Simple, Humorous, But Lacking

And so it goes

            With the transition from one city to another, I haven’t had much time to look at all the movies coming out this week. So in my brief spare time I decided to deviate from my normal action regime and instead head into something a little more realistic.   My movie this weekend is one starring legends Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton, who are thrown together in a dramatic romantic comedy. So let’s get cracking on my review of And So It Goes.


The premise for this movie is very simple; a self-involved real estate agent named Oren (Douglas) is forced to reexamine his life when he meets his granddaughter (Sterling Jerins). Unsure of what to do in his new role, Oren turns to his neighbor Leah (Keaton) for assistance and a little bit of self-discovery. It’s the same plot we’ve seen many times, only this time it is not presented by Hallmark Channel in one of their weekly Saturday night premiers. And So It Goes’ story is a predictable plot, with an ending once can see coming within the first twenty minutes of the tale. Unfortunately the predictability is not offset with a decent pace, as the opening scenes are slow repeats of what we saw in the trailer. Sure there were a few good chuckles along the way, but my interest and enjoyment didn’t start until the granddaughter arrives. From there the tale is cute, with Oren beginning to self examine his life, as those around him become a makeshift family. Some of the scenes could have had much more effect had they introduced it later in the film, while others were rather pointless or ambiguous. Character development occurred somewhat in this tale, though the backstories of the characters were rushed, only mentioned in a brief scream of outrage or crying fit, before resolving in minutes. Such deep flaws and emotional scars are not addressed in a matter of days, but take serious therapy and time to address. Yet in this movie, these problems were blown over in a matter of minutes, with some breakthrough occurring at just the right time.


Acting wise the team is solid. Despite the lackluster story, Douglas breathes life into the movie in the way he presents the dialogue. First of all, his character is believable, despite the enormous ego that he presents. Douglas has a way of playing the arrogant jerk, who starts out like Scrooge, so stingy with his emotions only to have a heart change in the final act. His anger comes out in a reasonable manner and his mistakes with the relationship are real and not some out of control mistake where the character is acting overly stupid. When he tries to make up for his mistakes, they come out awkward, the uncertainty of their success only offset by the inevitable happy ending that lies at hand. Yet it’s his comedic presentation that is my favorite quality, his twists and emphasis on certain words providing the kick you need to get a good laugh. Keaton offsets the jerk comedy though with her usual down to earth self, though this time with more tears. Her character is a bit over emotional, crying at the slightest whim, which limits her dialog. However, she still plays that motherly role she has perfected, and one that still gives me goose bumps at her sincerity. Keaton’s got a few good lines here and there, but she is more of the supporting role for all the other characters. Jerins does a nice job playing an innocent ten-year-old girl, though this shouldn’t be too surprising since she is about that age. Her character is also a mere tool to drive the character development, but at least wasn’t a whiny brat as many young actors are these days.


Overall the acting is fine, but the humor is the best part of this movie. Unlike most comedies, this film relies on dry humor and wits. The dialogue is simple, with sarcastic responses and simple insults that you have heard from your friends and family. While there is a lack of lines that would become the newest t-shirt logo, the realistic responses and timing much better than a thousand taglines. The fact that these jabs were diverse and spanned out also helped make things more enjoyable and less stale. Again Douglas’ character gets the best lines, and has the best timing, but overall the dialog is fun and balanced. As for other humor, there are a few other things that will get a chuckle. The facial expressions of a few of the characters are over dramatized, but get a few laughs when placed in the awkward situations. Those looking for slapstick humor though should avoid this, because the clumsy antics and stupid stunts are nowhere in sight in this film.


