Movie Review: Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010)

And the Month of Spooks continues. So what’s on the menu this time? Hillbillies and blood? Cool.

Ladies and gents… “Tucker and Dale vs. Evil”.

A group of god damn stupid college kids decide to go on a trip to the middle of nowhere. When they arrive they run into a pair of hillbillies named Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine), whom the college kids mistake for psycho killers. And of course chaos ensues and escalates. And I’m just gonna say it, this is a great plot. It’s basically a lampooning of backwoods horror movies, where instead of the hillbillies being villains, they’re the good guys. But the plot does have a surprising amount of tension, and even a surprising amount of heart. All of it is actually quite fascinating to witness, to see what twists and turns it’ll take. It’s just a solid blend of tense horror-stuff and fun spoofing. Great plot.

The characters in this boil down to two separate things: Well developed and interesting ones, and undeveloped idiots… and they both have a place in this movie. Alan Tudyk plays Tucker, one of the titular hillbillies. He’s a fairly nice guy who just wants to have a relaxing vacation with his best buddy up at a cabin, but the plot said no. And Tudyk is great in the role. Tyler Labine plays Dale, the second eponymous character. He’s not the brightest bulb of the bunch, but he’s such a warm-hearted guy who just wants everyone to be nice. And Labine is great in the role. Katrina Bowden plays Allison, a young woman that Tucker and Dale befriends. She even forms a bit of a bond with Dale and it’s kind of sweet and cute. And Bowden is really good in the role. Then we have Jesse Moss as Chad (of course the crazy frat douche is named fucking Chad!), the crazy frat douche leading the college group’s efforts to take down Tucker and Dale. He’s a despicable douchebag and credit to Jesse Moss, because that is a great performance… I haven’t seen a character that worthy of hate in quite a while. Great job, sir. The rest of the college kid cast isn’t worth going over, but they all do a good job. It’s a solid cast.

The score for the movie was composed by Michael Shields & Andrew Kaiser and they did a good job. It’s for the most part your typical intense horror movie score. But there’s also a bit of a twist in it where they add some typical hillbilly instruments like harmonica and banjo, making for a very fun sound that worked incredibly well for the movie.

The movie was directed by Eli Craig who I think did a great job with it. His directing manages to come off as both intense and somewhat wacky, which is clearly the intention with the entire movie. It really helps the movie feel fun and fast-paced. And since it’s a comedy we should talk about the humor. So is the humor here funny? Nope… it’s fucking hilarious. A lot of the humor is fairly dark which might put some people off, but I just laughed at it. Both simple chuckles and laugh out loud moments. But the humor doesn’t make it feel less like a horror movie, as it still gives off the vibe of old school slasher/backwoods movies, and I like that. It’s a a great blend of horror and comedy. And there’s a lot of blood and gore here for those who enjoy such things in movies. Just thought I’d mention that… could be a good warning for squeamish people.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 65/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“Tucker and Dale vs. Evil” is absolutely awesome. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, great directing, and great humor. Time for my final score. *Y’all*. My final score for “Tucker and Dale vs. Evil” is a 9,87/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Tucker and Dale vs. Evil” is now completed.

Yippee yee-haw, y’all.

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Movie Review: Daybreakers (2010)

The Month of Spooks continues! And what’s this, more vampires? Greeeeaaaaat.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Daybreakers”.

The world has gone to shit. An outbreak has caused most of humanity to turn into vampires. We follow Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke), a vampire/hematologist who joins a group of humans to try to find a cure for vampirism. So now we have our dystopian vampire plot. And it is actually pretty good. It sets up quite an interesting and fairly unique world that felt a bit more realized compared to other dystopias, a lot thanks to the attention to detail. It also has some interesting spins on vampire mythology. However, despite some of the cool ideas that the plot has, it is far from flawless. While the world and it’s mythology is interesting, the overall plot is kind of weak. I understood what was going on, it was pretty straight-forward. However, despite the world and mythos feeling developed, the rest of the plot is just there. It never fully engaged me, I just kind of followed along, never really feeling invested. And the ending teases a sequel. It doesn’t bother me that much, I just thought it would be worth mentioning. But overall the plot here is fine.

