Monday, June 29, 2015

Film Review: Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers (1988)

Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers (Review)
United States/1988
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"If you like entertaining b-movies and need to kill 80 minutes, this is worth a rental or stream."

At Camp Rolling Hills, counselor Angela Baker (Pamela Springsteen) kills the bad kids...

Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers is a very basic slasher. So, there's a camp — Camp Rolling Hills. There are a bunch of counselors and campers — many which we never actually meet. Then, there's Angela Baker, who, from the very beginning, kills campers and counselors she deems bad. That's everything in this plot. A camper/counselor does something rotten, Angela kills them, then subtlety jokes about the death — rinse and repeat. Fortunately, it's less than 80 minutes long, so it never feels too dull or repetitive. The ending was also decent.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Film Review: Patriot Games (1992)

Patriot Games (Review)
United States/1992
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...engaging, suspenseful, thrilling, well-balanced, and well-paced."

Retired CIA agent Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) is thrust back into action when he stops an assassination attempt on Lord Holmes of Britain.

Patriot Games follows Jack Ryan after he suddenly bolts into action and stops the assassination attempt. Of those responsible, Sean Miller (Sean Bean) is captured and Sean's brother is killed by Ryan — the others escape. So, Ryan testifies against Miller and believes it's over. However, Ryan has angered Sean, and Sean's out for blood. Concurrently, Sean's cell, which has splintered from the Irish Republican Army, set out with their goals of capturing Holmes for ransom. In order to protect his family and thwart their plans, Ryan returns to the CIA and leads a suspenseful investigation. It all leads to a very memorable and thrilling climax. The ending was also charming.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Film Review: The Fly (1958)

The Fly (Review)
United States/1958
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...a very effective and even disturbing science-fiction horror film."

Upon learning of his brother's death at the hands of his sister-in-law, Francois Delambre (Vincent Price) delves into the events leading to the murder...

The Fly begins with Helene Delambre (Patricia Owens) murdering Andre Delambre (Al Hedison) with a hydraulic press, which she used to crush Andre's head and arm — twice. Initially thought to be insane, Francois believes something is amiss. When he learns of Helene's search for a fly with a white head prior to Andre's death, Francois convinces Helene to tell the truth. The truth being: Andre was working on a teleportation device. Unfortunately, while testing the device, a fly got caught in the experiment, leading to a horrible mutation. The film leads to an unforgettable ending. However, there are several moments where I felt the film could've ended with perfection; instead, the potential strength of the ending dwindles as it continues with needless explanations and such.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Film Review: Vengeance of an Assassin (2014)

Vengeance of an Assassin (Review)
Thailand/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...this is a film you watch solely for the action."

Aching from the death of his parents, Thee (Dan Chupong) leaves home to become an assassin while his brother, Than (Nathawut Boonrubsub), stays with their drunk uncle...

Vengeance of an Assassin follows Thee and Than. After leaving his uncle, Thee conveniently runs into another uncle who allows Thee to stay with him and teaches him how to become an assassin —  presumably. So, after a minute exercise montage, Thee becomes a professional assassin. He's soon hired to protect a princess, but finds he's been setup. From there, he agrees to protect her and eventually finds himself back with his uncle and brother. Fortunately, while Thee was away, Than mastered his combat skills by watching some home videos. So, Thee and Than defend the princess from her relentless pursuer. The film leads to an epic climax and a confusing ending.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Film Review: Leprechaun: Origins (2014)

Leprechaun: Origins (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...you have to trudge through the bad to get to the decent."

Two young couples backpacking through Ireland find themselves hunted by a vicious leprechaun...

Leprechaun: Origins follows this group of generic characters on their trip through Ireland. This forgettable group includes Ben, Sophie, David (Brendan Fletcher), and Jeni. While at a folksy tavern, the group are joined by a town resident offering them a place to stay and an opportunity of a lifetime — which is visiting the town's oldest, secret relics. Of course, the group soon find they've been duped and are being offered as sacrifices to a leprechaun. The rest of the plot cycles over the same formula: run, hide, fight, run, hide, fight, and so on. The film leads to a very predictable ending — the same ending you've seen a million times in these sort of creature features.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Film Review: Nightcrawler (2014)

Nightcrawler (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...delivers adrenaline-pumped thrills, exciting suspense, and sly humor."