And So It Goes is a very simple movie, filled with moments that are meant to teach a lesson and pull at the heartstrings. The audience who will enjoy the movie the most are the grandparents who deal with the issues at hand, but this is a movie that many adults can see and enjoy. I don’t recommend bringing younger audience members, since there is a lack of flair that most of the current generation will appreciate. Overall this movie isn’t really one worth a trip to the theater, but would make for a nice movie night in when given the chance. My scores for And So It Goes are:


Comedy/Drama/ Romance: 7.0

Movie Overall: 6.0

Improvement with Anarchy

Purge anarchy

 Last year we were introduced to the Purge, a thriller that slightly strayed from the typical path by diving into the world of legalized crime.  Yes you heard me legalized crime, where for 12 hours: theft, sexual assault and even murder are free of punishment in an attempt to reduce crime as a whole.  The first installment into this series, attempted to scare us with a locked down, dark house and a bunch of crazed rich people.  Unfortunately for this reviewer, the movie was rather boring, a bit stupid, and lacked a lot of suspense until near the end when the action unfolded and the moral filled dialogue took a back seat.  So to my surprise, the announcement of a sequel was quite shocking, and I wondered just what was in store.


From the trailers, The Purge Anarchy showed some more bite than it’s predecessor, as this time the danger was taken out of the isolated home and on to the wild streets of the most deadly night of the year.  Did it deliver?  Yes for the most part, as the Purge opens with three stories each from a different perspective of this night of terror: the hunted, the innocent, and the purger.  In a random, and conveniently timed manner, their stories link up, as they become a band of mice escaping the various nut jobs out on the street.  Within the first twenty minutes or so, the movie has much more suspense than what we saw, as the group of characters begins to partake in the most dangerous game of survival.  Each of the cast is “unique” in their own way, with the Sergeant (Frank Grillo) being the cold, withdrawn elite who leads the other four weaklings through the darkness.  The rest of the cast does a nice job of portraying various states of mind in a situation, yet their characters for the most part are annoying.  In particular is Cali (Zoë Soul) who is the active and verbal moral speaker of the group sharing her opinions every step of the way, and overstepping her boundaries.  While I appreciate the morals she is presenting and strongly believe in them, her little attitude was very annoying and I waited for some event to put her in her place.  Yet it never really came.  The other characters in the small party evolved over the night, developing backbones and courage to fight back in the night and not be pathetic.   Cali though, stayed stubbornly naïve and annoying.


Okay let’s move past the characters and get to the rest of the movie.  Anarchy’s story is a continuation of the Purge’s simplistic plot, adding more insight into the government that blessed this event.  While a few of the plot elements are rather lackluster and emotionally deprived, they have set up a common enemy to unite against instead of random crazy strangers.  The mystery behind a few of the factions is well timed, dragged on just long enough to keep you wondering, but not so long that you stop caring, helped by the less than 2 hour running time.  One continues to ask why this small band of people are wanted by so many, keeping the suspense and thrills up.  What also helps is that our cast is not the usual pathetic weaklings we see in horror films, but actually have skills that allow them to survive.  The Sergeant in particular uses street smarts, hunter’s intuition, and gun wielding to fight off those that choose to purge, leading to sporadic action scenes that liven up the film.  Navigating the diverse nightmarish city also keeps things exciting as the band is forced to take detours and migrate from as the hunter’s traps and tricks come to life.  Some of these obstacles attempt to scare you with predictable tactics we’ve seen time and time again.  However, most of these jumping scenes quickly change into a struggle of dominance, often leading to a pileup of victims as the hours progress.  While most of the victims often erupt into a shower of bloody ruptures, the kills aren’t quite as graphic or torturous as what we’ve seen in the past.  The thing that really gets overused is the F word, which seems to be the most popular sentence filler these days, as every bout of dialogue leads to a heated use of the word.  Perhaps the other adult aspect of this movie is the how soulless and twisted society has become in this movie, where emotional scandals and pent up anger is unhealthily released in sinful actions.  Now older audience members are going to laugh at half of the motives, and some of the cheesy lines associated with it.  Younger audience members though, may fall victim to the suggestions of this movie, so please reconsider taking them to the theater. 


