Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Film Review: Terminator: Genisys (2015)

Terminator: Genisys (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Vudu Rental
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...it had some of that b-movie charm that makes bad movies tolerable."

Years after Judgment Day, the destruction of the world caused by Skynet, Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) is sent back in time by John Connor (Jason Clarke) to ensure the survival of his mother, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clark)....

Terminator: Genisys can be a lot to ingest, so I'll just give you the basics – it's probably for the best. So, 2029: John Connor leads a human resistance against Skynet, the artificial intelligence responsible for Judgment Day. (Judgment Day=Apocalypse) After a botched mission where a Terminator escaped to the past with a goal to kill John's mom, John sends Kyle to save his mom. Unfortunately, Kyle ends up in an alternate timeline where everything he expected has changed. He finds Sarah Connor working with a Terminator, which she named 'Pops' (Arnold Schwarzenegger). So, John joins Sarah and Pops as they travel into the future again... Forget about that. They go and try to stop Skynet. There's no need for me spell it out when the characters will go over every detail several times. The film leads to a predictable ending – a cop-out, as usual.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Film Review: Re-Kill (2015)

Re-Kill (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...spoiled by terrible camerawork, a boring narrative, and uninspired direction/writing."

Five years after a zombie outbreak wiped out most of the population, the R-Division, a special tactics unit, wages war against the Re-Ans (the undead)…

Re-Kill is told as a mockumentary-style television show called "R-Division Frontline," where reporters follow the R-Division units on special missions. Between segments, the film shows us some satirical commercials showing the state of the US and the world – plenty of sex, drugs, and violence. Anyway, the actual plot follows the cameramen for "R-Division Frontline" and R-Division 8. They go on a few missions, killing zombies and busting smugglers. Eventually, their led into 'The Zone,' an area that the military was not able to contain during the initial outbreak. Honestly, there's not much to say about the plot. It has an interesting concept, at least in its mockumentary style, but it doesn't have much story. It often feels hollow and dull due to the lack of plot and character. It leads to a fairly predictable ending, too.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Film Review: Rumble in the Bronx (1995)

Rumble in the Bronx (Review)
China/1995
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"Each action scene is meticulously crafted to thrill and entertain."

Keung (Jackie Chan) visits New York to attend his uncle's wedding, but he gets caught up with a violent street gang and a criminal syndicate during his stay...

Rumble in the Bronx follows Keung as he settles in grimy, crime-ridden New York – as portrayed in the film, of course. During his stay, Keung interferes in a street race, which ends up placing him in a gang's crosshairs. From there, the gang begins to relentlessly pursue Keung across the city, wrecking everything they come across. Amidst the violence, Keung even develops a romance with Nancy (Fran├žoise Yip), the gang leader's girlfriend who also turns out to be his neighbor. The plot thickens as Keung and this gang cross paths with an organized crime organization and a bundle of diamonds. It all leads to this epic setpiece involving a hovercraft – it was amazing! Unfortunately, this superb sequences is followed by a stupendously abrupt and unsatisfying ending. Everything happens so fast and the pieces just don’t fit... Maybe I was expecting too much, but I was dumbfounded.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Film Review: House of Wax (2005)

House of Wax (Review)
United States/Australia/2005
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"It's certainly interesting and entertaining, but there are moments where there isn't much going on."

A group of teenagers traveling to a football game stumble upon a peculiar town with a House of Wax museum...

House of Wax is your fairly basic slasher, although it offers a few interesting ideas and plot points. The film follows a group of teenagers, but it primarily follows Carly (Elisha Cuthbert) and her brother, Nick (Chad Michael Murray). So, this group of six teenagers are traveling to a football game. Of course, they decide to take a shortcut, which leaves them camping in the woods. A man in a truck watches them from afar, which disturbs the group, but the man eventually leaves. The following morning, Carly's boyfriend, Wade, finds his car has been tampered with. So, Carly and Wade travel to a small town – the home of a famous house of wax. While there, they also find the residents are not who they seem and a savage serial killer lurks. I won't spoil anything else (even though it's not all that surprising). The film leads to a decent climax and the expected finale. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Film Review: Sushi Girl (2012)

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

"...very stylish, suspenseful, and entertaining."
 