I’m a bit split on the characters here. Some of them I find quite interesting, even caring quite a bit about them. And some I find kind of bland. Ethan Hawke plays Edward Dalton, the conflicted vampire/hematologist. He does his job, but he also feels sorry for the humans. This personal conflict is pretty interesting and makes him a bit more of an interesting character. And Hawke is great in the role. Claudia Karvan plays Audrey, one of the people from the resistance that Edward decides to help. She’s decently tough, smart, and determined. And Karvan is good in the role. Willem Dafoe plays “Elvis”, another member of the resistance. He’s likable, interesting, and just cool. And Dafoe is of course great in the role. Sam Neill plays Charles Bromley, the head of a huge corporation, and the boss of Dalton. And he’s one of the more bland individuals in the movie. The characters is just your typical bland corporate asshole character with the only twist being that he’s a vampire. And Sam Neill is pretty good in the role. And then we have Michael Dorman as Dalton younger brother, Frankie. He’s a bit of a dick, but you can tell that there’s a heart there somewhere. And Dorman is good in the role. Again, some characters are great, some not so much. But it’s at least well acted.

The score was composed by Christopher Gordon and it was good. While it’s not something I’d find myself listening to a lazy Sunday afternoon, it works very well for the movie. It’s loud, exciting, and just overall works well for this type of science fiction-thriller movie. It never felt out of place and worked fine for the movie.

This movie was directed by Michael & Peter Spierig (who later went on to make the excellent “Predestination”) and I think they did a really good job here. Their directing is tight, tense, and pretty eerie, often making me feel slightly on edge. And the action scenes in this movie are fun. Not among the best I’ve ever seen, but they’re fun and have a good amount of impact to them. And let’s talk about the visual effects. Because some of them look fucking fantastic, and some of them look… meh. That said, for such a small budget it is quite impressive what they managed to create here. There’s also plenty of blood & gore here and it is glorious, especially when most vampire movies around that time were dull, sparkly, PG-13 shitstains that wouldn’t dare go this far. But “Daybreakers” did it, and it’s glorious.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 67% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 57/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,5/10.

Will “Daybreakers” be remembered in the future as a classic? No. But for what it’s worth, this is quite an entertaining sci-fi-thriller. It has an okay plot, good characters, really good performances, good music, and great directing. My only flaws with it come from the plot feeling somewhat thin, and some characters being a bit bland. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Daybreakers” is an 8,53/10. So while flawed it is still worth buying.

My review of “Daybreakers” is now completed.

Two Ethan Hawke movies in the span of one week… hell yeah.

Movie Review: Van Helsing (2004)

The Month of Spooks continues. And what’s this? An adventure movie featuring classic monsters? That’s cool. I mean, how could it possibly go wrong?

Ladies and gentlemen… “Van Helsing”.

The story follows legendary monster hunter Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) as he travels to Transylvania with a friar named Carl (David Wenham). Why are they traveling to Transylvania? Obviously they’re traveling there to kill Dracula (Richard Roxburgh). So now we have our adventure plot featuring classic monsters. And is it any good? No… it’s bad. There’s no point in the plot where I’m even remotely interested in what is happening. They have a fun idea that could make for a fun little easy-breezy adventure plot. But it somehow manages to be both paper-thin and convoluted at the same time. It’s also duller than dishwater, fucking boring. And the tone is inconsistent, at best. The plot here is bad. I’m not gonna try to put it in a more elaborate way… it’s bad.

