Saturday, May 30, 2015

Film Review: Automata (2014)

Automata (Review)
Spain/Bulgaria/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"The story may lack a unique personality, but its world and character are great."

2044: The world's remaining population has dwindled to mere millions due to solar flares. Most of the world has been dominated by desert. The survivors have settled in safe hub cities, and have developed robots called Pilgrims to aid them. The Pilgrims have two protocols: they can't hurt a human and they can't repair themselves.

Automata follows Jacq Vaucan (Antonio Banderas), an insurance investigator for ROC — the company that develops the Pilgrims. Jacq sees very little hope in his drab home, but he trudges forward for his wife and yet-to-be born daughter. As part of an assignment, Jacq stumbles upon a robot that has broken protocol — a robot that was caught reparing itself. So, Jacq begins investigating and soon finds himself outside city boundaries as he tries to locate the clocksmith responsible. As he digs deeper, he soon finds himself entering uncharted territory in the desert with altered robots. Even worse, his company believes he's responsible for the broken protocols. Although interesting, it's really nothing we haven't seen before. The ending was predictable, but not too flawed otherwise.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Film Review: They (2002)

They (Review)
United States/2002
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...a mostly dull, been-there-done-that experience."

A psychology grad student, Julia (Laura Regan), begins to experience night terrors after her childhood friend, Billy (Jon Abrahams), warns They have returned...

They follows Julia, who's on top of the world before meeting with Billy. After her bloody meeting with Billy, Julia begins to experience night terrors — something she's dealt with as a child. Not only that, Billy's roommates also claim to be suffering from similar night terrors. Like Billy, they theorize They have returned — They being referred to as demons, although they look more like aliens. These creatures of the dark seem to have returned from these adults' childhoods to bring them to a dark place. They're also afraid of light and so on. Really, it feels like something I've seen millions of times. Even the ending, which was interesting, felt disappointing.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Film Review: The Killer (1989)

The Killer (Review)
China/1989
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...it's a must-watch for any movie fan."

After damaging the eyes of a singer during a shootout, assassin Ah Jong (Chow Yun-fat) vows to pay for her surgery with one final job...

The Killer presents the classic hitman dilemma — "I want out, but I need to do this final job." Of course, during this final job, Ah Jong finds himself at odds with his former employer and he doesn't get paid. So, Ah Jong must protect Jenny, the singer he's indebted to, while fighting off his betrayers and a persistent police officer, Detective Li Ying (Danny Lee). While doing so, Ah Jong will test the boundaries of loyalty and true friendship — including a friendship he never thought he'd find. It all leads to an incredible climax and a marvelous ending — it won't please everyone, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Film Review: Fist of Legend (1994)

Fist of Legend (Review)
China/1994
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...one of the best martial arts films ever made..."

Upon learning of his master's death, Chen Zhen (Jet Li) returns to China from Japan to avenge his master...

Fist of Legend follows Chen Zhen as he returns to Japan-occupied China. He returns to his Jingwu School, then pays a visit to those seemingly responsible for his master's death — a rival Japanese school. After easily beating them, Zhen rationalizes that his master must have been poisoned — a theory that is proven after Zhen surgically removes his master's liver. After the revelation, the conflict between the Chinese and Japanese continues to escalate. Meanwhile, there is a conflict within the Jingwu School and a conflict concerning love. The film leads to the same ol' showdown against an ultra-powerful Japanese adversary. Cliché? Yes. Epic? You're damn right. The ending is also great.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Film Review: The Ring (2002)

The Ring (Review)
United States/2002
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"You may not be afraid of renting a haunted video tape anymore, but at least the horror remains timeless."

Journalist Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) begins to investigate an ominous tape after her niece's mysterious death...

The Ring follows Rachel as she investigates this tape. The tape in question features bizarre and disturbing images. Those who watch the tape die 7 days later. Of course, Rachel watches the tape and drags her ex-boyfriend into the mix. To her utter surprise, she begins to experience bizarre visions and she begins to believe in the tape's power. So, Rachel rushes to find a way to save herself and her family — a way to break the curse. The film leads to an iconic climax and a good ending.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Film Review: The Devil's Rejects (2005)

The Devil's Rejects (Review)
United States/2005
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...packed with quotable dialogue, effective tension and horror, and a dastardly pinch of black humor."

In 1978, the home of a family of demented serial killers known as The Devil's Rejects is raided by the police. Otis Driftwood (Bill Moseley) and Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie) escape and try to outrun the police...

The Devil's Rejects follows Otis and Baby as they find themselves at a roadside motel. The siblings take a traveling band hostage while they wait for their father, notorious clown Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig), and plan their next move. Of course, Otis and Baby like to have a little fun with their hostages and Spaulding shows up right on time. The film continues to follow the family as they search for refuge and try to escape Sheriff Wydell (William Forsythe), the officer willing to go to any length to catch the killers. The film leads to a bloody climax and a good ending.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Film Review: [Rec] 4: Apocalypse (2014)

[Rec] 4: Apocalypse (Review)
Spain/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"People will get chomped and shot, heads will explode, and monkeys will be shredded."

After the apartment quarantine, Ángela (Manuela Velasco) awakens in a secluded boat with staff, doctors, armed security, and other survivors...