Ambitious and unemployed, Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) delves into the world of nightcrawling, recording vicious accidents and crimes for money...

Nightcrawler follows Louis Bloom — or simply "Lou" — as he records these events. Essentially, Lou goes all-in on this business venture. He hires a homeless man as an employee, he competes with another established nightcrawling company, and he begins developing a business relationship with Nina Romina (Rene Russo), a news director who buys his footage. Of course, Lou is a little peculiar and a little too ambitious. This leads to a one-sided employer-employee relationship, some "underhanded" methods for beating the competition, and a "complicated" business relationship. Nightcrawler leads to a heart-pounding climax and devilishly-effective ending.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Film Review: Joy Ride 3 (2014)

Joy Ride 3: Road Kill (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...a one-trick pony... really lacking in suspense."

A group of racers are tormented by notorious trucker Rusty Nail (Ken Kirzinger) after they rudely cut him off...

Joy Ride 3 is a very simple film. The story follows this group of racers as they head to Canada on Highway 17. While doing so, they cut off a trucker — that trucker being Rusty Nail. Rusty doesn't take too kindly to their rude and dangerous driving and sets out for payback. The rest of the story follows Rusty as he somehow manages to pick off each person in the group practically one-by-one. There really isn't much going on in this plot — at all. The film leads to a climax that doesn't feel right — it stops feeling like a horror film. The ending is also farfetched.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Film Review: Dragon Eyes (2012)

Dragon Eyes (Review)
United States/2012
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...the film is partially salvaged by the strong action sequences."

After serving his prison sentence, Ryan Hong (Cung Le) arrives at St. Jude, a crime-infested neighborhood ruled by gangs and corrupt police...

Dragon Eyes follows Ryan Hong. Fresh out of prison, Hong moves into St. Jude, where he immediately tussles with the neighborhood gangsters. Hong soon finds himself dealing with a corrupt police chief, Mr. V (Peter Weller). He uses this newfound relationship to link rival gangs and make St. Jude a better place. Of course, he'll have to pummel a few gangsters to achieve his goal, especially when rivals begin tinkering with his plans. The story also presents Hong's prison time through flashbacks, where he's trained by Tiano (Jean-Claude Van Damme). The ending is a little hit-and-miss. On one hand, it's something different and interesting. On the other hand, it's very abrupt and offers little closure — like if the writer had no idea how to finish it.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Film Review: Killers (2014)

Killers (Review)
Indonesia/Japan/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...one of the most thrilling, suspenseful, and disturbing films I've seen in a long time..."

An experienced Japanese serial killer who uploads disturbing videos of his murders to the internet connects with an Indonesian journalist with a lust for blood...

Killers follows Bayu (Oka Antara) and Nomura (Kazuki Kitamura). Nomura is a Japanese sociopath. He records his torture and murder of young women, then uploads the videos to the internet. In Indonesia, Bayu is an ambitious journalist seeking to expose the lies of a corrupt politician. Unfortunately, this obsession has destroyed his career and marriage. Bayu finds himself inexplicably attracted to Nomura's actions. So attracted, Bayu records his first murder, then uploads it to the internet. Of course, this catches Nomura's attention and the pair begin to exchange messages. Nomura continues to vicious murder spree, while Bayu becomes a vigilante. The film leads to an excellent climax and ending. The ending, however, has some poor green screen effects that takes you out of the experience. It's not the worst, but it hurts since it also seems unnecessary.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Film Reivew: Asmodexia (2014)

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

"The story is incoherent and bland, and there is a severe lack of horror."

Eloy (Lluís Marco) and his granddaughter, Alba (Clàudia Pons), perform exorcisms across Barcelona days before the resurrection...

