Category Archives: Movie Review

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Movie Review – Early Man

Category : Movie Review

Director: Nick Park

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Timothy Spall, Tom Hiddleston

Year: 2018

From the father of Wallace & Gromit comes Early Man, a claymation creation that continues the style but doesn’t live up to the nostalgia.  Nick Park is a legend for his work in this unique medium (or, at least, a medium that’s unique to still work in), and it’s nice to have another film to add to his list.  Various Wallace & Gromit tales, Chicken Run, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit; Park takes his time, gets every detail in order, and then presents us with a movie to add to his canon.  But that doesn’t mean that the resulting cinema will be spectacular, and his voice is definitely a very acquired, very British taste.  Early Man was nice but not necessary, and I’m not sure it was worth the time and effort it took to make.

In the period of the dinosaurs and the great upheaval that followed the massive comet strike, early men retreated to the valleys to live out the Stone Age in relative peace.  Their favorite pastime was football, a game given them by the cosmos itself, a simple competition that provided endless entertainment.  Fast forward a few epochs and Stone Age man is making way for Bronze Age man, but football still remains a pastime for the masses.  Clinging to the old ways, Dug and his tribe must fight for their little valley, which has been claimed by evil Lord Nooth, who wants it for its bronze mines.  They will face each other in a match on the pitch to decide their fates, playing their ancestors’ game as new eras emerge.

I think you’d have to have been raised on Wallace & Gromit to really dig into Early Man and enjoy it the way it was meant to be enjoyed.  It’s very British, very silly, kind of dry, not very complicated, and relies heavily on the impression the animation makes, much more so than the impact of the story.  The characters are dull, not super well-done (with the exception of Tom Hiddleston and Rob Brydon), and the story is oddly obsessed with football in a way that those who call it soccer will never understand.  Still, watching it with my kids, I enjoyed its simplicity of content and complication of physical work; the hours they put into making these little clay figures, weaving in CGI for a bit of help, making it all come together over many years and with the help of many people.  It’s impressive and mostly fun, but nothing great, and not really important enough to warrant the build-up.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Category : Movie Review

Director: Morgan Neville

Starring: Fred Rogers

Year: 2018

Mr. Rogers was a part of the childhood of so many, and none of us will ever forget the impact he had on our lives.  He’s as important as Sesame Street, as legendary as Santa Claus, and as historic as television itself.  For countless kids, he was television, he was the reason you watched, and he was a trusted voice when not every sound in your world made sense.  I remember watching his show with joy; the puppets, the trolley, the cardigans, the shoes, the traffic light, the fish, the small adventures around town.  It was like having a wonderful relative that cared about you and wanted to show you the best that life had to offer, and yet this man had the capacity to wear that role for millions, which only shows the depth of his compassion and his determination.  The ability to love and to show love is the most important quality we can possess, and Mr. Rogers taught many of us where that quality could be found, because he wasn’t afraid to show it within himself.

Fred Rogers was set to be a minister when he first encountered the radical new invention called television, and it changed his life forever.  He understood that television was a way to get a message across that had never been and would never be rivaled.  He could spread his version of God’s love through a new technology, and that version was based on caring for others above all else.  He wanted to show the world that kindness could make a difference, that friendship could be forever, that a neighborhood can be made up of whoever is willing to lend a helping hand to another, that love really is all we need.  From meager beginnings to superstardom, Mr. Rodgers would become a television persona that mirrored the man, lending credibility to a message of peace and understanding that wasn’t exactly in holding with any religion or belief, but was somehow independently and marvelously magical.

I watched my fair share of Mr. Rodgers when I was younger, and I always loved the ease with which you could turn it on.  There weren’t action scenes, you didn’t need to follow every episode, nothing spectacular was going to pop out of the screen, you could just simply watch and enjoy, as this wonderful man showed you around his neighborhood and around your own imagination.  But he broached serious topics too, and Fred Rogers wasn’t afraid to take chances or push the envelope; quite the rebel for a buttoned-down minister in the 60s and 70s.  This documentary takes us along for the ride with Fred and his family, as he attempts to remake TV in his image, not conforming but forming, giving kids something they had always secretly wanted.  His message was simple; you’re welcome here, you’re loved the way you are here, you’re worth something here, and no one is excluded.  Pretty simple and very brilliant, and he created a show based on this concept, which seems idealistic, but somehow worked.  This film captures that spirit marvelously, and is worth your emotional investment.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Category : Movie Review

