Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Film Review: 13 Cameras (2015)

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

"It's not a bad film to kill 90 minutes, but it is disappointing considering its potential."

A newlywed couple move into a new house to start a new life, oblivious of the cameras their landlord has secretly installed in their home...

13 Cameras is a very simple horror/drama film. The film follows our newlywed couple, Claire (Brianne Moncrief) and Ryan (PJ McCabe), and their eccentric landlord (Neville Archambault). So, Claire and Ryan move into this new house and live their lives while their landlord watches every moment. It's almost like watching two different films: in one movie, Claire and Ryan are having extremely cliché marital problems – needy/moody pregnant wife, cheating husband, secrets that can break their relationship, etc; in the other, the landlord watches them while they have these problems. It follows this repetitive cycle – marital issues, landlord watches or visits the house while they're gone, marital issues, and so on – until the very end. The ending was a bit creepy, but it was a tad disappointing. It didn't really hit home or leave an impression.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Film Review: 22 Jump Street (2014)

22 Jump Street (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Starz
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"The plot might be more of the same, but the humor was effective."

Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) head to college to track a drug known as "WHYPHY."

22 Jump Street is more of the same – and the film is well aware of that. With a bigger budget, Schmidt and Jenko head off to college to find the distributor of WHYPHY – a drug that makes the user focus for several hours, then causes them to hallucinate. So, Schmidt and Jenko go to class, investigate, have some relationship problems... Like most comedies, there's really not much to say about the plot. It goes through the same ups-and-downs as almost every other comedy plot out there. It's not horrible, but there's nothing else to say. I'm done with the plot. Move on.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Film Review: Deliverance (1972)

Deliverance (Review)
United States/1972
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"It is truly an unsettling experience."

Four men enter the Cahulawassee River to experience nature before the area is flooded by the construction of a dam. The trip, however, quickly takes a turn for the worst...

This is my first time watching Deliverance – a critically-acclaimed drama. I know, I know: Jonathan, what the hell took you so long? I don't have an answer for you, but I have a review. So, the plot is fairly simple. You have a group of men – Lewis (Burt Reynolds), Ed (John Voight), Bobby (Ned Beatty), and Drew (Ronny Cox) – who go canoeing on this beautiful, isolated river. They experience nature in its raw form. Things go south when Ed and Bobby run into some hillbillies. The horrifying experience leaves one man dead and four men scarred. The group is forced to continue, fighting for survival amidst the surrounding chaos. It really started to lose steam towards the third act, though. It felt like the film was repeating itself – it just didn't know when to end.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Film Review: Creed (2015)

Creed (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: VUDU
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"It's everything you could want from a Rocky film."

Adonis "Donnie" Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), the illegitimate child of Apollo Creed, seeks to create his own legacy as a boxer...

Creed is a sports-drama film – a sequel to Rocky Balboa, actually. The film follows Donnie, a young man with a troubled childhood, a decent adult life, and an uncertain future. Donnie ditches his 'safe' life, which we can only assume is very luxurious, to pursue a career in boxing. So, he leaves California and moves to Philadelphia to train with the legend himself, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). From here, it follows many of the same boxing drama beats – training montage, obstacle/defeat, motivational speech, training montage, and so on. It's a very familiar formula, occasionally to a fault, but it's not horrible. It leads to a climactic final fight and a solid ending.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Film Review: The Wave (2015)

The Wave (Review)
Norway/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...one of the most unnerving and terrifying disasters films I've ever seen."

A small Norwegian village is threatened when an anticipated rockslide causes an 80-meter tsunami...

The Wave is a disaster movie – a very familiar one. The film follows geologist Kristian (Kristoffer Joner), his wife, his teenage son, and his young daughter. Kristian is on the verge of moving away to pursue a new career. Unfortunately, we all know the worst things happen when you're near retirement. (The moral of the story: don't retire.) So, before Kristian can leave, signs show that there may be another rockslide on the horizon in an area prone to rockslides. Like many characters in past disaster films, he's told to settle down and move on. Well, Kristian was correct. I won't spoil any more of the film, but it generally follows a cliché formula using a set of generic characters. It leads to a strong ending, though.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Film Review: Dreamcatcher (2003)

Dreamcatcher (Review)
United States/2003
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"It is flawed, but it also offers some entertainment."

A group of friends with strange abilities encounter a parasitic alien during a camping trip...

Dreamcatcher follows Henry (Thomas Jane), Jonesy (Damian Lewis), Beaver (Jason Lee), and Pete (Timothy Elephant Olyphant). When they were children, this group of friends rescued a mentally-disabled boy named Duddits from some bullies. In exchange, Duddits gave them the ability of telepathy. Fast forward to the present, the group arrive in a cabin in the woods for their annual excursion. All is well until Jonesy stumbles upon a disoriented man with a peculiar rash on his face. Soon thereafter, the military shows up in helicopters and the area is quarantined. Jonesy and his friends soon find themselves fighting against an alien dubbed Mr. Gray – a British alien to be exact. (The worst kind if you ask me.) It leads to a peculiar and abrupt ending.