Friday, December 2, 2016

Film Review: Ghosts of Mars (2001)

Ghosts of Mars (Review)
United States/2001
Format Viewed For Review: HBO Now
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"I applaud it for its originality."

On Mars, a police unit is sent to pick up and transfer a notorious criminal from an isolated mining post. Their plans are derailed when they discover the area has been abandoned and the buildings have been filled with the dead...

Ghosts of Mars is a very creative film. It's a science-fiction action-horror sort-of zombie movie that takes place on Mars. That's pretty creative, right? The plot primarily follows police officer Melanie Ballard (Natasha Henstridge) and the rest of her unit. The unit arrives at a mining post to pick up prisoner Desolation Williams (Ice Cube). The problem: nearly everyone is dead. The bigger problem: the survivors have been possessed. There's quite a bit that goes on in the plot, especially towards the beginning where it's trying to build its world, but it eventually irons out for a smooth ride during the latter half. As a whole, I'd say it gets progressively better until its very cheesy ending.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Film Review: Sicario (2015)

Sicario (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"It is a disturbingly real, powerful, and suspenseful thriller."

Kate Macer (Emily Blunt), an FBI agent, is enlisted by a government task force to aid in the war against cartels at the US-Mexico border.

Sicario follows Kate Macer, a starry-eyed FBI agent with a record of perfection – a by-the-books agent who must follow procedure. After discovering dozens of decaying corpses and setting off a booby trap in Arizona, Kate is enlisted by CIA officer Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) to find and capture the real people responsible for the crimes – not the legs, but the heads. The couple are joined by Alejandro Gillick (Benicio Del Toro), Matt's enigmatic and skilled partner. Together, the task force begins to track the man responsible for the crimes – Manuel Diaz, a lieutenant of the Sonora Cartel. On the way, Kate witnesses atrocity after atrocity and struggles with the ethics of their operation. It's a very well-balanced thriller that shines light on the drug war in Mexico. It leads to a very strong ending, too.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Film Review: The Nice Guys (2016)

The Nice Guys (Review)
United States/2016
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"Whether you like black comedy or some old fashioned slapstick, The Nice Guys has a little of everything for everyone."

Private eye Holland March (Ryan Gosling) and enforcer Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) join forces to find a missing girl...

The Nice Guys is a noir mystery-comedy set in 1977 Los Angeles. March, a clumsy private detective, is hired to find Amelia. Amelia, who does not want to be found, hires Healy to scare off March – and it works. However, when armed men show up at Healy's home and ask about Amelia, he is forced to join forces with March to solve a very important mystery: who is Amelia and why are so many people after her? This mystery leads them into a conspiracy involving the auto industry, the porn industry, and the U.S. government. The plot always stays on its toes, upping the ante with each twist and turn. There is plenty of mystery, action, and humor to fill up the near two-hour runtime. And, it leads to a satisfying ending.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Film Review: Poltergeist (2015)

Poltergeist (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: HBO Now
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"It's perfectly watchable, but it's not exactly effective."

After moving into a suburban home, a family finds themselves tormented by apparitions attached to the land...

Poltergeist is a remake of the classic 1982 film – obviously. The plot is very simple. In fact, I'd say it's too simple for its own good as it often feels compressed and ineffective. Eric (Sam Rockwell) and Amy, a married couple, move their family – which consists of Kendra, Griffin, and Madison – into a new house. Strange things happen in the home, but the parents scoff at it. It isn't until Madison is captured by the apparitions that they all take it very seriously. So, they get help and try to rescue Madison. That's it. I wish there was more to talk about, but it doesn't do much else. Is it horrible? No, but, like I said, it's not as effective as it could have been.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Film Review: Why Don't You Play in Hell? (2013)

Why Don't You Play in Hell? (Review)
Japan/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Video
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"If you're looking for a dark comedy with plenty of gore, laughs, and twists and turns, this is for you."

A Yakuza boss forces an amateur film crew to make a movie starring his runaway daughter...

Why Don't You Play in Hell? is a bizarre movie – a mixture of comedy, romance, drama, and horror. The film starts off a bit rough, simultaneously introducing us to several groups: the Muto crime family – which includes Mitsuko (Fumi Nikaido) – the Ikegami crime family, the Fuck Bombers, which is a crew of amateur filmmakers, and Koji, a young teen who falls for Mitsuko due to a simple commercial. Fast forward ten years, Mitsuko isn't a big star, Muto is trying to repair his family, the Fuck Bombers haven't made a successful film, and the Ikegami family is still active. So, without any options, Muto decides to make a film with his daughter as the lead actress, and he uses Koji and the Fuck Bombers to do so. It's much more complicated than that, but it eventually irons itself out. It all leads to a gory climax and a solid ending.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Film Review: Keanu (2016)

Keanu (Review)
United States/2016
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Video
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"If you're a fan of Key & Peele... then you'll likely enjoy the humor in this film."

Two friends attempt to rescue a kitten named Keanu from a street gang known as the "Blips."

Keanu follows Rell (Jordan Peele) and Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key). After a break-up, Rell is visited by an innocent kitten – who happens to belong to a gang leader, unbeknownst to him. He adopts the kitten and becomes happier. Unfortunately for him, the kitten is stolen by a gang known as the Blips. So, Rell and Clarence masquerade as stone cold killers known as "Tectonic" and "Shark Tank," respectively, in order to win the gang's trust. This, of course, leads to plenty of hijinks. It's a simple but effective plot that kept my interest from beginning to end. The ending was great, too.