Sunday, December 21, 2014

Film Review: The Rover (2014)

The Rover (Review)
Australia/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray (Lionsgate)
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...simple yet engaging and haunting..."

Ten years after a global economic collapse, a loner (Guy Pearce) finds himself hunting down his stolen vehicle in the Australian outback...

The Rover is a simplistic narrative. The story follows the loner, Eric, as he obsessively searches for his vehicle, which was stolen by a group of bandits after a robbery-gone-wrong. Fortunately for Eric, the bandits had left one behind: the injured and dependent Rey (Robert Pattinson), who is also the brother of another bandit, Henry (Scoot McNairy). Eric and Rey cross paths and the pair eventually travel to Henry's location. The plot has a few minor flaws, but it builds up well to its haunting climax and ending.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Film Review: A Haunted House 2 (2014)

A Haunted House 2 (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...takes a turn for the better about halfway through."

A year after the events of the first film, Malcolm Johnson (Marlon Wayans) moves in with his new family and finds himself haunted by the past.

A Haunted House 2 is more of the same. The story follows Malcolm as he moves into a new house with his new family, which consists of Megan (Jaime Pressly), his stepdaughter Becky (Ashley Rickards) and his stepson Wyatt. He also finds himself with an eccentric neighbor, Miguel (Gabriel Iglesias). The haunting occurs from Abigail, a doll Malcom has sexual relations with, a box Becky finds, and Wyatt's imaginary friend. The plot basically jumps from spoof to spoof -- that's it, don't expect anything else. The ending was abrupt and, like the movies it spoofs, it leaves room for another sequel.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Film Review: Mr. Jones (2013)

Mr. Jones (Review)
United States/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...too concerned with a surreal presentation which leaves a blatant lack of narrative and horror."

A couple, Penny (Sarah Jones) and Scott (Jon Foster), move to the woods to film a documentary. Soon, they are terrorized by a chain of mysterious events...

Mr. Jones follows Scott and Penny as they try to repair their relationship in the woods. The couple shoot their documentary and argue a bit until they find remnants of an elusive artist known as Mr. Jones. After searching through the suspected home of Mr. Jones, the pair find themselves trapped in a seemingly never-ending nightmare. The nightmare cycles over and over with blatant attempts at being "trippy" or mind-blowing -- it doesn't work. The ending was expected, too.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Film Review: Gravity (2013)

Gravity (Review)
United States/United Kingdom/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray (Warner Home Video)
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...this is technical masterpiece, but a narrative disappointment."

The NASA space shuttle Explorer is hit by debris from a destroyed satellite causing Dr. Ryan Stone (Butterfingers Sandra Bullock) and astronaut George Clooney Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) to spiral out of control...

Gravity is a very simple film. The story begins with the Explorer being hit by debris from a destroyed Russian satellite. Ryan and Matt spiral freely away from the spaceship and eventually reconnect. The rest of the film follows the survivors as they try to get back home. That's it. Sure, the story tries to develop some character, but that's really the gist of the film. The character freely spirals in space, admits defeat, realizes she can survive, spirals in space, admits defeat, and so on -- it's a repetitious cycle, indeed. The ending of the film is also a bit underwhelming -- it didn't land for me. (You get it?) The story feels like a short film unnecessarily stretched into a feature-length runtime. The hour and a half runtime (which is actually a bit less with credits) also feels like two-hours.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Film Review: Oculus (2013)

Oculus (Review)
United States/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...story is interesting, the storytelling is engaging, and the horror is effective."

Siblings Kaylie (Karen Gillan) and Tim Russell (Brenton Thwaites) plan to document and destroy a mirror they believe possesses supernatural abilities...

Oculus seamless blends the past and present of Kaylie and Tim Russell and their experience with an eerie antique mirror. As children, the family is devastated by misfortune -- a mother on edge, a father with violent behavior, a mysterious woman and so on. In the present, Tim is released from a psychiatric hospital and finds his sister has obsessively researched the mirror of their past -- a mirror with a haunting past for itself. Kaylie also intends on documenting and destroying the mirror. Eventually, Tim is reluctantly drawn into Kaylie's plan. Unfortunately, the mirror is as strong as ever. I enjoyed the ending, albeit abrupt and simple.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Film Review: Godzilla (2014)

Godzilla (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray (Warner Home Video)
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...a very entertaining action blockbuster with masterful buildup and effective restraint, despite a lackluster performance from Taylor-Johnson."

After the unwittingly awakening of a radiation-eating creature identified as a MUTO, humanity tries to fight it off through military power, but find themselves relying on a much more destructive creature...

Godzilla is a reboot of the iconic creature feature series of the same name. The story begins in 1999 during the unearthing of two mysterious pods in the Philippines, which consequently leads to a disaster at a Japanese Nuclear Power plant -- a catastrophic disaster that is covered up as a "natural" disaster. 15 years later, father and son, Joe (Bryan Cranston) and Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), who were affected by the Japanese disaster, discover the secrets about MUTO. From there, the plot follows Ford Brody as he aids Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and the military in tracking the MUTO. Oh, and Godzilla is in this, too! The story is a bit more dense than that, but I won't spoil anymore. I enjoyed the ending, though.