The characters have motivations (sort of)… but I never found myself giving a single shit about any of them. Hugh Jackman plays the titular Van Helsing, monster hunter extraordinaire. He has an okay motivation for what he does (sort of), but it never plays into the plot in any significant way, so I could never care about it. And Hugh Jackman… I love Hugh Jackman, but he’s not very good in this. Kate Beckinsale plays a woman that Van Helsing runs into pretty early on, and she’s somehow important to it all because she’s related to some big shot person. It was mentioned like twice and it was so poorly delivered that it never stuck to my mind. She’s supposed to be a badass lady, which is something I like seeing in a movie… but here she comes off as more of a lucky idiot, an idiot savant as it’s usually called. And her attempt at an accent here? Nope, no good. Beckinsale is bad in this. David Wenham plays Carl, the friar that is joining Van Helsing on this journey. He’s meant as a comic relief, but he never really says anything funny. Wenham is… okay in the role. Richard Roxburgh plays Dracula in this and his performance is awful… but in the right way. The performance has more ham than a Christmas buffet, and it made me laugh. It doesn’t really give the movie any points, but it at least made some scenes easier to get through than others. There are talented actors in this, but none of them are particularly good in it.

The score for the movie was composed by Alan Silvestri and it is pretty good. Here’s why it doesn’t work though… the overall quality of everything else is so low that this epic and booming score doesn’t quite match up with what’s happening on screen. It just feels off.

This movie was directed by Stephen Sommers and he did a meh job. It feels so bland and uninteresting that nothing about what I was seeing interested me. The action too has a sever lack of tension… and impact… and fun… it’s fucking boring. There’s also an overload of shitty CG. And to those giving the “Well, it was the early 2000s” argument”: The final “Lord of the Rings” movie came out the year before and the CG in that looks amazing. There was also an overload of it. Sure, there were a few props, costumes, and sets that looked pretty good, but they rarely got as much focus as the terrible computer effects.

This movie hasn’t been particularly well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 23% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 35/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars (Wut?). And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,0/10.

“Van Helsing” is bad… just bad. It has a bad plot, bad characters, bad performances, okay music, and bad directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Van Helsing” is a 4,32/10. I didn’t like it and I would recommend skipping it.

My review of “Van Helsing” is now completed.

*Annoyed groan*

Movie Review: Sinister (2012)

And the Month of Spooks rolls on. Aaaaand we’re back to creepy house stuff. So let’s just jump into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Sinister”.

Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) is a true crime author who moves into a new house with his family. And while searching through the house he stumbles upon a box of super 8 reels. When he decides to watch them for research he finds out that they feature the gruesome murders of various people. And shortly thereafter some strange things start happening around the house. You could say that these occurrences are… sinister (HA!). Puns aside, this is a good plot. It’s a slowly burning horror movie that has an interesting enough idea and manages to do some interesting things with it. Sure, the plot features various horror cliches throughout, but it does them well enough that I didn’t mind. The plot is tense and at times quite disturbing. The only things about it that I don’t like is the very final moment of the film. I’m not gonna spoil what it is in case you’re someone who wants to watch the movie, and to be honest it didn’t ruin anything for me. But it felt a bit out of place compared to the rest of the movie. But yeah, overall this is a tense, interesting, and kind of disturbing plot.

The characters in this feel real and interesting and I found myself actually caring about them. Ethan Hawke plays Ellison Oswalt (a combination of Harlan Ellison and Patton Oswalt), the author looking for his next big hit. Seeing him go through all this horrifying shit is part fascinating and part terrifying, because we do really get to know him and even care about him, which makes it scary when he’s put at risk. And Ethan Hawke (as usual) is great in the role. Then we have Juliet Rylance as Oswalt’s wife, Tracy. She’s a loving and caring wife who only gets mad at her husband because his obsession with these cases makes him act strange, putting pressure on the family. And Rylance is really good in the role. Then we have James Ransone as a police deputy who helps Oswalt with the investigation, getting some inside info for him. But unlike other deputies in horror flicks (Like Dewey in “Scream”), he isn’t an idiot… just a bit starstruck. He’s clever, he’s charming, and Ransone is really good in the movie. Then we have Clare Foley and Michael Hall D’Addario as Oswalt’s kids. Both actors are good in their roles. Yeah, this is a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Christopher Young and it was great. It was weird, eerie, dark, creepy, atmospheric, and just overall well composed, more often than not helping to elevate the tension of a scene. Really, the music was great. I wouldn’t listen to it while riding the bus or sitting alone in my room, but it was great.