Director: Marielle Heller

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant, Dolly Wells

Year: 2018

Melissa McCarthy attempts to make the transition from comedy to drama in time to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, a true story with a ton of themes and some real talent supporting them.  We’ve seen many actors try it before; Steve Carell is currently continuing down the same path, turning comedic stardom into awards consideration with heavy roles that catch our attention not only because of their weight, but also because of who is attempting to fill them.  McCarthy is a natural comedian, I don’t think that can be argued against, even if her style is not your style, but she has yet to prove herself as an all-around, top-quality actress, which is exactly what she attempts here.  However, though the film itself is strong, she simply proves the opposite; that she is not up to the caliber of her co-stars and most likely doesn’t have the ability to get there.

Based on real events and a memoir written by the author of these events, Can You Ever Forgive Me? is the story of biographer Lee Israel’s crimes against the literary world, but also her struggle to survive the loneliness and desperation of a life that didn’t turn out the way she had planned.  Lee gained a small amount of fame for her books, lived in New York City, tried to write more original pieces, but never developed as a professional, to the point that she ran out of money and out of options.  The plan she turned to was a simple but illegal one; write letters under the guise that they were penned by famous authors, pass them off as real, and sell them to collectors who couldn’t know their authenticity.  For a time it worked, and she, along with her partner in arms Jack Hock, made a healthy profit.  But crime doesn’t pay, at least not in the long run, a truth that would hit Lee Israel hard sooner rather than later.

This is a wild true story, partly because you completely understand how Lee got herself in this situation, and you sympathize with her, at least partially.  She isn’t evil, she paid her penalty, wrote a book about her crimes, and now here we are, so I guess audiences can make their own judgements, but the film definitely comes from a perspective of understanding.  That’s not to say that the filmmakers condone her actions, it’s complicated, and you’ll just have to watch for yourself to see where you stand on the subject.  Regardless, it’s a well-made movie, asks interesting questions, and presents a fascinating plot, so watch for those aspects alone.  But don’t watch expecting Melissa McCarthy to transform into Amy Adams; it’s just not happening.  She’s not talented enough to fit in with those who have the chops, and her co-stars most definitely do, exposing her as an actor who’s trying, not an actor who’s already there.  Grant was phenomenal, Wells was great too, and they shone as side characters, brightening every scene in which they appeared.  But ultimately the film was all in on McCarthy, make or break on her performance, and I just don’t think she was capable of doing enough to carry the project.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Maniac

Category : Movie Review

Creators: Cary Joji Fukunaga, Patrick Somerville

Starring: Jonah Hill, Emma Stone, Justin Theroux

Year: 2018

Is the Year of Jonah Hill happening right now?  I think so, and I think I like it.  Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot was an under-the-radar success, Maniac is an incredibly original Netflix mini-series, he just hosted Saturday Night Live, and then there’s Mid90s, which he wrote and directed and which is one of my absolute favorites.  I’d say that’s a pretty good 2018, the kid is really coming into his own, and he’s definitely come a long way since he & Emma Stone starred together in Superbad in 2007; seems much longer than 11 years ago, seems like another age altogether.  But here they are back together again to lead this oddball creation, and I can’t imagine that any other duo would have sufficed.  Maniac is a niche drama for sure, it can’t possibly land well with all audiences, but its entire team gave their entire attention to making it a wacky yet wonderful surprise hit.

In the near future or a similar universe or a neighboring plane or something like that, two distinctly lost souls will find each other in the strangest place possible.  Owen is the psychologically disturbed misfit son of a wealthy family who has never felt like part of the love, and who gets secret, imagined instructions from a brother he doesn’t have telling him to stay alert because he’s gonna save the world soon.  Annie is an addict who has lost her family to tragedy, someone who is on the verge of giving up and has no one to turn to.  Both sign up, for very different reasons, for a clinical trial at a giant pharmaceutical company’s headquarters, testing a drug they know nothing about.  It’s purpose is to replace therapy; to force your mind to remember the most traumatic event of your life, to outwit your defenses, and to force you to confront your demons.  It’s all led by a supercomputer who has gotten too smart and scientists who are only half sane and half capable; what could go wrong?