The Purge Anarchy is a much better movie than I had expected, and improved miraculously from the first installment.  With improved action, a better setting, and some dynamic characters, this series shows promise for the inevitable sequel that is to come.  Yes there are still some overstretches, particularly in the blood, dialogue, and story, but I a film series like this one begins to expect that.  Fans of the series or those looking for a decent suspense thriller should check it out; otherwise take five on this weekend.  My scores for the Purge Anarchy are as followed:


Action/Horror/Thriller:  7.5

Movie Overall:  6.5




Soaring into Family Friendly Territory



Another weekend, another Disney movie in the form of inanimate objects being brought to life and giving them personality.  My first film to review is a pickup of a Pixar abandoned world that transitioned from the hard paved racetrack to the free roaming wilderness of the open sky.  You have guessed it, my movie is on the latest Disney sequel Planes: Fire and Rescue, a movie that many see as another addition to the world of kid’s movies to appease a growing population.  Is this the simple stereotypical kid’s film or does it stand out from the flood? Let’s cut the chatter and get to the review.


Let’s face it, the one certainty you have when it comes to Planes is it is going to be kiddy and they meet your expectations.  Disney has made a nice friendly movie, lacking the secret naughty jokes that adults love, for good simple fun in a nice convenient package, where everything happens in just the right circumstances to drive the story. The colorful world will grab most children’s attention, depending on their energy level, and leave their eyes wide with excited fun.  The animation is hands down impressive, a nice collage of anthropomorphic movements interlaid with smooth flying through a beautiful world as they start to catch up to their former partners.  My favorite parts of the movie involved the majestic flights through the generated world of canyons, lakes, and forests, often putting us in a first person perspective that makes you feel you are in the cockpits and perhaps a little dizzy.  To help give it some suspense, the planes dive into some turbulent skies as the fires, which seems to start up so quickly, create a dark haze for our cast to travel in.  While kids may get tense, and our brave men and women of service may appreciate the “edge”, it did lack some edge, more on that later.


Now you might be thinking, “This is Disney, surely something sad has to happen that will make my little one cry?”  Well surprise, surprise Planes flies over the depressing twist and keeps the movie lighthearted for the most part.  With the opening message and dedication to the brave fire fighters, you expected a little more drama to drive the plot, yet Disney chose to keep the fun going with as little stress as possible.  While this should keep your kids laughing and smiling, or in some cases running across the theater mimicking the planes, it leads to a simplistic film that may leave older audience members boredPlanes lacks a lot of excitement and zest that some of the previous Disney films contained, that creative spark that entertained us for so many years lost to the lower threshold of entertainment we have all set for ourselves.  Now this doesn’t mean all is lost, for Planes has some rather witty puns that had me chuckling from time to time, but aside from that the humor is based on your ability to appreciate cultural references and how child like your humor is.   The good news though, is that parents won’t have to spend too much time in this light hearted movie, for it runs less than 90 minutes, which is a great time span for a movie such as this. 


So what else is worth mentioning about this film?  Let’s talk a little about the voice acting.  Planes Fire and Rescue stars Dane Cook, the crude comedian again diverging from his usual stand up to give a mediocre performance.  The animation, more than the voice acting, captivates the emotion more, but Cook’s monotone voice is easy to understand and fitting for the character.  Ed Harris does a nice job as the stern trainer, somehow being harsh, but packing wisdom and experience that mimics his years on the Silver screen.  Fans of Modern Family will be happy to see, or hear in this case, Julie Bowen whose overdramatic/overacted character has been captured in plane form.  The audience was laughing at her delivery, her character both creepy and yet endearing as she tried to guide Dusty through his trainingYet my favorite voice was from former Nerd Curtis Armstrong, whose rough, cut to the point, honesty never gets old for this reviewer, especially when it comes out of a little pipsqueak like Maru.  Voice acting aside, the designs of the characters is well done, taking common patterns and colors of rescue vehicles and crafting them into symbols that match the ethnicity they represented mainly for the Native American helicopter.


Planes is a fun, family adventure that brings joy, happiness, and very layman humor that will entertain the young.  Again the visuals are nice, the story very easy to follow, and the world colorful and fun, with little emotional diversity.  Yet, Disney could have easily made this one of their original movies, and put it on TV, not only sparing us a carbon copy of their teenage romantic plots, but also saving us some money as well.  My suggestion in to forego this movie, unless you really need something to curb your children’s energy, or you are just looking for simple animation.  Otherwise save your money and stay home in the comforts of your own home, waiting for a few other films coming in the new few weeks.


