Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Film Review: Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods (2013)

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods (Review)
Japan/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray (Extended Edition)
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No 

"...a refreshing blend of action and comedy that entertains for every second of its runtime."

Beerus, the God of Destruction, awakens from his slumber to news of Frieza's demise at the hands of Goku. The news reminds him of a prophecy involving a Super Saiyan God he would like to fight...

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods follows Beerus and his assistant, Whis, as they seek out the Super Saiyan God. Of course, they first meet and spar with Goku, who defeated Frieza. Disappointed, Beerus then travels to Earth to meet the other Saiyans. On Earth, Bulma is celebrating her birthday with the whole crew -- and some other familiar faces. Although the entire film is humorous, this segment had the largest share of its hilarity. The story continues with this nice balance of humor and action as Beerus enjoys Earthly amenities and spars a bit. The climax is as epic as anyone could expect. I liked most of the ending, but it sort of felt like a cop-out.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Film Review: Dragon Ball Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan (1993)

Dragon Ball Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan (Review)
Japan/1993
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...my favorite Dragon Ball Z movie ever."

King Kai senses a powerful and destructive force causing havoc in the South Galaxy. Fearing the North Galaxy will be next, King Kai contacts Goku to investigate and neutralize the threat...

Dragon Ball Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan follows Goku as he tracks the powerful force. Meanwhile, Vegeta is contacted by another Saiyan, Paragus, who claims to have created a New Planet Vegeta for the prince. However, Vegeta must first face the “Legendary Super Saiyan” who is destroying the South Galaxy. Joined by others, including Trunks and Gohan, Vegeta travels to the New Planet Vegeta, and eventually they'll cross paths with Goku. Together, they face a Super Saiyan who was born with a power level of 10,000. The final battle is epic, and the ending is great – the ending is a little abrupt, especially considering some of the wording, but it's great.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Film Review: The Avengers (2012)

The Avengers (Review)
United States/2012
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...here's a superhero movie times four!"

Loki retrieves the Tesseract from S.H.I.E.L.D., in order to summon an army of aliens to Earth for a war...

The Avengers is a superhero movie that plays out like a superhero movie -- well, with a few more superheroes, of course. So, after Loki steals the Tesseract, Nick Fury calls upon Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, and Bruce Banner to hunt it down. Soon thereafter, Thor lands on Earth to retrieve Loki. After some bickering, the group gain traction and form the Avengers to fight Loki and his alien army. The film ends with a big, memorable showdown with a predictable outcome.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Film Review: Don't Blink (2014)

Don't Blink (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...leaves too many unanswered questions in a blatant attempt at being metaphorical."

Ten people travel to a secluded mountain resort for a vacation, but find it completely deserted...

Don't Blink follows this group of friends as they arrive at the resort. The resort is completely empty and it seems like people left in a hurry. Soon thereafter, the group of friends start to mysteriously disappear one-by-one. They discuss the possibilities (over and over), and they continue to disappear. This cycle continues until the end of the film. The ending is very disappointing. In fact, it's more of a "you pick the ending"-type of finale thanks to its refusal to give a definitive answer.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Film Review: Deliver Us From Evil (2014)

Deliver Us From Evil (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Xbox Video (Rental)
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...the horror was effective and the story was engaging."

New York cop Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) finds himself entangled in a case of possession.

Deliver Us From Evil follows police sergeant Sarchie. Sarchie and his partner, Butler (Joel McHale), find themselves in one bizarre case after another -- a veteran who brutally beats his wife, a woman who throws her child in a lion's pit. Soon, Sarchie finds the cases are connected by three veterans who fought together in Iraq. Soon after that, Sarchie finds himself discussing the possibility of the case being demonic in nature with a priest or specialist, Mendoza (Édgar Ramírez). There's a bit more to the story, but that's the gist. I only had a small issue with the ending. I know the film is inspired by true events, but the ending felt very out of place and underwhelming.

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.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Film Review: The Haunting (1999)

The Haunting (Review)
United States/1999
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...starts off promising, but becomes repetitive and tedious..."

Dr. David Marrow (Liam Neeson) invites three people, who suffer from insomnia, to Hill House for a special experiment with other intentions...

The Haunting follows Dr. Marrow, Eleanor Vance (Lili Taylor), Luke Sanderson (Owen Wilson), and Theo (Catherine Zeta-Jones) during the experiment in the ominous Hill House. The trio believe their insomnia is being tested. In reality, Dr. Marrow is conducting tests on fear. Eleanor, however, thinks the house is actually haunted and she believes she's being called by children. So, they go about their business until the mystery unravels. Well, it doesn't really unravel, it's not fulfilling at all actually. The ending was bad, too.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Film Review: In Fear (2013)

In Fear (Review)
Ireland/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...too busy focusing on eyes and the environment to entertain."

During a trip to a secluded hotel, new couple Tom (Iain De Caestecker) and Lucy (Alice Englert) are tormented by an unknown assailant.

The story starts in a pub where Tom convinces Lucy to take a detour to a secluded hotel during their trip to a music festival. So, the pair agree to stay at the hotel, but end up getting lost in a maze-like forest. The couple travel in circles and bicker as they realize they are not alone. That's practically all you need to know about the story, because that's practically everything in the story. Oh, the ending was very disappointing - it's hard to even call it an ending, more like the writer got lazy and threw anything together.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Film Review: Blood Glacier (2013)

Blood Glacier (Review)
Austria/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...a chain reaction of flaws."

A group of researchers find a glacier drenched in a mysterious red liquid.

Blood Glacier is a familiar creature feature. The story primarily follows loner Janek (Gerhard Liebmann) and the rest of this research group as they investigate the red liquid. The group believes the liquid is turning the area's wildlife into hybrids. All is well until they find the hybrids pose a legitimate threat. So, the group tries to survive until rescue arrives. Unfortunately, it doesn't feel like the plot every reaches a climax. Also, the ending echoes many of the issues I had with the film, so I didn't like it much.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Film Review: Not Safe For Work (2014)

Not Safe For Work (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"If you need to kill an hour and ten minutes, this is a solid thriller."

Late one night, Thomas (Max Minghella), a paralegal, witnesses a mysterious man (JJ Feild) murder a lawyer and finds himself trapped in the building.

Not Safe For Work is a fairly simple film. The film follows Thomas and this paralegal office as they prepare for two major cases. After a disappointing day, Thomas sees a mysterious man enter the elevator and head to his office floor. He follows and witnesses a murder. A game of cat-and-mouse ensues, with a twist at every other corner. Nothing mind-blowing, but I won't bother to spoil it. The ending was predictable and forgettable -- I didn't like it.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Film Review: The Believers (1987)

The Believers (Review)
United States/1987
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...an ominous and moody horror-crime film with too much filler..."

After losing his wife, psychologist Cal Jamison (Martin Sheen) moves to New York City with his son. All is well until Cal finds himself in the middle of ritualistic child murders.

The Believers is an interesting story. The film follows Cal as he aids in the investigation of several child murders. The murders are ritualistic, and an undercover cop blames them on cultists. The cultists who seem to be all powerful. Cal tries to help the undercover cop, but finds himself digging deeper and deeper into a superstitious conspiracy. A conspiracy that may be targeting his son. The ending was 80s cheesy, didn't land for me.