Asmodexia follows Eloy and Alba as they perform said exorcisms. In Barcelona and across the world, possession and madness seem to be running rampant, so the pair work their magic. Meanwhile, hells breaks loose in a psychiatric ward, which houses one of Eloy's acquaintances. Not much really happens throughout the story, really. Eloy and Alba walk around and talk between their exorcisms, while the plot constantly alludes to the imminent resurrection — it hardly explains any of it. Anyway, it leads to an interesting climax with a decent revelation. The ending was okay.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Film Review: Predators (2010)

Predators (Review)
United States/2010
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...mostly hindered by the nonexistent buildup, the lack of sufficient suspense, and the bland humor."

A group of deadly strangers awaken free-falling into an unidentified jungle where they find themselves taking part in a hunt...

Predators follows this group of strangers, which remain nameless throughout most of the film; for the sake of this review, I'll name the key players. Royce (Adrien Brody) is the ruthless mercenary, Isabelle (Alice Braga) is an army sniper with a heart, Edwin (Topher Grace) is a doctor with a secret, and the rest are either gangsters or soldiers. So, this group find themselves in a mysterious jungle. Eventually, they find they're on an alien planet. Then, they find they are part of a hunt against the Predator species. That's about it — the rest of the story follows this group throughout the hunt — that's all. The film leads to a mediocre climax, but a decent ending.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Film Review: Predator (1987)

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

"...blends the best of science-fiction, action, and horror to create an extremely entertaining and suspenseful film."

Special Forces leader Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) leads his team into Central America in a hostage rescue mission, unwitting of an invisible danger lurking in the trees...

Predator follows Major Dutch, Agent Dillon (Carl Weathers), and the rest of the team as they execute their mission. Not before long, Dutch realizes the mission is deeper than he thought and he's been played a fool by Dillon and the CIA. Regardless, Dutch and Dillon bumps heads and agree to escape the jungle. Before they can reach their extraction point, the group find themselves the target of an inexplicable creature — invisible, agile, dangerous, and elusive —  not human, but not animal, either. The team members start getting picked off as the crew rush to extraction. The film leads to an epic climax — the hunter becomes the hunted, a game of deadly cat-and-mouse, and an inspirational Schwarzenegger workout video. The ending is also great.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Film Review: Cyborg (1989)

Cyborg (Review)
United States/1989
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...most of the story feels hollow and the world never reaches its full potential."

In a post-apocalyptic future, a mercenary, Gibson (Jean-Claude Van Damme), attempts to save a cyborg from a band of marauders...

Cyborg is a fairly simple film. The population has dwindled and society has crumbled due to a deadly plague. A cyborg holding the key to the cure is captured by a group of bandits led by Fender (Vincent Klyn). Fender loves the current state of affairs and wants the cure for himself so he can rule as King. So, Fender plans on taking the cyborg to Atlanta — her original destination. Fender is tracked by Gibson, who seeks to free the cyborg and relish in his vengeance. It may seem like a lot to chew, but that's practically where the story stops evolving, which is really only the introduction. The rest of the film follows Gibson as he follows Fender and occasionally fights his goons. It leads to a solid final fight, but the ending really isn't satisfying.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Film Review: Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

Assault on Precinct 13 (Review)
United States/1976
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"The concept is superb and the execution is decent."

Lieutenant Ethan Bishop (Austin Stoker) is assigned to a recently decommissioned precinct before its permanent closure, unaware of the violent assault he'll have to endure...

Assault on Precinct 13 takes place during a single Saturday afternoon. Throughout this day, Ethan Bishop settles into the precinct, infamous criminal Napoleon Wilson (Darwin Joston) and other prisoners are forced into said precinct due to sickness during a transport, and a father, Lawson, takes vengeance on a warlord responsible for his daughter's death. While Bishop welcomes the prison transport to his precinct for the time being, Lawson rushes into the precinct and leads a gang of vengeful gangsters to their door. These blood-thirsty gangsters, of course, then assault the precinct with everything they have. The film becomes more action-packed during the second half and leads to a strong ending.