My scores for Planes are:


Animation/Adventure/Comedy:  6.0

Movie Overall: 5.0

Put an X on the Sex Tape

sex tape

My second review diverges from the kid’s table and heads down a more mature route.  This review focuses on Jake Kasdan’s latest work entitled Sex Tape.  Already turned off by the title, yeah so was I, but still I went into this movie hoping it would be an improvement over his earlier film Bad Teacher. So was Kasdan able to redeem himself with his latest ensemble of comedic stars, two of who were the stars of his previous movies.  Read on to find out.


My review begins with the acting of Cameron Diaz a woman who seems to land herself in a wide variety of roles, many of which are comedy.  Now in the past I’ve felt she has put too much emphasis in her comedy, trying too hard to be funny.  Not the case for this movie though, while certainly not the best performance I’ve seen, Diaz does a nice job delivering her lines and acting stupid, as she and her husband try to correct their mistake.  Yet when she is not partaking in mind-altering substances, she is able to play the role of a loving mother whose caring side seems natural and well fitting for the situation.  As for Jason Segel, there hasn’t been much change in his style.  Throughout the movie I felt I was watching Marshall, over exaggerated lines and incredibly stupid looks filling his screen time as the adventure unfolded.  While some of his stunts were funny, Segel didn’t have enough diversity for me to give him any major props.  As for other characters, well the supporting cast really didn’t do much for me in this movie.  Many of the background characters provided little laughs here and there, or even rarer a plot element, leaving the movie dependent on the two aforementioned actors.  While their chemistry was very good, for I actually felt they were married, it wasn’t enough to make up for the other things lacking in this movie.


One such limitation was the incredibly stupid humor in this movie.  Now before a mob builds up or you stop reading this review hear me out.  Sex Tape’s comedy is not original, and pushes stupidity to the limits.  It’s stale not only because we’ve seen the antics in other films, but because we’ve seen all the jokes on the trailers as well.  That’s right, no shocker, if you have seen the trailers you’ve seen a majority of the humor before the movie has even started.  Lazy writing leads to very stale jokes, often drowned out by the lackadaisical use of the F bomb, and actually quite a few MF bombs as well.  You might think that I’m a bit too strict when it comes to humor, but that’s because I like stupidity mixed with cleverness and that is not the case for this movie.  However, I do admit there were a few jokes and gimmicks in this movie that made me laugh, especially some rather weird and funny paintings of one of the support characters.


Putting the stupid comedy aside, Sex Tape also falls into some graphic displays of sex.  It seems that rated R keeps pushing the limits, on what is appropriate, though for me I was not entertained seeing two naked bodies writhing around.  Yes, the camera shows a lot of scenes with some interesting techniques taking place between the two.  Some of the shots are rather awkward, some are just gross, and yet they don’t shy from showing the details, with surprisingly steady camerawork.  Thus, please don’t make the judgment call to bring younger kids to the movie, please hire a babysitter and spare the inappropriate situations.  Luckily if you can make it through the awkward, graphic displays and stupidity you will find some decent morals written into the tale as well.  You can probably guess they have to do with love and family, most likely making you want to gag, but having them taught to the family by a certain celebrity is quite funny to me, considering his previous works.  And while I know you aren’t really going for the story, there is a nice little twist to the film that you don’t see coming.


Sex tape is definitely the stupid tale you’ve come to expect from the trailers.  However the graphic, awkward displays of sex, combined with the stale trailer scenes does not make it worth a trip to the theater.  Sure Diaz still looks cute, even cuter with the makeup work and she does nice acting, but it isn’t enough to save this movie.  If you are dying for a comedy though, or a big fan of Bad Teacher, then take a trip to the theater and laugh your head off.  My recommendation is again wait a couple of weeks for the next round of movies and do something else. 


