Friday, April 29, 2016

Film Review: Black Mass (2015)

Black Mass (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: VUDU Rental
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...filled with lively characters, ominous atmosphere, and unnerving suspense."

The story of James "Whitey" Bulger (Johnny Depp) and his rise to power as an informant for the FBI.

Black Mass tells the story of James "Whitey" Bulger – or, simply 'Jimmy.' John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) is an FBI agent who returns to South Boston. He grew up with Jimmy in the city and plans on cleaning it up – well, at least the north part of Boston. He convinces Jimmy to become an informant, forming an alliance between the crime family and the FBI. Jimmy uses the FBI to take out his competition, which the FBI are targeting, and the FBI agree to look the other way for some non-violent crimes. Problem is: Jimmy is rather unstable and he's more than willing to bury anyone who crosses his path. At the same time, Connolly essentially idolizes Jimmy and he's willing to put his job on the line for the man – and he does so countless times. Of course, with each rise in crime films, there's always a fall. This isn't spectacle to behold, but the ending gives us a solid resolution.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Film Review: Close Range (2015)

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

"You're not going to watch Close Range for the plot, though. You're going to watch it for the action."

When he rescues his niece with brute force, Colton MacReady (Scott Adkins) finds himself fighting a corrupt sheriff and a vicious drug cartel...

Close Range begins with a great action sequence. Colton enters a building, pummels the cartel members in his path, then rescues his niece. Along the way, he also inadvertently steals a USB drive with valuable information. So, the leader of the cartel contacts Sheriff Calloway (Nick Chinlund) and orders him to apprehend Colton and his family. This sets off a chain of violent events where Colton beats up on some more bad guys. I mean, that's really the entire plot of the film. Some cheesy dialogue to fill some expositional conversation, an awesome fight, some more cheese, another fight... You get the gist. It's a repetitive formula, but at least half of it offers some real entertainment. It leads to an predictable ending – it was a bit cheesy, too.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Film Review: The Exorcism of Molly Hartley (2015)

The Exorcism of Molly Hartley (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...you're basically being screamed at throughout the entire movie like if you did something wrong."

Molly Hartley (Sarah Lind) is possessed by an evil spirit and the only person who can save her is Father John Barrow (Devon Sawa), a disgraced priest.

The Exorcism of Molly Hartley is a possession film. The film begins with Father Barrow participating in an exorcism. He makes a foolish mistake, which leads to the death of a fellow priest and a pregnant woman. So, Barrow is sent to a mental asylum thanks to another priest's connections – he plays basketball with the state attorney, you know? Meanwhile, Molly celebrates her 24th birthday and she's also 'made partner' at a young age. (I don't know how many times I heard that in this film.) So, how does she celebrate? She goes to a club, drinks, slobbers over another woman, takes drugs, then has a steamy threesome. You know, a normal 24th birthday. Anyway, her lovers end up dead and Molly ends up in a mental asylum. It continues to follow this pretty basic formula from there. It all leads to a very cheesy ending.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Film Review: Everest (2015)

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

"...a suspenseful and adventurous movie, bolstered by a strong cast and spectacular visuals."

Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) is the leader of Adventure Consultants, a group of Mount Everest guides. He leads his crew and his clients to the peak with some unfortunate consequences...

Everest is a film inspired by real events. The film follows Rob Hall and his crew of consultants; he's also joined by Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his company, Mountain Madness. The first act of the film essentially follows these professionals and their clients as they prepare for their trek. They ascend several times to prepare their bodies for the harsh conditions. The second act follows the actual trek to the peak. You see the harsh conditions and the human struggles to get to the top. And, the final third or so of the story follows the way down, which is complicated by a severe storm. The ending felt a bit abrupt, but this is a film inspired by true events – I suppose you shouldn't expect anything too surprising.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Film Review: The Voices (2014)

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

"It has shades of morbid humor throughout the film, but the film often feels more like a poignant drama."

Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) is a regularly jovial man leading a normal life working at a bathtub factory in a small town... except he also hears voices coming from his pets.