After being released from prison, Fish (Noah Hathaway) is summoned by his former boss, Duke (Tony Todd), to answer some questions about a few missing diamonds...

Sushi Girl is a crime/thriller with a pinch of mystery. The film follows a group of criminals: Fish, Duke, Crow (Mark Hamill), Max, and Francis. Over six years ago, this group committed a violent robbery. Before they could successfully escape, Fish was caught and the diamonds went missing. Fast forward to the present, Duke has reunited the crew under false pretenses. What's supposed to be a 'welcome home party' becomes a night of torture as the crew try to force Fish into confessing. The film keeps you engaged through a well-constructed mystery as well as some intense interrogation scenes. Unfortunately, the ending was fairly mediocre.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Film Review: Stephen King's Bag of Bones (2011)

Stephen King's Bag of Bones (Review)
United States/2011
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...it's scary, exciting, and engaging."

After the death of his wife, best-selling author Mike Noonan (Pierce Brosnan) retreats to his summer home on Dark Score Lake, where he soon finds he may not be alone...

Stephen King's Bag of Bones is a two-part film/TV miniseries. (I'll refer to it as a film from this point forward.) The film follows Mike Noonan, a best-selling author. Soon after releasing another hit book, his wife, Jo Noonan (Annabeth Gish), is killed in a car accident. Mike falls into alcohol and spirals into depression, but is soon offered the opportunity to write again. In order to do so, Mike retreats to his summer home – a home where Jo spent plenty of time. As he struggles to write, Mike finds Jo may still be contacting him from the dead, which is welcomed. To his utter dismay, he finds the pair may not be alone and other spirits may linger. During his time at Dark Score, Mike also dabbles in other people's affairs, which play a significant role in the narrative. I'll stop here in my detailed synopsis, though. I don't want to spoil anything and I think you get the gist. I wasn't a big fan of the ending, but it wasn't horrible.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Film Review: The Green Inferno (2013)

The Green Inferno (Review)
United States/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Vudu Rental
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"Blending some effective humor with over-the-top gore, Roth creates an immersive and entertaining experience."

Justine (Lorenza Izzo), a freshman college student, joins an activist group led by Alejandro (Ariel Levy), which leads her to an Amazon rainforest to stop logging and the slaughter of natives...

The Green Inferno follows Justine and a group of activists. Alejandro leads this group into the Amazon rainforest to stop a company from illegally logging and killing the native tribes. The group sneak into the work camp and chain themselves to the trees and equipment; when they are threatened by the armed security, they livestream the event for the world to see. And, they are absolutely gratified when they're retweeted. Unfortunately, on their trip home, the plane crashes in the Amazon rainforest and the survivors are captured by the local tribe. Even more unfortunate, this tribe happens to indulge in cannibalism, especially with those they deem threats. I think you know what to expect for the latter half of the film. It all leads to a decent ending.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Film Review: The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence) (2015)

The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence) (Review)
Netherlands/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"There was some surprising gore here, a chuckle there, and boredom everywhere."

William Boss (Dieter Laser), a prison warden, and his accountant Dwight Butler (Laurence R. Harvey) concoct a scheme to deal with their rowdy prisoners and please the governor, who is disappointed with the quality of the prison...

The Human Centipede 3 (Full Sequence) is a satirical horror film – at least, that's what it's supposed to be. The film follows Mr. Boss, Butler, and an assortment of extremely violent prisoners. Mr. Boss likes to torture the prisoners as he sees the punishment should fit the crime – times 100. That doesn't work out well for his reputation and the prison's medical bills. So, Butler, who is a fan of The Human Centipede films, convinces Mr. Boss to make a human prison centipede. Reluctant at first, Mr. Boss eventually agrees, while adding his own twist to the lifetime/death row inmates variation. That's your plot. Looking back, this film was much longer than it should have been. It felt like you could have taken out a quarter of the movie and had the same experience. Anyway, the film leads to a fairly disappointing ending.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Film Review: Gone Girl (2014)

Gone Girl (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray
Netflix Instant: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...stylish, suspenseful, and provocative."