My scores for Sex Tape are:


Comedy: 4.5

Movie Overall: 4.0


An Incredible Sequel that Promises a New Dawn of Film

Dawn of the Apes

            It’s about the middle of July and usually about this time we get a blockbuster to save us from the bland, and often carbon copy, comedies that fill the theaters.  While normally the movie of choice is some big superhero movie like the Dark Knight or Spiderman, this summer lacks justice driven superheroes running around in tights.  Instead the middle of July feature has some harrier characters dishing out justice, ones who were inspired years ago when science fiction wasn’t all about special effects.  I’m talking about Planet of the Apes, and today I review the latest installment in the series by director Matt Reeves.  So let’s get cracking on this sequel shall we?


Three years ago we learned the origins of how the apes began their journey into dominance over the planet Earth, the ending leaving a cliffhanger that opened up a wide array of possibilities for the sequel to follow.  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes picks up ten years after the ending of the first film in a world where humans are on the brink of extinction and apes are the fittest for survival.  From the very beginning Dawn opens up with a dark and somber mood, the mere opening hunt a precipice for the intensity that is to follow.  Within minutes we are introduced into setting, and immersed into the drama at hand, foregoing drawn out explanations and tired dialog intense scenes and getting right to the situation at hand.  Through the use of imaginative design, cinematography magic, and some simple, though effective, dialog the story pans out and keeps the plot going.  Over the course of the entire movie, the savage wilderness the world has become keeps one on their toes, wondering what event will offset the perilous balance the world is currently in.  While most of it is predictable, from some very obvious character designs, I was engrossed in the movie, happy to see Reeves pushing my suspicions to the limit and keeping my adrenaline pumping with action that fit the timing and lasted an appropriate amount of time.  These heated moments would then disperse and often open up characters to conveniently timed interventions that allowed for more details to enfold.  For this reviewer, this is the art of storytelling, building components such as action and CGI around a story instead of the other way around.


Speaking of CGI, let’s talk about the special effects of this movie.  Once again the design team has created beautiful effects in the tarnished planet of Earth.  The chimps in particular are gorgeous in design, with hair, skin, and scars mixed together to give the main apes differentiating qualities to help tell them apart.  Their movement is fluid, the apes lumbering, swinging, and acting in a manner equivalent to their real life counterparts adding more to the realism at hand.  Andy Serkis’ talents continued to impress me in this film, as he brought the humanity to Caesar in many forms from facial expressions to the awkward hybrid gait he sports.  Of course what impressed me the most were the battle scenes, where the fast pace, and explosive action are true tests to the animation at hand.  Dawn passes with flying colors, the animation remaining fluid, as the camera captures the hectic warzone between man and ape.  Best of all you actually get to see the action, as opposed to other movies where the camera can’t seem to stand still long enough to see anything.  Though not only are the monkeys well designed, but also the world itself is incredible from the decaying metropolis that was once San Francisco, to the secluded fortress of the monkeys.  I felt the world before me could exist, impressed with the creative integration of nature and architecture mish mashed together in ways I would never had thought about doing.


Yet the biggest thing the visuals and acting did for me, was stir up a wide array of emotions.  Dawn of the Apes is filled to the brim with intense moments that bring out a wide variety of responses over the course of two hours.  Caesar himself opens up many of these doors, his facial reactions in particular reflecting his soul, while also being portrayed as the hero from well angled shots.  Even the other monkeys will get you worked up as they try to adapt to the changes in their world, only to be treated like scum in a manner that similar to racism.  Yet, a few rogue monkeys also reveal the darker and inhumane, or should I say inAPane, manner that makes them no better than the humans they so despise.  Of course the biggest thing that affected me was seeing the death of the apes, their high-pitched screams of terror penetrating my core.  As for the humans, they too have some moments that are emotionally moving, but they paled in comparison to the CGI simians.  Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, and Gary Oldman did a fine job acting, but they took a back seat for a good portion of the film, the exception being Clarke, merely providing a little story and situation relief when needed.


My words can do very little to justify how much I enjoyed this movie.  The dynamic character that is Caesar continues to evolve, bringing so many people into the world and creating a story worthy of introducing us back into the nostalgic world.  With great action and suspense, incredible visuals, and a wide array of emotions, this may be one of the best sequels I have ever seen. Therefore I strongly encourage everyone to head to the theater to see this film, as it is also one of the best for the summer.    I look forward to the next movie in this series, and hope Reeves will take lead again.