[Rec] 4: Apocalypse is an immediate follow up to [Rec] 2 and Genesis. The story follows Ángela after she awakens on this ship. Ángela is joined by Guzmán, the special operations officer who saved her, and a timid elderly lady who survived the events of Genesis. As the doctors conduct their experiments in their controlled environment, the mysterious virus breaks out — as one would expect. So, as hell breaks loose on the ship, Ángela, Guzmán, and other survivors and boat staff decide to escape and, well, survive on their own. The narrative really isn't all that deep, but it works. I wish there were more thorough answers for the origin, outbreak, and virus, but it really doesn't offer that. The climax offers some interesting stuff, but the ending is your typical horror ending.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Film Review: Hayride 2 (2015)

Hayride 2 (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...way too much filler, not enough thriller."

After being captured, legendary serial killer Pitchfork escapes as he's being transferred in an ambulance...

Hayride 2 is a straightforward slasher. After Pitchfork escapes from the ambulance, he heads to the hospital where the survivors of his previous massacre are being held. Detective Loomis (Corlandos Scott) is hot on his trail, while the survivors are oblivious of Pitchfork's forthcoming massacre. Anyway, Pitchfork kills everyone that crosses his path with ease, then kidnaps a young women. The story doesn't really have much going on. In fact, most of it is simply dull filler. The ending is predictable yet decent.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Film Review: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013)

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Review)
United States/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"I smiled, I chuckled, I even laughed out loud a handful of times."

Upon being fired and bested by his wife, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) abandons his family to return to San Diego and work at SeaWorld...

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues continues to follow Burgundy as he's approached with a new opportunity. Burgundy is offered a role in the Global News Network, which plans to show news 24/7. Burgundy accepts and he sets out to get the old crew back together. Champ Kind (David Koechner), Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), and Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) join Burgundy in their newfound home. In order to stay competitive, Burgundy revolutionizes news broadcasting with every step — like being the first to cover live car chases or cute animals. The film leads to a hilarious climax and decent ending.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Film Review: The Sixth Sense (1999)

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

"...I am leaving this film with my arm hairs wavering, a cold sweat on my brow, and a lump in my throat."

Child psychologist Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) genuinely tries to help Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment), a young, isolated boy with a disturbing secret...

The Sixth Sense follows Malcolm and Cole as their complicated relationship develops. Malcolm is a psychologist with a troubled personal life and an estranged wife. Cole is a young boy with a terrifying secret, and he's deemed a "freak" by his classmates. Slowly, Malcolm gains Cole's trust and Cole reveals his secret — he sees dead people. Initially baffled by the revelation, Malcolm soon find a way to help Cole remedy his situation. The film leads to an unforgettable and iconic ending.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Film Review: Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)

Wes Craven's New Nightmare (Review)
United States/1994
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"It may not be as disturbing as the original, but it's certainly one of the best installment since then."

Star of the Nightmare on Elm Street series, Heather Langenkamp finds herself tormented by vicious nightmares and a man's disturbing phone calls...

Wes Craven's New Nightmare is a metafilm. The story follows Heather and the crew of A Nightmare on Elm Street after the success. Heather is disturbed by violent nightmares and an eerily familiar voice that constantly calls her. Soon, she finds director Wes Craven is writing the script to a new film in the series and he wants Heather to return as Nancy. To her utter dismay, she also finds other cast and crew members seem to be suffering from similar nightmares or deaths similar to her dreams. When her son begins talking about the mean man in his dreams, she's led to believe Freddy Kruger has crossed over into the real world from film. It leads to a great climax and ending.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Film Review: The Canal (2014)

The Canal (Review)
Ireland/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...a slow-burn horror film with jolting jump-scares, creepy visuals, and eerie sounds."

Film archivist David (Rupert Evans) suspects his house is haunted when his wife goes missing...

The Canal continues to follow David after his wife's disappearance. On the night of her disappearance, he catches her cheating and has a bizarre experience in a public bathroom with an ominous man. After he reports his wife as missing, she's found dead in the canal. David upholds his innocence and believes the man from his bathroom experience is responsible. Furthermore, he believes said man is a ghost responsible for several murders in his home. So, David attempts to unravel the mystery. The Canal leads to a very predictable ending – you could see this coming from a mile away. However, the execution allows the ending to still be effective.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Film Review: The Mirror (2014)

The Mirror (Review)
United Kingdom/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"The significant lack of effective horror is most disappointing."

Roommates Matt (Joshua Dickinson), Jemma (Jemma Dallender), and Steve (Nate Fallows) participate in the Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge when they purchase a haunted mirror...

The Mirror is your run-of-the-mill found-footage horror film. The plot follow these generic characters as they hang up this supposedly haunted mirror and setup cameras in their home. Then, Matt begins to sleepwalk. He wets himself, he wakes up in strange places, the furniture moves on its own... You get the gist. So, something minuscule happens with Matt, friends bicker and joke about for 10 minutes, something else happens to Matt, friends bicker for another 10 minutes, and so on. The film leads to the ultra-cliché ending: guy walks around his dark home with his camera and records people's backs.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Film Review: 6 Bullets (2012)

6 Bullets (Review)
United States/2012
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...at the very least, 6 Bullets passes as a good action film, especially if you're a fan of Van Damme."

When their daughter is abducted in abroad, Andrew (Joe Flanigan) and Monica Fayden (Anna-Louise Plowman) hire mercenary Samson Gaul (Jean-Claude Van Damme) to find her...

6 Bullets is a fairly straightforward action film. The story focuses on Andrew, Monica, and Gaul as they search for the abducted child. Gaul is initially reluctant to aid in the search due to being haunted by the previous lives he failed to save. However, in order to redeem himself, Gaul returns in full force and wrecks havoc among the human trafficking underworld. There are some unintentionally comical scenes and some predictable plot points, but it's generally a decent story. The climax was action-packed and the ending was good.