I’ve never seen anything quite like Maniac.  Futuristic, alternative, sci-fi, comedic, so so weird; and that’s just the foundation.  AI, rainbows, elves, gangsters, lemurs, magic, psychosomatic blindness; this plot will go anywhere it wants and you can’t possibly stop it.  Each episode is unique, some take you into fantasy realms, some into dreams, some stay in the prison-like facility, some force the leads to face their worst nightmares in order to get past them.  There’s a lot going on here, to say the least, and you need to be sucked in from the beginning in order to enjoy it, because otherwise I think it would just come across as plain weird.  Hill and Stone put on a ton of hats for these 10 episodes, and they are great in each, especially Stone, who I have rarely seen better.  But I think Theroux steals the show; he’s perfect as the unstable creator of the entire program, even making the artificial intelligence in the form of his overbearing mother, played by Sally Field.  Netflix got it right this time around, with a quirky short-run series that’s full of dark thoughts and pure entertainment.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 


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Movie Review – Wildlife

Category : Movie Review

Director: Paul Dano

Starring: Ed Oxenbould, Carey Mulligan, Jake Gyllenhaal

Year: 2018

Paul Dano’s directorial debut is also his screenwriting debut, pairing up with girlfriend Zoe Kazan to adapt this book and bring it to life right in time for Oscar season.  Kazan has previously written Ruby Sparks, an original, and an excellent film as well, in which she delivers an excellent performance.  But the pair have never written together, Dano has never directed, and so Wildlife would mark a major step forward toward awards and recognition.  They chose a leading duo wisely, Mulligan & Gyllenhaal, two phenomenal actors who, now in the heart of their 30s, have mastered their craft.  And Oxenbould as a vehicle for audiences is a smart choice as well, allowing us to enter into the plot and to witness events through his eyes.  Wildlife is still, however, an amateur attempt, and it shows, resulting in a film that’s a great start but not perhaps the debut sensation we were hoping to see.

Based on the novel by the same name, Wildlife is a story of disenchantment and decay, of a marriage collapsing and its eyewitness the one person hurt most by its fall.  The year is 1960, and the Brinson family has just moved to Montana for work.  Jerry works at a golf course, Jeanette stays at home, and Joe is a teenager starting at a new school.  When overzealous Jerry gets fired from his job, the family dynamic changes, with Jean looking for work and even Joe pitching in.  Jerry’s masculinity is threatened, and he takes work fighting a fire in the mountains, a gig that seems more like abandonment then vocation.  Jean begins seeing another man, and Joe watches it all as he tries to keep his own life in some semblance of order.

Oxenbould is Australian, Mulligan is English, and Gyllenhaal is from LA, so each of them has work to do to fit the role of a Northwest family constantly on the move throughout the States, and none of them do the job particularly well.  Each tries a specific accent/pattern/affectation and it’s fine if you don’t notice that type of thing, but I do, so it’s something that bothered me slightly throughout the film.  And that wasn’t the only problem I had with Wildlife.  The pacing was very poor, sleepy at times, and not enough happened in general, there weren’t enough elements for me to latch onto to really feel invested in what I was watching.  On the positive side, all the actors performed admirably, no one stuck out as weak, and I was fascinated watching each one’s flaws and how they contributed to the inevitable end.  I simply can’t say that I loved this film or that I was stunned by Dano’s & Kazan’s creation, especially since I came in with high expectations.  The result was rather more mediocre than I wanted it to be, a well-crafted movie that offered me very little that was either remarkable or memorable.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Ruby Sparks

Category : Movie Review

Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris

Starring: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Chris Messina

Year: 2012

Zoe Kazan’s screenwriting debut, Faris & Dayton’s followup to Little Miss Sunshine, and Paul Dano’s resurrection after 5 years of bad roles, Ruby Sparks marks a pivotal point that, sadly, went mostly unnoticed and definitely underappreciated.  I missed it as it went by, even being a fan of this directing pair’s amazing ensemble piece, and of Dano’s work in There Will Be Blood.  Zoe Kazan I wouldn’t learn to love until later, but she’s now one of my favorite actors, and I hope she continues to write as well (her new film Wildlife is just coming out, review to follow shortly).  Incidentally, I watched Ruby Sparks in preparation for Wildlife; I wanted to see Kazan’s writing debut before I saw Paul Dano’s directing debut.  But if that’s too much information about actors and directors and writer and upcoming projects, let me make it a little more simple; Ruby Sparks is an excellent movie that I wish I had seen earlier.