My scores for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes are:


Action/Drama/Sci-Fi:  9.0

Movie Overall:  9.0 

An Echo of Other Classics, That is Fun



Kids movies seem to be monopolized these days by Disney with their numerous animated masterpieces acting as a beacon for families to flock to the theater.  Yet there are a few studios outside of the enterprise that still dare to dream and break the mold.  My review focuses on Relativity Media’s latest production of Earth To Echo, a science fiction journey for the new age.  Now from first trailers and a few reviews, the description is pretty much a new version of E.T. with less organic alien and more Wall-E.  Yet I wanted to get a look myself at what this feature had to answer the question: Is it really just an E.T. knock off, or is there something more?  What were my thoughts?  Read on to find out.


In agreement with my fellow reviewers, I do agree that Echo has a lot of similarities to Spielberg’s original work.  The story in particular matches the classic tale of earthlings, in this case kids, stumbling upon an alien life form stranded on our majestic planet.  It’s goal?  Merely to find it’s way home and avoid harming humans in the process.  From there though, the tale becomes a patchwork of references to other movies, whose qualities we haven’t seen for some time.  Now this takes away from the originality I will agree, but I was pleased with the integration.  Movies today tend to forgo the art of story telling for the top of the line CGI and special effects, hoping the visuals and “action” will please the audience.  Earth to Echo returns to what the classics do though, bringing about simplistic shots and sequences and focusing on the adventure.  The simplistic journey of riding bikes into the unknown pays tribute to E.T., while the bonds of true friendship and enjoying the time of youth references The Goonies; both movies that are still in high demand to this day.  One gets brought into the adventure from the first person perspective of video cameras, ala Cloverfield, adding further depth to the movie to bring you deeper into the tale.


Although simplistic and predictable, the adventure is fun and entertaining for kids and the kid at heart.  It takes one back to the days of exploring the world around you, grabbing your toys and gadgets and creating quests from the mundane world.  For reviewers like me, such adventure is the true magic of movies, and brings fun and enjoyment that modern films seem to lack these days.  Packed into the adventure are some deeper morals, built around the characters’ problems, which are the typical back-stories you see in most tales, i.e. neglect and abandonment issues.  These morals though are very touching, and gave me goose bumps as the issues resolved themselves.  Sure the presentation is a bit cheesy, overdramatized with just the right music to get the emotions going, but I still think it was well executed to drive the point home.  Those looking for twists and turns are going to be disappointed in this film, as there are none present, which is pretty typical for a kids movie.


Of course with how much fun I had in the movie, there are some faults that older fans might get caught up on.  First thing is the fact of the kid’s leaving the house, which becomes completely unnoticed nor questioned by anyone.  Such negligence is rather comical, but I guess necessary to allow for unrestricted access to the frontier.  The second weakness comes in the fact that these kids manage to travel miles of open highway in the span of a few hours on just bicycles.  Now we see this in the tour de France, but the mileage they cover takes days not hours.  The convenient lack of cars on a major highway is something else that is a bit stretched as well, and when it is populated no one seems to have any concerns or hesitation to stop.  A third weakness is how easy the kids were able to get in/break in to businesses and again the lack of questions or obstacles they had to face.  Apparently everyone in this town are idiots because the kids were able to get away with felonies at the drop of a hat.  As for the first person camera angle, it is much more stable than some of the films, but there are a few points where it gets dizzying, often when they are doing a panorama shot or fleeing from the cops. Finally comes Echo, the little robot is adorable, his squeaks and infantile design will met the hearts for most of the people coming to this film.  While a bit of a knockoff of Wall-E’s Eve, the little dude will most likely have action figures and stuffed toys coming soon.  Unfortunately you don’t see much of the little guy as the movie tends to focus on the boys and his outer shell than the actual robot.  I assume they cut his time short, to save some money, but for a movie about a robot, well you expect a little more screen time for their hard work.