This movie was directed by Scott Derrickson (who later went on to make “Doctor Strange”) and I think he did a great job. His directing is tight, claustrophobic, and incredibly tense. And while there are some jumpscares in this movie, it doesn’t rely on them (unlike a lot of modern horror flicks). Also, they are genuine and feel earned. And since this is a horror movie, let’s talk scariness level. Fuck me, this movie was terrifying. Like I said, the movie builds a lot of tension, and then puts in a few genuinely scary jumpscares. It also features some horrifying imagery that will stay in my head for days. I felt genuinely terrified throughout the movie. Real fear, real dread. Good job, crew.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 63% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 53/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

Guys, “Sinister” is fucking terrifying. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great/horrifying direction. Time for my final score. *BOO!*. My final score for “Sinister” is a 9,65/10. So it does get the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Sinister” is now completed.

Sinister purpose, knockin’ at your door…

Movie Review: We Are What We Are (2013)

And the Month of Spooks continues with another review! So let’s get into it!

Ladies and gentlemen… “We Are What We Are”.

The Parkers are a reclusive family who follow some ye olde customs. However, when the mother in the family dies the daughters (Ambyr Childers, Julia Garner) have to start taking more responsibilities at home, and they soon find their lives taking a turn for the worse It’s difficult talking about the plot of this without accidentally spoiling stuff, so I’m not gonna say anything more about the plot itself. I will however say that I thought it was great. It’s a slow burn, which might put some people off. But the movie rewards patient viewers with an engrossing, tense, and disturbing plot filled with twists and turns. It’s a very well handled plot and I thought it was great.

The characters in this are all flawed, damaged, and interesting. Ambyr Childers plays Iris, the older of the two Parker sisters. And while she is a fairly soft-spoken character that doesn’t speak too much, you can still tell a lot about her by just looking at her eyes. You can see the sadness and pain behind them, you can see that she wants something more out of life than what she has. And Childers is great in the role. Julia Garner (AKA Ruth Langmore from “Ozark”) plays Rose, the younger of the Parker sisters. As with Childers she acts a lot with her eyes, and you can tell that she isn’t as comfortable with their situation as her sister. And Garner is great in the role. Bill Sage plays Frank, the father of the Parker family. He is more often than not a very soft-spoken man, but can explode when things don’t go as planned. And like with the two ladies playing his daughters, he acts with his eyes quite a bit. And there are several other subtleties in his performance that I won’t get into here, but they do add layers to the performance. And Sage is great in the role. We also get Wyatt Russell as a police deputy that has some history with one of the Parker sisters, and he’s really good in the role. We also have Jack Gore as Rory, the youngest child in the Parker family. And while it isn’t one of the best child performances ever, I’d still say that it’s good (which is great to see). We also have Michael Parks (may he rest in peace) as a coroner that looks into the dead Parker mom. And he’s great in the role. We also have Nick Damici in a small role as a Sheriff. And he’s good… not much else to say for such a limited role. And we have Kelly McGillis as the Parkers’ neighbor, and she’s good in the role. Overall it’s a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Jeff Grace, Philip Mossman, and Darren Morris. And it was fantastic. It is tense, dramatic, eerie, and even emotional. It really helped elevate a lot of the scenes, adding so many layers to those scenes. Then there were also a couple of licensed tracks used throughout and they were used well in their respective scenes.

This movie was directed by Jim Mickle (a man who has popped up on this blog several times before), and written by Nick Damici & Jim Mickle. And I have to say that he did a terrific job with his directing here. It is slow and methodical, with no shots feeling out of place or dull. He manages to build a lot of tension throughout the movie and even had me feeling uneasy from start to finish thanks to the eerie atmosphere of it. And I have to mention that Ryan Samul’s cinematography is fantastic. There’s also some gore in this, so if you’re slightly squeamish… you have now been warned. And as a final little mention here, this is apparently a remake of a Mexican film of the same name. I haven’t seen it… just thought I’d mention it’s existence.

This movie has gotten some slightly mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,9/10.

