Friday, June 24, 2016

Film Review: Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (Review)
United States/1998
Format Viewed For Review: HBO Now
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"It's obviously not as great as the original, but it is better than most of the sequels."

Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), Michael Myers' sister, struggles to cope with life as she fears her murderous brother will return to finish the job...

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later follows Laurie Strode, Michael Myers' sister, approximately 20 years after the events that haunted her in 1978. Laurie has changed her name, she's birthed a son, Josh Tate (Josh Hartnett), and she became the headmistress of Hillcrest Academy, which Josh attends. Anyway, Halloween is coming around and Laurie is afraid Michael Myers will return. Laurie's irrational fear, in turn, interferes with Josh's life, stopping him from going on an overnight field trip with the rest of his classmates. So, he stays behind with his friends, a few faculty members, and a security guard. And, of course, Michael Myers shows up. The story isn't bad, but there isn't much to say about it. It all leads to a decent ending.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Film Review: We Are Still Here (2015)

We Are Still Here (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"It has some pacing issues, the characters are hollow, and the story isn't exactly effective, but I was entertained."

After the tragic death of their son, Anne (Barbara Crampton) and Paul Sacchetti (Andrew Sensenig) move into an isolated house where they are attacked by malevolent spirits...

We Are Still Here is yet another very simple horror film. In terms of plot, there isn't much to discuss. Anne and Paul move into a rural house in New England. Anne feels her son's presence, Paul tries to shrug it off. Anne's beliefs are reaffirmed when they are told about the tragic history of the house. So, Anne invites another couple – a spiritualist couple – to the house in hopes of contacting her son. However, the house and the town have more secrets than they originally imagined. I won't spoil anything for you, even though most of it is predictable. It leads to an incredibly bloody climax and a decent ending.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Film Review: Sword of the Stranger (2007)

Sword of the Stranger (Review)
Japan/2007
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"The story is predictable but engaging, the action is spectacular, the art is beautiful, and the animation is superb."

Kotaro, a young boy, is hunted by a group of skilled swordsmen from the Ming dynasty for a mysterious reason...

Sword of the Stranger is a fairly simple film, especially in terms of character. The film follow Kotaro, who is being hunted in Japan by a group of swordsmen from the Ming dynasty. In his attempt to escape, Kotaro runs into a nameless ronin dubbed "No Name." Kotaro hires No Name as his bodyguard, paying the ronin to escort him to a temple. Well, it's not such a simple task when betrayal is necessary for survival. The reasons for hunting Kotaro are interesting, but it doesn't delve too much into it, which is a bit disappointing. Still, the story kept me engaged up to its bloody, action-packed climax.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Film Review: Jurassic World (2015)

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

"...a fun blockbuster..."

22 years after the events of Jurassic Park, Jurassic World has become a successful resort with dozens of attractions. However, some attractions are more dangerous than others, including a set of hybrid dinosaurs...

Jurassic World is a fairly simple film – it's a blockbuster, after all. Siblings Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins) are sent to Jurassic World to spend time with their aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), the park's uptight Operations Manager. Unfortunately, Claire can't stop working to spend time with her nephews, so she sends them out with her assistance while she handles her business. At the top of her agenda: allow Owen (Chris Pratt), a Navy veteran and Velociraptor trainer, to evaluate the paddock of a new hybrid dinosaur, Indominous Rex. Of course, everything goes wrong, which sends the park into a tailspin. From here, you have your basics: exciting chase scenes, close-calls, explosions, capture attempts, and even a pinch of romance. The ending was a little disappointing.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Film Review: Furious 7 (2015)

Furious 7 (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: HBO Now
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"Although I'm usually fatigued with series this far out, I'll be waiting for the eight installment."

Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker), and the rest of their family are placed in danger when their past follows them home...

Furious 7 continues after the events Fast & Furious 6 while serving as a bit of a sequel to The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. It's got quite a large story, filled with a large cast of characters representing several groups, including the original family, a covert ops team, and a terrorist group. So, I'll try to keep it simple. Dom and his family left Owen Shaw in a coma, which causes Owen's older brother, Deckard (Jason Statham), a seemingly unstoppable special forces assassin, to seek vengeance. He kills Han and leaves a 'special' package for Dom. From there, Dom and his crew begin their retaliation. The group go on a globetrotting adventure, searching for a way to stop Deckard. Again, that's the simplified version. The film leads to a bittersweet ending – it works.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Film Review: The Abandoned (2015)

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

"There isn't anything here that really leaves an impression."

Julia Streak (Louisa Krause), an unhinged young woman, takes the graveyard shift as a security guard at an abandoned apartment complex...

The Abandoned is a clich̩ horror film. The story follows Julia Streak, who has to take anti-psychotic pills to function Рhint, hint. She arrives at the complex where she meets her snarky partner, Cooper (Jason Patric). The pair don't hit it off, but they tolerate each other. They spend the night talking and patrolling the building. Eventually, Julia begins to believe something is afoot in the building. Although Cooper dismisses her concerns as delusions, Julia refuses and proceeds to investigate. Basically, Julia does everything she's told not to do. There isn't much to discuss in terms of the narrative. It doesn't surprise due to some heavy-handed hints and a reliance on clich̩s of the past. (What's the first thing you think of when you see pills in a horror movie?) It all leads to an underwhelming ending.