Nice Dunne (Ben Affleck), an unemployed writer and current owner of The Bar, becomes the primary suspect in the disappearance of his wife, Amy Elliot Dunne (Rosamund Pike)…

Gone Girl is a film with many surprises, so I'll keep the details and spoilers to a minimum. The film follows Nick on the day of his fifth anniversary. When he arrives home, he finds a suspicious scene. When the cops arrive, they find a suspicious scene – for different reasons. At the same time, the film recounts the fable of Nick and Amy's romance and their eventual marital issues. Essentially, the film paints two portraits at once. To his utter dismay, Nick finds himself losing an image battle as he's portrayed as an uncaring husband and eventually suspected in Amy's disappearance. However, the truth, which is revealed fairly early in the film, is much more complex and intriguing. The film leads to a disappointing albeit interesting conclusion. For me, the film really began to fizzle by the final act.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Film Review: Indigenous (2014)

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

"...generic and boring throughout most of its runtime."

Five friends vacationing in Panama decide to enter a forbidden jungle...

Indigenous is your run-of-the-mill horror film. The movie follows five douchebags friends: Scott, Steph, Elena, Trevor, and Charlie. The group meet up at Panama for one last trip before entering the real world. (Scott's concerned about his debt, but he spends his money on a trip. That's the problem, Scotty!) They find out about a 'magical' waterfall hidden in the jungle, but they are also warned about the dangers lurking within the forest – the Chupacabra! Of course, this group of friends dismiss the warning and enter the jungle. All is well until they are attacked by some humanoid creatures. They run through the forest, get killed, run, get killed, and so on. The formula changes a bit for the final act, but it's not really enough to save the rest of the film. The ending was okay – it wasn't horrible and it wasn't great.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Film Review: The Entity (1982)

The Entity (Review)
United States/1982
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray
Netflix Instant: No
Amazon Prime: No

"It's suspenseful, disturbing, and atmospheric."

On a quiet night, Carla Moran (Barbara Hershey) is attacked and raped in her home by an invisible assailant...

The Entity is a chilling horror film. The story follows Carla Moran, a mother with a hard past and bright future. She lives happily with her three children, she has a decent job, and she's going to school. Her life changed when she's attacked by an invisible assailant. She returns to her home, trying her best to shrug it off as a dream, but the invisible attacker returns. She soon seeks help from Dr. Sneiderman (Ron Silver), a psychiatrist at the local university. He offers a set of possible explanations, but the attacks continue – growing with force with each passing day. The film begins to stray a bit during the final act. What I mean is: it continues the same plot, but becomes less frightening due to some of it's more fantastical elements. (I suppose the best comparison for this change in vibe would be Insidious.) Regardless, the film leads to a fairly decent ending. It doesn't offer a sturdy resolution, but it has a very chilling moment.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Film Review: Cannibal Holocaust (1989)

Cannibal Holocaust (Review)
Italy/1989
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"The film rattles its audience with a heinous presentation."

Anthropologist Harold Monroe (Robert Kerman) leads a rescue team into the Amazon to uncover the fate of a missing documentary crew who had entered the Green Inferno to film cannibal tribes...

Cannibal Holocaust can easily be split into two halves. The first half of the film follows Monroe as he's recruited to find a group of missing documentary filmmakers – Alan (Gabriel Yorke), Faye (Francesca Ciardi), Jack (Perry Pirkanen), and Mark (Luca Giorgio Barbareschi). Monroe enters the Amazon with his guide and finds remnants of the documentary crew's journey. He also witnesses several disturbing rituals. Eventually, Monroe discovers the deaths of the crew and recovers their footage – queue the second half. The latter half of the film follows Monroe and the television executives as they plan to broadcast the unfinished documentary. However, Monroe decides to view the footage first and his discovery is atrocious. This second half is more of a found-footage segment following the documentary crew. The film leads to a simple and disturbing but provocative ending.