“We Are What We Are” is a damn good little horror-drama. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “We Are What We Are” is a 9,86/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “We Are What We Are” is now completed.

Another win for Mr. Mickle.

Movie Review: The Lost Boys (1987)

So far for the Month of Spooks we’ve covered a couple kinds of horror. Namely hauntings and psychopaths. So let’s move on to a different kind of horror. And what better to move on to than one of the most reliable kinds of horror, vampires! So let’s fuckin’ do it.

Ladies and gentlemen, they are… “The Lost Boys”.

During a summer, brothers Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim, R.I.P) move with their mom (Dianne West) to the town of Santa Carla. However their lives soon take a turn for the worse when they discover that this town is a haven for a group of vampires. So now we have our vampire plot. And I’d say that it is pretty good. It doesn’t take itself too seriously which I think makes it really enjoyable and easy to get through. But while it is a pro for the movie, it is also a bit of a con. Sure, this somewhat lighter tone makes it a fun and enjoyable ride, but it also makes things feel a bit inconsequential, taking away some tension from it all. It doesn’t bring it down too much for me, but I still feel like I should mention that the plot here didn’t engage me as much as it could have. So overall it is good. Not great, but good.

The characters here are all fun and decently interesting. Jason Patric plays Michael, the older of the two brothers who move to vampire-town. He is the one who gets the biggest arc here. Sure, it’s not the deepest character arc in cinema, but it’s definitely the best arc in the movie. And Patric is really good in the movie. Corey Haim (may he rest in peace) plays Michael’s brother, Sam. He’s a young, somewhat impulsive, but still well meaning lad. And Haim is really good in the role. Dianne West plays their (for the most part) really chill mom. And she’s good in the role. Kiefer Sutherland plays David, the head of the group of vampires. A thrill-seeking, corny, badass vampire who’s quite a bit of fun. And Sutherland is really good in the role. Then we have Corey Feldman (because of course he’s in the 80s movie) and Jamison Newlander, the Frog brothers, a pair of vampire hunting youngsters that Sam befriends. They’re pretty fun, and both Feldman and Newlander give good performances. Really, this is an overall well acted movie filled with recognizable faces.

The score for the movie was composed by Thomas Newman and it was pretty good. It was fun and horror-ish, adding some mild tension to certain scenes. There’s not a lot I can say about the main score here… it’s good. But what I can say more about is the soundtrack… holy shit, it is great! It’s filled with awesome rock and pop music from bands/artists like INXS, Lou Gramm, Gerard McCann, Echo & The Bunnymen, Tim Cappello, and even Aerosmith/Run DMC. It’s a very 80s soundtrack, but I love it and it works very well within the movie.

This movie was directed by Joel Schumacher (second Schumacher movie in less than a month, I swear this is a coincidence). And I think he did a really good job here. His shots look good and everything flows pretty nicely throughout. There are also some pretty neat directing tricks in here that he had to use due to the apparently low-ish budget. And the vampire makeup stuff looks fine. In terms of scares… I wasn’t scared. It is tense in parts, but it never made me feel scared or creeped out. But I get the feeling that it didn’t try to strictly try to spook us, but rather just be a somewhat chilly horror-comedy that you can watch and just have with. As for the jokes… yeah, I laughed. Never a gut-busting laughter, but it did manage to get past chuckle at a couple points.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 73% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 63/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“The Lost Boys” is a fun little vampire movie. It has a good plot, good characters, really good performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Lost Boys” is an 8,99/10. While I didn’t love it, I still think that it is definitely worth buying.

My review of “The Lost Boys” is now completed.

I already wasn’t a fan of noodles, and this movie isn’t doing noodles any favors.

Movie Review: Wolf Creek (2005)

Month of Spooks is continuing. Really, I had nothing better to put there right now… MOVING ON!

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to… “Wolf Creek”.