Calvin is a writer who struck gold young, but who has been struggling ever since.  A book he wrote when he was 19 was labelled as a future American classic, he wrote some short stories in the time that followed, his fans still support him, the money is still there, but he’s been blocked from producing anything else of value, and he needs to find out why before he explodes.  Isolation, therapy, a dog; nothing helps, he simply can’t come up with an original idea, and he doesn’t know where to turn.  Inward might be a good idea, which is exactly what happens by accident one night when Calvin dreams of this perfect girl, this angel named Ruby who is everything he’s ever wanted from a partner.  Upon waking, he immediately begins writing Ruby into existence, but little does he know that she’s actually coming alive, and will soon be a real, red-blooded, human girlfriend living in his house with no knowledge that Calvin made her up.

I think the first thing we have to do is talk about how wonderful Zoe Kazan is.  As an actor, she’s been building pressure under our feet over the years until we can no longer ignore her presence: The Savages, Fracture, Revolutionary Road, Meek’s Cutoff, Ruby Sparks, The Pretty One, What If, In Your Eyes, The Big Sick.  She might make a misstep every once in a while (I didn’t list all the movies you’ve never heard of or that are plain bad), but every actor does, especially when they are willing to experiment, and she hits home runs more than she strikes out.  And now she’s writing, which is excellent, and now Paul Dano is directing, which is phenomenal, and also they’re a couple, which, I don’t know, I just find adorable.  But back to Ruby, which I think is simply radiant.  The plot is so fun, Calvin is so neurotic, Ruby is so magical, they play so well off each other, and the side characters are brought to life perfectly by Chris Messina, Elliott Gould, Steve Coogan, Annette Bening, & Antonio Banderas.  It’s a feel-good film, but one that’s also well-developed, has depth, and features a terrifying moment depicting the abuse of control one person can have over another, which is a sobering and necessary message.  I can’t wait for more from this pair; glad I don’t have to.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Halloween (2018)

Category : Movie Review

Director: David Gordon Green

Starring: Andi Matichak, Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer

Year: 2018

Another installment of the Halloween franchise comes along right in time for the end of October and we line up to pay our respects, despite the fact that the series died long ago and that, if you look at it with a critical, non-nostalgic eye, the original wasn’t any good in the first place.  Michael Myers, Laurie Strode, and Haddonfield will forever live in the annals of film history for what they gave to the horror genre, but their importance should have stayed in the past with their release, because every followup since has been a disappointment and a reminder that the franchise is weak to begin with.  Halloween (2018) is no exception, regardless of box office numbers or critic opinions; the entertainment this film brings is solely based on nostalgia and a couple key components which, when set to the side with a discerning eye, reveal a foundation that’s always been crumbling away.

It’s been years since Michael’s last attack, but Laurie is always at the ready, preparing her house like a doomsday shelter in case he were to ever come back to town.  In theory he can’t, he’s locked away for life, but a transfer to a new location might be the chance he needs to escape and continue his deadly work.  Laurie’s daughter Karen could never stomach her mother’s paranoia, became a therapist instead, and distanced herself from an aging woman who appears to be losing her mind.  Laurie’s granddaughter.  Allyson still wants a family connection, but she doesn’t believe in the threat that looms, can’t imagine what living through that horror might be like.  But Halloween night is approaching, and Michael will soon be free, coming back to Haddonfield to finish the job he started all those year ago.

I’ll start with the positives, because, before fans of the flicks run me out of town, there are many within this movie and within the series.  I enjoy this pillar of a franchise as much as the next person, I’ve seen my fair share, grew up watching them on TV, and I understand their inherent worth, what they’ve given us in terms of pure terror.  And this newest edition brings back a little of the former glory, giving us a taste of 1978 in a way that none of the sequels could ever really muster.  The music and the murders are all you probably came to see and care to see, and you won’t leave disappointed; those are the strongest elements by far.  A strong beginning, that theme song, some gruesome deaths; audiences get what they paid for, and in terms of scares and gross outs no one is left short changed.  If that’s all you came to see, try to ignore a lot of the rest, focus on the fright, and you’ll go home happy.