The Voice is a poignant black comedy. The film follows Jerry, who seems like an upbeat guy. Jerry, however, also talks to his pets; Bosco, his slothful but positive dog, and Mr. Whiskers, his cynical and violent cat. (Good and evil, right?) Although he regularly visits his psychiatrist, Jerry refuses to take medicine. After a string of unfortunate events, he accidentally kills someone. With murder on his conscience, he begins to question his motives: Is he a good guy or a bad guy? Bosco would say he's good, that cynical Mr. Whiskers would persuade him to do worse. Jerry soon finds he can't stop killing because of the voices in his head. Although it has well-developed characters and themes, the plot is rather simple. Even at its short runtime, it feels a tad stretched. The film leads to a great ending, though.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Film Review: The Hallow (2015)

The Hallow (Review)
Ireland/United Kingdom/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"The plot is very disappointing and there are some dull patches here, but this creature feature often excels in its suspense and special effects."

A family moves into a remote house in the woods and finds themselves tormented by the creatures of the Hallow...

The Hallow is a fairly simple film Рwhich is utterly disappointing. The plot follows a small family: Adam (Joseph Mawle), a conservationist, his wife, Clare (Bojana Novakovic), and their baby, Finn. The family moves into a forest preparing for deforestation. The locals, of course, are angered by Adam's work. They warn him of trespassing into the Hallow and the dangers he faces. He shrugs the warnings off, refusing to depart. Eventually, his family is attacked by some demonic creatures in the woods. So, the fight for survival ensues. Although clich̩, the second act isn't half-bad. It starts to head into some strange territory for the finale, though. I'd say it was a bit silly, really. The ending, which partially dips into the credits, was okay. I didn't hate it, I didn't love it.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

3 Years of Cinematic Addiction!

Three years and nearly 700 movie reviews. Yes, you read those numbers correctly. Cinematic Addiction has been going strong for three long years, updated every week with a handful of reviews. If you include KoreanMovieReviews.com, our sister website, then our little community hosts over 800 movie reviews. Horror, action, comedy, drama, art house... B-movies, independent flicks, and blockbusters... I've seen it all, enduring the best and worst of all worlds. I must say: I still love movies. My passion has not been extinguished by excessive viewing.

Anyway, I figured I should thank you, the reader, for reading the reviews, lists, and articles. It feels great to share my opinion with a small-but-dedicated group. Every time you comment or share a review, it really brightens my day. I can't thank you enough for showing so much support. I plan on continuing this small network of movie websites for as long as possible. There will be some slow down here and there, but, rest-assured, I'll always be there to take the bullet on that one bad film you're unsure about. I'll watch it and I'll warn you. Never forget that.

With that said, let's get some popcorn and start watching some movies. We've got another year ahead of us!

Thanks,
Jonathan

P.S. My latest book released this week! Like horror and serial killers? Want to show some love? Well, Sinister Syndromes is available now for $2.99. Go check it out!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Film Review: The Captive (2014)

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

"...an unfortunate victim of style..."

Matthew Lane (Ryan Reynolds) finds himself entangled in a web of lies as evidence surfaces of his daughter's survival eight years after her disappearance...

The Captive is a convoluted film taking place over eight years – most of the years are indistinguishable, too. The film follows Matthew and his wife, Tina Lane (Mireille Enos), their daughter Cassandra Lane (Alexia Fast), and ICEU investigators Dunlop (Rosario Dawson) and Cornwall (Scott Speedman). For the most part, the story focuses on the investigation. At one point, I forgot all about Matthew. Anyway, Cassandra was abducted at a young age after Matthew left her in the car alone. Although he's initially questioned as a suspect, those accusations are swiftly dropped. Of course, Tina blames Matthew for everything while Dunlop and Cornwall continue the investigation – Cornwall also continues to suspect Matthew. However, Cassandra's survival is discovered years after her disappearance when her image is found on a network for pedophiles. I'll leave it at that for this review. There are some twists and turns, but nothing special. The film leads to a fairly simple ending.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Film Review: Hush (2016)

Hush (Review)
United States/2016
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...doesn't remedy the problems in the home invasion genre that have annoyed me for a long time, but it still managed to entertain."

Maddie (Kate Siegel), a mute and deaf writer living in the woods, fights for her life when a masked killer arrives at her home...

Hush is a very simple film. In fact, it's so simple, there's not much more I can say about the plot. The story follows Maddie, a mute and deaf writer who has retreated to the woods. She lives by her lonesome, although she finds companionship in her cats and her kind neighbor. As night approaches, her neighbor comes running to her home, bloodied from head-to-toe. Unfortunately, Maddie does not see her. She doesn't see the intruder she led to her home, either. So, the intruder breaks in, steals her phone, then taunts her. Before Maddie can call for help, the intruder cuts the power. From there, we get ourselves an old-fashioned game of cat-and-mouse. At one point, the film says something along the lines of, "give him an ending he won't predict," while referencing the antagonist. The problem is: it's one of the most utterly predictable endings ever for the audience.