A group of friends (Cassandra Magrath, Kestie Morassi, Nathan Phillips) have decided to do some backpacking in the Australian outback. But their nice vacation soon turns sour when a psychotic killer (John Jarratt) kidnaps them and starts turning their lives into a hellish nightmare. So now we have our outback horror movie plot. And it is actually pretty good. While it sounds like this could be your typical generic slasher plot, it actually subverts expectation a bit. The way they introduce the killer, the way everything happens throughout, it is familiar but still feels different from other movies of a similar style. I will say that it takes almost half the movie for the main plot to get going, but it didn’t bother me here because this is how you do build-up. It doesn’t feel too slow or too boring or too dumb, it feels like a natural progression from fun trip to fucking nightmare. And the way everything here played out I thought was good. Not saying that it’s one of the best horror plots ever, but it did exactly what it had to do.

What I like about the characters here is that I didn’t hate them. As a matter of fact I found myself actually caring about them… yeah, the horror movie meatbags that are propped up to probably get axed off are actually decent characters. While they don’t necessarily have the most distinct personalities (in that way they are quite interchangeable), I still enjoyed them. And I think that’s because the actors are good. Cassandra Magrath, Kestie Morassi, Nathan Phillips… good job, you three. Now, let’s talk about the main event here… John Jarratt as the psychotic Mick Taylor. He’s a charismatic, funny, and even likable man when you first meet him. Then he shows his true colors and he turns into quite the terrifying son of a bitch. And Jarratt is great in the role. Yeah, the performances here are good.

The score for the movie was composed by Frank Tétaz and it was really good. It was dark, eerie, and tense, often adding to the tension of a scene. While I wouldn’t exactly call it memorable, it still gets the job done quite well, it manages to set and then hold a mood pretty damn well. It even manages to add some good drama in certain moments, making me feel a little more invested in the situation.

This movie was written and directed by Greg McLean and I think he did a really good job. His directing is tight and tense, and shot on handheld more often than not, giving the movie a very gritty and documentary-esque feel that adds to the tension of the movie. I also have to mention that this shit is disturbing as fuck. Sure, some of it might be for the sake of having disturbing content in your horror movie, but I didn’t think any of it felt too out of place here. But you do get to see some violent/brutal shit throughout this movie which made me have some strong reactions to it, and I can usually handle violence in movies quite well. So if you’re squeamish in the slightest… yeah, you’ve been warned. As for overall scariness… I wouldn’t call it strictly scary, but it is quite tense and disturbing, which I think is what the movie was going for. And if that’s the case then the movie did it’s job.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 53% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 54/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie a thumbs down (ouch). And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,3/10.

While I wouldn’t call “Wolf Creek” a masterpiece, it still did a great job at being a disturbing little horror flick. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *G’day!*. My final score for “Wolf Creek” is a 9,50/10. Which means that it just managed to get the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Wolf Creek” is now completed.

I feel dirty after watching that. I need a hug.

 

Movie Review: Insidious (2011)

Hello there, guys, and welcome to the first post for the Month of Spooks! That’s right, for those of you who might’ve missed the announcement post (cave dwellers), for the third year in a row I am dedicating October to the spooks and the creeps! Exceptions to this include trailer talks and also “Thor: Ragnarok”… what can I say, Marvel is a must watch for me. Anyhow, it is time… for some spooky shit.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Insidious”.

After she moves into a new house with her family, Renai (Rose Byrne) starts experiencing weird, probably supernatural phenomena. And soon they find out that these scary occurrences might be happening because of their comatose son. So now we have our haunted house(ish) movie plot. And is it any good? Yeah, I’d say so. It puts some really interesting and surprisingly tense spins on the haunted house formula and makes it feel somewhat fresh in an ocean of movies featuring hauntings. My only problem with the plot is the final act. While entertaining, it is quite the tonal shift from the rest of the movie. For the longest time it is a somber, creepy, and eerie trip through this family’s horrible situation. But then in the final act it becomes a little more lighthearted (for lack of a better word), making for a weird shift in tone. Again, it’s not bad, but it does bring it down a bit since it’s such a weird shift from the haunting (HA!) two acts that came before. So overall the plot here is good.