While Earth to Echo is not the most original movie, it takes a step back to the art of storytelling while maintaining some technological features.  The kids they hired to act did a nice job, and all the other mentioned elements are combined to bring one into a fun adventure.  Honestly, this may have been the first movie I’ve had fun seeing in a long time.  While there are some stretches here and there, and their title star was lacking, I think this a great movie to see.


My scores for Earth to Echo are:


Adventure/Family/Sci-Fi:  8.0

Movie Overall:  7.0


Another McCarthy Movie, but a few new gimmicks


            My second review focuses on the comedy of the weekend named Tammy.  As I’m sure you have seen, Melissa McCarthy stars in this rambunctious tale where hilarious antics are sure to plague every second of this movie without any restraint from a censor bureau.  From her track record though, we know that her movies have been pretty much the same basic structure, with only slight changes to her character and a different setting.  Does Tammy fit into this mold, or is there something more in this film that makes it worthwhile.  Read on to find out.


Seeing as Tammy is a comedy, let’s start with the laughs this film has to offer.  Tammy has a variety of comedy present in this film, all ridiculously silly and overacted as we tend to see in McCarthy’s movies.  From the very beginning, McCarthy plays her traditional character, hitting a deer in the first five minutes and coaching it through its recovery.  You would think this set the stupid bar high, but it only gets stupider as one bad day starts an adventure full of cursing, insults, alcoholic stunts and awkward situations.  Many of these scenes you have seen in the trailer, with a comedic kick happening moments after, which you most likely will predict.  And through it all McCarthy does her same routine, screaming loudly and making over dramatic motions that take a long time to move on from. She is funny yes, but how much longer can I keep finding entertainment in the same character and laughs she provides.  Yet for audience members like me, there are some other characters to help take the comedy reigns.  Susan Sarandon playing a careless, alcoholic grandmother was very entertaining, her sarcasm and blunt delivery perfect to ground Tammy’s vibrant nature, and provide a bit of a moral dilemma.  Even better was Kathy Bates who was a blend of Tammy and Grandma Pearl, doing over the top stunts and yet very too the point with her lines.  Often Bates character helped drive the story, helping develop characters with just a few catty phrases before calling in laughs.


Speaking of the dialogue, the writers did a nice job packing the script with a lot of diverse comedic styles.  Screaming rants by Tammy are a mess of descriptions that lack any cohesive meaning, often just word vomiting all the thought in her head.  Like most rated R movies, witty humor is replaced with curse laden one liners, that sometimes hit the mark and sometimes go soaring over head.  Yet, there are some lines that had me laughing incredibly hard, in particular the description of Tammy to a bag of Cheetos and describing her life in a few comical means.  Though for many audience members, it didn’t matter what was said, for the generic comedy was gold in their eyes.


Story wise, it’s simple, escaping a town full of bitter memories to go to Niagara falls to fulfill an old dream.  Over the course of the movie, Tammy realizes the sources of her troubles come from within and instead of running she needs to face up to them.  While retired, stale, and rather predictable, it is always nice to get a refresher in these life changing lessons, that can kick you hard enough to motivate you to implement them.  Otherwise there are no twists, no real surprises, and really no dilemmas you haven’t seen before.  Such simplicity makes this a fun comedy, but again you can save yourself money and watch one of the other movies McCarthy has starred in.


There really isn’t much else I can say about this movie, other than the camera work or sound quality are nicely done.  The soundtrack is also filled with some rather good tunes, the opening song in particular made me bob in my seat.  Overall Tammy is the same comedy you’ve seen again.  Fans of this style will be rolling on the floor or screaming out loud, so these are the audience members I feel should see the movie.  Otherwise skip the film and wait for it to come out on RedBox, unless you are looking for a way to beat the heat.  Tammy is stupid, silly fun though, and certainly you will find some laughs and giggles in the writing.


Overall my scores for Tammy are:


Comedy: 5.5-6.0

Movie Overall:  5.0 

A Delivery From Typical Horror Movies

Deliver Us From Evil

            A cop and a rabbi are touring the streets.  Sounds like the beginning of a joke doesn’t it, but no it is the focus of the plot of one of this weekend’s releases.  Now being 4th of July weekend you might expect a comedy, a heroic feature, or some patriotic film.  However, not once did I expect a horror film to open up the month of July.  Today I start my review trilogy with Deliver Us From Evil, starring Eric Bana and Édgar Ramírez.  Let’s get started.


