laughter, and a lot of nervous laughter too. Watch it!

Movies

The Wolf of Snow Hollow

Written and directed by: Jim Cummings
Starring: Jim Cummings as John Marshall, Riki Lindhome as Officer Julia Robinson, Robert Forster as Sheriff Hadley, Chloe East as Jenna Marshall, with Jimmy Tatro as PJ Palfrey, and others.

An idiosyncratic black comedy that toes the line between horror and thriller that delivers a tale that is quite good. When murders start occurring in the small town of Snow Hollow, Utah, local police are stumped as to the identity of the killer. Local reports suggest a canine, or wolf, is responsible, with rumors circulating that is the work of the Wolfman. Local deputy, and son of the Sheriff, John Marshall is adamant it is nothing less than the work of a man. What follows is a poignant story of an alcoholic who tries to care for his teenage daughter, while circumnavigating the stress of his job as a police officer, and the mockery that comes with it. Mockery in no small part due to the inadequacy of the police in apprehending the killer.

The cinematography of the sleepy town is beautiful, with snow capped mountains and desolate, sparse trees. What little forest there is, is often used to great effect to help invoke feelings of paranoia and fear. It is at once haunting as there is also humour to be found in many situations. Like poking fun at a cop’s tendency to shoot when startled, or even mild corruption when it comes to a father’s dealings with his daughter’s boyfriend. It wrestles with the notion that women have been having to deal with men trying to kill them since the middle ages, and the fear that comes with that.

It was marvelously acted by Jim Cummings as the alcoholic father and deputy, and his mannerisms and quirks kept me enthralled throughout. I wish to see more his work throughout the upcoming years. The supporting cast also did a great job in their roles, from the grieving boyfriend of a murdered woman to the partner (Julia) of the deputy, John. Robert Forster did great, in his final role, as the aging Sheriff dealing with health concerns in his old age while trying to keep at his job.

Overall, it was an entertaining ride with a satisfying conclusion. I recommend it for a watch, and I hope writer/actor/director Jim Cummings keeps his projects coming.

Movies

White House Down

“If you feed a man, you take away his propensity for violence.” This is what immediately sets this movie apart from all other Presidential movies, because the president is a legitimate good guy who wishes to improve the state of poverty within the United States. Secondly, it’s established that the war in the middle East is a massive waste of money that could have been spent bettering the people of that area. And that they’ve established peace talks with Iran in addition to removing all troops. This is within 10 mins of the movie starting. Could you imagine how much better the world would be?

The best part is the news stations talking about how American companies who do business with the military wouldn’t like that one bit. A nice bit of foreshadowing. “All they wanna do is keep the cycle of war going” and “these corporations have been in bed with radical regimes for years.” And another goodie, “those bases are just for show, we could launch a drone off any carrier in the gulf and hit any target we want.” Another gem “The military industrial complex. Those are the manufacturers of the weapons. They think the own the system and they will do anything to keep that power. They profit off your sacrifice.”

With those political leanings out of the way, the movie gets into the nitty gritty with a bomb set off inside the White House and soon armed men take over. What follows is quite enjoyable action scenes with rewarding fights that see our hero, John Cale, played by Channing Tatum, kick ass and taking names. Baddies just fall to his guns, and he essentially is John McLane (even the name is similar). It’s basically Die Hard but inside the White House. And going with that comparison, the jokes are similar and the tone is as well. Jamie Foxx plays the president and he did a good enough job. I mean there’s no standard for it given the current president in the US is far below standards, so if anything, this is quite a great job by Jamie Foxx.

James Woods does a fantastic job of a bitter head of secret service because his son, a marine, was killed during a black ops mission orchestrated by Mr Foxx’s character. He tends to chew the scenery around him, and makes the mercenary head bad guy pale in comparison (played by Jason Clarke). I enjoyed this movie because the bad guys weren’t international but good ole homegrown Americans that wish to keep the status quo going. It feels reminiscent of the times. The director, Roland Emmerich, did a great job at navigating his story. Several scenes are done with his signature style of CGI and explosives, and he even gets his own movie mentioned, Independence Day.

Overall, I recommend this movie if you’re in the mood for some light hearted comedy and action. If you enjoy Die Hard, then you’ll enjoy this as well.

Movies

6 Underground

Wow! What an entertaining movie! The action kicks off from the start and doesn’t let down until the very end. It was quite humorous too, at times, and in contrast to the violence that would be occurring on screen. Director Michael Bay does what he does best: cars, guns, hot women, and explosions. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It reminded me of movies such as The Losers or Smoking Aces. Just pure fun. Not a whole lot of thinking needed; leave your brain at the door.

Ryan Reynolds is great as the wisecracking, enigmatic One. Mélanie Laurent is kickass as a former CIA spook, named Two. Corey Hawkins does a decent job at playing the honorable soldier and sniper, named Seven. Six was played by Dave Franco as the driver for the opening sequence: a car chase that sets the tone for the whole movie. Ben Hardy played Four, the parkour expert and former thief. Three was basically the secondary comic relief, and done well by Manuel Garcia-Rulfo. And Five was the beautiful yet deadly doctor of the team, played by Adria Arjona.

All of the actors did very well, you could tell they were having fun playing their roles. And they had such a great chemistry too. Many of their interactions brought me to laughter. The villain was also done well because you truly despised him, though that would be more a testament to the writing than the actor – Lior Raz. And speaking of the writing, the movie is quite political. You can clearly see the real life parallels that they tried to accomplish. I don’t like discussing that, so I’ll let you be the judge of what propaganda they are peddling. Outside of that, it’s a solid movie. Except for the cars blowing up upon crashing, but it’s Michael Bay; it’s to be expected.

I definitely recommend this movie to watch. Be advised the violence is quite graphic; in fact, the whole movie played like it was a comic book come to life. I would watch this again with my friends and family.