The characters here are decently fleshed out, sympathetic, and interesting. Rose Byrne plays Renai (pronounced like Renée), the mother of the Lambert family, and the first person to start experiencing these scary things. She is determined to get to the bottom of this, trying to hold it together, but you can see that she might crack any minute, like any normal person would do in that situation. And Rose Byrne is great in the role. Patrick Wilson plays Josh, Renai’s husband. He’s a bit more of a skeptic to the supernatural stuff, but he is willing to do anything to help his wife and his family. And Patrick Wilson is great in the role. Ty Simpkins plays Dalton, Renai’s and Josh’s son. And while he doesn’t get to do/say too much in the movie, the little acting he gets to do is definitely really good. We also have Lin Shaye as a psychic who gets brought in to try to help the Lamberts out. And she’s really good in the role. And we have Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson Lin Shaye’s assistants, and they’re a fun presence in the movie, both giving good performances. Overall this movie is well acted.

The score for the movie was composed by Joseph Bishara and it was fine. In terms of style it doesn’t do anything very unique, you’ve heard a lot of the musical cues in most other horror scores. But it’s well composed and used well enough in the movie, so I don’t have any complaints about it. There’s also at least one licensed track in the movie. They use it, and while it’s distractingly out of place for an eerie horror flick, I can’t fault it because it never ruined the experience for me.

This movie was directed by James Wan and I think he did a really good job. Everything looks smooth and the shots do look quite nice. But what I appreciate most about his direction is how much suspense he manages to build throughout. He does a lot with very little, managing to create a constant feel of unease and tension throughout. And let’s talk about jumpscares. They’re a staple of horror, popping up in so many horror movies… and this one’s no exception. However, I think this movie does jumpscares well. Most movies use “fake scares”, trying to make people jump when there’s nothing scary in frame. But “Insidious” has no fake scares like that, instead having good jumpscares that actually work. So yeah, this movie scared me a bit.

This movie has been decently well received (I guess). On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 66% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 52/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

“Insidious” is a good little horror movie. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, good music, great directing, and some good scares. My only problem with the movie comes from the final act not being as great as the the other two. Time for my final score. *BOO!*. My final score for “Insidious” is an 8,88/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it’s definitely worth buying.

My review of “Insidious” is now completed.

Month of Spooks has officially begun!

Movie Review: Falling Down (1993)

Sometimes life can be fucking weird… and horrible. Just look at the guy in this movie.

Ladies and gentlemen, Michael Douglas is… “Falling Down”.

William “D-Fens” Foster (Michael Douglas) is an unemployed defense worker. And during a really hot day he is trying to get to his daughter’s birthday party. And on the way he runs into several infuriating situations which causes him to irrationally lash out at the world. So now we have our plot. And is it any good? Sort of. There are some neat ideas at play, and the final act manages to create some pretty damn solid moments, but for the most part I didn’t feel fully invested. It was interesting enough to not be called bad, and there were scenes spread throughout that had some really interesting things happening in them, but for the most part I just felt like I was simply along for the ride, not getting fully invested in it.

Most of the characters are just there, not having too much to do, simply filling a role. But there are a couple that I thought were good. Let’s start with our main “hero”, played by Michael Douglas. You can tell that he is a very troubled man. He seems like a nice guy, but he can be prone to bursts of rage. There’s a lot of layers to this character, and Douglas is fantastic in the role. Robert Duvall plays a soon-to-be-retired cop who is investigating these seemingly related cases, as a sort of last hurrah before retirement. He has a lot of old man charm, and Duvall is great in the role. Then the supporting cast is rounded out by people like Barbara Hershey, Rachel Ticotin, Tuesday Weld, Frederic Forrest, and Raymond J. Barry (among others), all doing a good job.

The score for the movie was composed by James Newton Howard and it was really good. Not among his best, but definitely a good one. It helps to create a lot of tension and drama throughout, thanks to a lot of intense beats and other sounds. It does really help elevate certain scenes in the movie.