It’s the other 75% that fails, the meat of the movie that spoils, and I personally couldn’t ignore the details enough to fully enjoy the fun, which is why I can’t stamp this movie with a seal of approval.  For disclosure; I don’t love the original or the franchise, I find it fine but not impressive, perhaps I didn’t watch it early enough to have it fully imprinted on my young mind.  And so I can’t get past the film aspects to focus solely on the movie parts, can’t ignore the creation to find pleasure in the destruction, if you will.  The biggest problem is the acting; it’s simply horrendous.  I know horror movies aren’t known for their chops, but Jamie Lee Curits was so bad it was distracting, so mind-numbingly awful that it made you question whether your memory of her as a professional actress was all a dream.  It’s unforgivable, and no one else helps out either, the rest of the cast feeling like people grabbed off the streets.  The editing is amateur, the pacing is a problem, the ending is stupid, and I refuse to bow down to what should be a collective legend if what they offer me is crap.  There is fun to be had if you want to pretend the periphery doesn’t exist, but you’re going to have to put in some work to make that happen, and I’m just not sure it’s worth it.

My rating: ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Beautiful Boy

Category : Movie Review

Director: Felix van Groeningen

Starring: Steve Carell, Timothee Chalamet, Maura Tierney

Year: 2018

With a heart-burdening true story about addiction experienced from two sides, Beautiful Boy was immediately poised as an Oscar-contender upon its release.  Its trailers had us weeping in our seats before it even came out, and for anyone who has ever dealt with a drug addition themselves or in their family, this dramatized account of true life seemed almost too heavy and real to bear.  On top of that, no young actor is currently more powerful than Timothee Chalamet, both in performance and in momentum; he was the perfect choice to play this part correctly and in the necessary style.  I only wish that the final product, the sitting down and viewing, had been as impressive as the preparation, for while Beautiful Boy is unarguably moving, its also far too unsupported to be considered an incredible film.

Based on the dual memoirs of father and son David and Nic Sheff, Beautiful Boy is a tale of disease and choice, of habit and home, and of the terrible moments in life that only serve to show how strong the family bond can be.  David and his wife Vicki were divorced when their only son Nic was quite young, sharing him between two cities and two worlds in a way that no child should have to be split.  But he grew up strong, smart, independent, hungry for knowledge and experiences and deep emotions, which perhaps led him down a path toward narcotics, searching for an ever-impressive feeling.  In and out of rehab, disappearing for months, changing decisions on a whim; Nic’s life was out of control, and there was only ever so much that his parents could do.  Now with a new wife and two young children, David would be forced to decide how far his support should reach, how much was too much, and what could ever make him abandon his beloved son to the unforgiving streets and to his quickly impending death.

That this story is true, that these stories are true, is almost too much to take in.  It’s almost more than we can handle, the job of watching a family be torn apart, a son slowly kill himself, a father standing helplessly by.  But it’s also so important that we see this, that we understand what addiction looks like from inside a home, that we start to conceptualize the duality of disease and choice, how they exist at the same time in the same body.  Beautiful Boy puts that all on display for us, unapologetically and in raw form, so that we can live through it ourselves (at least as far as possible), so that we learn something from some one else’s life-long struggle.  If you know someone like Nic, if you are someone like Nic, there’s a message of hope and support here, somewhere underneath all the despair, that you really need to hear.

That doesn’t mean that the cast and crew deliver the message seamlessly, but at least they tried, and while that may seem juvenile, I don’t think it’s foolishly naive to be proud of a movie that isn’t afraid to show the ugliest sides of something but also the love inherent within the struggle.  But back to it; I wish the film and, more specifically, the plot had been a bit better supported, because more than one amazing actor was needed to carry the entire project across the finish line.  And Chalamet is that good; he puts every actor in every other scene in which he appears next to them to shame, he’s simply so overwhelmingly special.  He just wasn’t enough, he couldn’t do it all on his own, and while I even think he should get an Oscar nod, I don’t think anyone can say the same about anything else.  The action was repetitive and tired, the pace choppy and amateur, Carell was never up to the task given him, and the actresses in the movie were all, across the board, horrible: Maura Tierney, Amy Ryan, Kaitlyn Dever.  Beautiful Boy is a misfire if you look at it as a contender, a potential success if you look at it as a helping hand, so its quality depends on your expectations, which is not, as you know, new.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – In Darkness

Category : Movie Review

Director: Anthony Byrne

Starring: Natalie Dormer, Ed Skrein, Emily Ratajkowski

Year: 2018

Now that she’s caught a bit of fame and made a bit of money, Natalie Dormer decided to co-produce and co-write a movie with her fiance Anthony Byrne, an Irish director mostly known for Peaky Blinders, but a guy who has dabbled in a lot of TV and cinema.  Dormer has dabbled herself over the years, with her roles in The Tutors, The Hunger Games, and Game of Thrones marking her career, which is off to a pretty great start.  She’s 36, looks much younger, has great presence, and is perhaps on her way up, but I’m not sure that writing herself into thrillers directed by her boyfriend is the path I would recommend.  It’s a genre fraught with peril, and there’s no easy way to reach the finish line without injuring your pride or making yourself look like an idiot.  Dormer succeeds in not embarrassing herself with this film, it’s not half bad, but it was probably, and unadvisedly, too near a miss.