Horror movies have gone through all types of plots and ways to scare us.  Where they once had plot and character driven stories, modern horrors have abused technology and makeup to bombard viewers with predictable scares, unlimited gore, and sacrificing plot.  Amidst the flood of thrillers though shine some treasures that do the genre justice and create a horrifying tale worth watching again.  For me this movie can be added to those treasures for director Scott Derrickson and team have created a horror movie I’ve been waiting for.  Deliver Us From Evil is a supernatural horror that packs suspense and scares throughout the entire movie, utilizing the art of creepiness with the surprise scares mixed in.  Through the use of shadows and light, combined with the ash like filter, Derrickson’s cinematography is one of the biggest components to providing fear.  As our heroes work their way through the case at hand, they navigate dark filled corridors and rooms where light is robbed.  While the failure of electricity is a bit comical, as it seems every thing has the ability to cause lights to blow out, it robs the comfort daylight provides us when watching a horror movie.  In addition to robbing us of that safety zone, the lack of light also makes one’s imagination fill in the details to what lies beneath until the big reveal.  Something else that helps increase the terror factor is the realistic setting of a populated city, that defies the usual isolated or extreme settings we’ve seen time and time again. Of course horror movies also have a way of setting you up for the scare, helping one predict when something is going to jump out at you and this movie is no exception.


Yet scares aren’t the only thing that a horror movie needs, but a plot to build those scares around, or else you could save yourself money and have someone scare you at home.  For this film the story is quite well put together, diverting from the path of some mythological creature, or deranged serial killer who are the focus of most modern thrillers. Instead the plot is a combination of a cop story and a supernatural horror, blending the best of both worlds into one tale that leads one down a rabbit hole of unfathomable evil. Though there are a few unexplained aspects, there is enough detail and twists to this tale that give the story some bite as Detective Sarchie uncovers the truth and faces his proverbial demons.  That’s right, you heard me, there is actually some character development in this horror movie, shaping a hero that isn’t some dimwitted blonde or muscle bound jock.  Instead Sarchie is a relatable character, who has flaws and weaknesses that make he and his company vulnerable to the temptations of the dark forces at work.  Even the supporting characters are not immune to the threats of damage and death, leaving one uncertain just when they will kill someone off, and who is the next victim.  Speaking of death, it’s the popular trend to make victims unbelievably dumb, so that they walk into some elaborate death trap that often turns out bloody.  Not the case in this film, well minus the blood, but they avoid the fake, cheesy deaths we’ve come to know in the genre. 


Despite all the positives this film has, there are a few factors to mention that take away from the movie.  Number one is the gore, which yes we all know is going to be present in this movie.  However, this film swaps out the animated blood for a more realistic portrayal of decay and maiming.  Makeup really did their job in this movie, capturing famine, exhaustion, scarring, and other mutilation associated with possession down to the letter.  Unfortunately this creates some rather disturbing shots that are not for those with weak constitutions.  A second weakness comes in the fact that some of the more intense scenes are a bit overacted or drawn out, again crossing the border of ridiculousness at times.  In particular is an exorcism scene, which has so much intensity at first, but gets dragged out a little too far for my tastes.  Perhaps they were going for real suspense, or trying to give the demon some more bite, but was it necessary probably not.  Even a few of the screams and creature moans were  bit humorous, not so much the sounds, but seeing the actors try to make elaborate facial gestures.


Overall Deliver Us From Evil, is one of the better horror movies I’ve seen in a long time.  A great storyline for a horror movie, with realistic tendencies and a decent character development, really impressed me in this film.  The fact that it has some mystery and detective work involved keeps the suspense going, and blending surprise with creepiness is something I love in a movie.  Yes there is some overacting, and a few rushed developments that need some tweaking, but I can live with that for what I got.  So what do I give this intensive and graphic horror movie?  The score is below:


Crime/Horror/Thriller:  8.5

Movie Overall:  7.5