This movie was directed by Joel Schumacher (oh boy…) and I think he did a really good job here (wait, what?). Yeah, go figure that the man who directed two of the worst superhero movies ever could direct a good thriller. His shots look great and manage to create a feel of unease whenever we follow Michael Douglas throughout. And there are also some really suspenseful moments throughout the movie that actually made me tense up a little bit. There’s also an essence of dark, mildly satirical humor to it, which I thought added to the movie.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 73% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 56/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“Falling Down” is not perfect, but it is a pretty damn good movie. It has a pretty good plot, pretty good characters, great performances, really good music, and really good directing. My flaws with it of course come from a plot that isn’t very investing, and a lack of interesting characters. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Falling Down” is an 8,72/10. While flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “Falling Down” is now completed.

The summer sun, it blows my mind
Is falling down on all that I’ve ever known

Movie Review: Justice League: Throne of Atlantis (2015)

Bla bla bla, Markus likes DC animation, bla bla bla, moving on.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Justice League: Throne of Atlantis”.

After the death of their king, the Atlantean troops get coaxed by Ocean Master (Sam Witwer) into attacking the surface. This brings queen Atlanna (Sirena Irwin) to try to get help from the Justice League to find her son Arthur (Matt Lanter) and stop Ocean Master’s crusade. So now we have our Aquaman origin/Justice League sequel story. And is it any good? For the most part, sure. It tries to do a lot of things at the same time. On one hand it is a sequel to “Justice League: War”, showing the team still having some mild struggles to come together and help each other. And on the other hand you have Aquaman having to become Aquaman because the DC universe needs Aquaman… Aquaman. And while I’m used to the relatively short runtime of these animated features, I feel like they could’ve added a couple minutes to it, because a couple of the more dramatic/important moments feel a bit rushed through. I’d like to see those moments be held for just a little bit longer. But I was never bored and I wouldn’t call any of it bad, just slightly lacking. The plot is fine.

The characters returning from “Justice League: War” are the fun and colorful characters that we know and love. But since this is mainly an Aquaman movie, let’s talk about the titular fishman. He’s portrayed in this as a broken man, not yet aware of who/what he is and what legacy he has to follow, and it’s interesting seeing him having to come to terms with all this craziness. He’s voiced by Matt Lanter who does a really good job in the role. He gives a very likable performance. Next we have Orm/Ocean Master, the entitled asshole half-brother of Aquaman. He’s kind of a brat and maniacal dick, but that also makes him an interesting foe for Aquaman. He’s voiced by Sam Witwer who gives a pretty hammy performance… but you can tell that he’s having a blast with it, which made me enjoy it. We also got Sumalee Montano as Mera, protector of Atlantis and love interest of Aquaman. She’s a fun character and Montano does a good job in the role. We also got Harry Lennix as Black Manta, the shady Atlantean wearing a weird helmet. He’s clearly up to no good, but he’s still decently interesting. And Lennix does a good job voicing him. And we see the returns of of Jason O’Mara as Batman, Jerry O’Connell as Superman, Rosario Dawson as Wonder Woman, Christopher Gorman as Flash, Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern, Shemar Moore as Cyborg, and Sean Astin as Shazam, all doing really frickin’ well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Frederik Wiedmann, a man who has composed the scores of multiple modern DC animated movies. And once again he has created something pretty damn good. His score here is exciting, emotional, dramatic, and even manages to be awe-inspiring at times. So yeah, it was quite good.

This movie was directed by Ethan Spaulding and it is fairly well directed. And since it’s an animated feature, we should talk about the animation. It is pretty damn good (for a low budget direct-to-video movie). The animation here flows very well and there’s a decent amount of detail in it. The action scenes are especially well animated. You can really see it all coming more alive in those times, with plenty of fluency in the animation making for a lot of entertaining moments.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 40% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t even exist. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“Justice League: Throne of Atlantis” is not one of the greatest DC animated movies ever, but it’s a really enjoyable movie. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and really good directing/animation. My main flaw of course being that several moments throughout the plot felt a bit rushed. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Justice League: Throne of Atlantis” is an 8,78/10. While flawed, I’d say that it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Justice League: Throne of Atlantis” is now completed.

This was fun.