Sofia is a professional piano player in London, a woman who lives on her own, doesn’t have family or a boyfriend, and who values routine in her day to day.  She’s also blind, which does not slow her down at all, which has aided her musical ear, but which perhaps keeps her at a distance from those who might become friends, or possibly more.  She talks to her coworkers some, to the busker at the coffee shop occasionally, and to the young Eastern European woman named Veronique who lives upstairs.  She often has arguments, Sofia hears them, and sometimes says strange things in the hallway when the two pass, but Sofia is shocked one evening when a noise comes from above and Veronique passes by the window on the way down.  Her death is ruled a suicide at first, but Sofia knows better; perhaps because she has picked up on a few secrets that others might have overlooked but also perhaps because she has secrets of her own.

In Darkness is a little like Red Sparrow, but with a blind protagonist, which isn’t as bad as it might sound, but also isn’t something you want to stake your reputation on.  Dormer had never written a movie before, Byrne did once 13 years ago, but it was obvious that neither have a special talent for it, or maybe they just got it completely wrong and were unaware, although that’s hard to imagine.  A blind woman, the death of a hot lady, Russians, Serbians, evil Brits, crooked spies, chases, captures, Wagner; it was a bit all over the place.  The story starts well, but then loses its ever-loving mind; I wish the happy couple had hired a ghostwriter to give them a hand, because it would have done a world of good.  The acting was nice, the mood was dark, the tension was thick, there are plenty of positives, but these semi-professionals couldn’t make it all come together correctly, and that’s not surprising, it’s just too bad.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – 13 Cameras

Category : Movie Review

Director: Victor Zarcoff

Starring: Brianne Moncrief, PJ McCabe, Neville Archambault

Year: 2015

Oh my god, there’s a 14 Cameras, which I think it one more camera than I can take.  13 Cameras was my limit, and I barely made it out alive, or without destroying the video so that I never had to watch again and no one else would be subjected to it either.  It’s not that this random, gross, creepy horror flick is so terrible, it does nothing wrong that a million haven’t done before it, but it does feature one or two specific oddities that make it almost unwatchable, and that’s why I can’t recommend that you give it a chance.  There are better and/or potentially better slasher flicks and gory movies out there that are worth your time; 13 Cameras simply isn’t one of them, because it does a few things very wrong and not nearly enough right.

Claire and Ryan have just moved to the west coast from the east, following Ryan’s career, and are preparing for the arrival of their first child.  Their new landlord is a bit weird and smells funny, but the house is nice, it has a pool, they’re just feeling a little off because of the relocation, it’ll all get better in time.  But their marriage is a little on the rocks because of the new baby; Claire is nesting and hates her body, Ryan is tired of the decorating and misses having sex.  And on top of that, unbeknownst to the couple, the owner of the building is watching them through secret fiber optic cameras he has strategically placed throughout the home; in the pool, in the bedroom, in the bathroom, in the shower.  Everything Claire and Ryan do and say is viewed by creepy Gerald, their darkest secrets revealed to a man they don’t know sees all.

It’s not a terrible premise, a horror movie based on invasion of privacy and some masturbating whacko who carries around the odor of rotten mayonnaise, which I thought was a humorous and physical way that the writers picked to explain things.  But that’s about where the good stuff leaves off, except for a bit of voyeuristic nudity and a few uncomfortable/suspenseful moments.  The reason the positives didn’t continue is because PJ McCabe can’t act, not even a little, and he basically ruined the show.  Not that anyone else was doing a bang up job, Brianne Moncrief wasn’t much better, nor were the stupid side characters, but at least they were trying with moderate success; I don’t think PJ knew what actors were supposed to do.  He was horrendous, the plot was dumb other than the watching, there was this giant, annoying, detestable story line on the fringe, nothing went according to plan, and the whole project came crashing down; why someone made a sequel might stay as one of the world’s great mysteries until the end of time.

My rating: ☆