Friday, April 8, 2016

Film Review: Wild Card (2015)

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

"...the film feels like a jigsaw with pieces jammed into it from other puzzles."

Nick Wild (Jason Statham) takes jobs as a chaperone/security guard in Vegas, living his dreadful life day-by-day. One day, he receives a request from Holly (Dominik Garcia-Lorido), who seeks vengeance...

Wild Card follows Nick Wild on his adventures across Vegas – this meaning the film never really focuses on any particular plot point. So, Nick is called to Holly's home for a discussion. Nick finds Holly has been sexually assaulted and beaten. He's reluctant to aid, but Holly guilts him into helping. He tracks Holly's attackers to a 'Danny DeMarco.' Although Holly planned on castrating the man, she's more than content with stealing his money and leaving town, which leaves Nick in a sticky situation – stay, gamble, hope to win, then escape to his dream life. At this point, it becomes more of a typical gambling film while occasionally glancing back at the original plot. Like the rest, the final fight scene is fantastic. The ending is decent, too.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Film Review: The Loft (2014)

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

"Keep an open mind and you might like what you see in The Loft."

Five married men share a luxurious loft for their erotic excursions. Their dream situation, however, is shattered when a woman is found dead in their home away from home...

The Loft follows the five owners of the loft. Vincent Stevens (Karl Urban) is the leading douchebag of the group, being the architect who designed the building after all. Luke Seacord (Wentworth Miller) is Vincent's bashful best friend and a generally introverted fellow. Chris Vanowen (James Marsden) is a doctor who falls in love with his mistress. Marty Landry (Eric Stonestreet) is the fat funny guy douchebag – really, I think that's all we get from him. Philip Williams (Matthias Schoenaerts) is Chris' brother and a cocaine lover. Anyway, the film simultaneously tells three stories: the interrogation of the friends, the moment they found the body, and the events leading up to the mysterious death. The storytelling can be a bit muddled since it hops around between the three timelines, but you'll get the gist. It can also get a bit too twisted towards the end. I don't mean it's sick or demented, but it packs a few too many twists and turns for its own good.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Film Review: Dying Breed (2008)

Dying Breed (Review)
Australia/2008
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Prime
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"It was not original, it was not exciting, and it certainly was not frightening."

Nina (Mirrah Foulkes) and her boyfriend, Matt (Leigh Whannell), along with another couple, travel to Tasmania to find an extinct tiger. On their trip, they find something much more horrendous...

Dying Breed is a simple story – something probably best for a short film. This story follows Nina and Matt, as well as Jack, Matt's douchebag friend, and his girlfriend, Rebecca. The group travel to Tasmania to aid Nina in her search for an extinct tiger. They mingle with some townsfolk while Jack causes some problems, then they enter the woods. They search around for the tiger and argue a bit. That's really all that happens in the first hour – all of it! It's not until the final act that they are attacked and the story starts to go places. It doesn't really go anywhere interesting or new, but it finally starts moving. The film leads to one of those endings where it continues to drag on and on. You know, the ending where it fades out and you think it's over, then another scene occurs; and, when that scene fades out, it repeats the process until you're begging it to finish. That kind of ending.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Film Review: 14 Blades (2010)

14 Blades (Review)
China/2010
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"Due to its lack of risk and originality, I fear this is a film I'll forget within the next week."

Quinlong (Donnie Yen) of the Jinyiwei is hurled into a plot to overthrow the government by deceitful conspirators, which leaves him wounded and on the run...

14 Blades is a fairly generic wuxia action film. Once again, we find ourselves with the Jinyiwei, the government's all-powerful secret police. As the leader of the Jinyiwei, Quinlong is given a special box with 14 blades, each serving its own purpose – 14 Blades, you know, like the title? Anyway, Quinlong is deceived by a group of conspirators, which include an exiled prince, and he's left wounded and on the run. His comrades have also suffered violent deaths. Quinlong sets out to save the empire by retrieving the imperial seal, which he was forced to steal. Of course, he'll run into some talented adversaries, each with their own skill set, and he'll have the aid of Qiao Hua (Zhao Wei), his escort's daughter. It all leads to a predictable ending. At least the final fight was good.