Flat on Many Levels! Needs A Full Code To Bring To Life

Flatliners

            Death, the inevitable destination that we are constantly reminded of in the various forms of media.  We spend all our time trying to postpone it that sometimes we miss out on life itself.  This weekend’s remake though focuses on hastening to that endpoint all in the name of science.  I’m talking about Flatliners, a movie that many may be “deathly” afraid to see for one reason or another, however this reviewer is back in the theater to bring you some information on the latest silver screen picture.  Let’s go!

 

LIKES:

 

Pretty Cast:  You get this from the trailers, but Flatliners is another example of pretty faces taking full front in a movie.  Like MTV meets a horror film, this cast will make young and old hearts beat as the characters dress in either preppy fashion or tight clothing to get the blood pumping.  Made up faces sparkle in the light, despite the ever-pressing doom hanging over them, and even in their worst they still look incredible.  Very important qualities in a movie.

 

Morals Wrapped in HorrorA better reward of this movie is the impressive delivery of some important lessons, one of which was rather personal to me.  The first is not to play with the defibrillator to study death, a lesson we all thought we knew, but guess we could use a refresher. Second is to take responsibility for your actions, and make up for them in an honorable manner.  Third is all about forgiveness, something that everyone can use a reminder of in terms of accepting apologies of those that are sincere.  While a bit theatrical at times, Flatliners delivers its lessons solidly, integrating it into the plot and making it fit well into the story.  This gooey, moral driven center is the sweet reward of the movie and perhaps my favorite component of the movie.

 

Decent Characters: Horror movies often have idiots for characters, or so blatantly shallow you can’t help but root for them to meet their end.  Not the case in this film.  Flatliner’s crew, despite the stupid desire to meet death, actually feel like relatable characters.  Their friendship, their flaws, and their fears were relevant to me, and were well-acted by our beautiful cast. As such, these characters are little easier to latch onto and invest your time into, following them through the nightmare they unleashed. For me, it was Diego Luna I grasped on to the most, his character being a keystone into connecting the elements of the plot.

 

Short Run Time:  Always nice when a horror movie doesn’t drag out too long, lost in the unnecessary details that often aren’t needed. Flatliners did a decent job trimming the fat, keeping things concise (if a bit rushed) and essential to explaining our character’s backstory, while still keeping the plot moving.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Not Scary:  Perhaps it’s me seeing so many movies, but Flatliners again failed to shock me.  Outside of the looks they wear when they stop their own hearts (as well as the questionable medical techniques), the movie doesn’t remotely focus on scares of any sort.  There are few vivid images that start down the path, but these fizzle out and become lost in a rather vague concept.  Throw in the rather lax attacks of the entity and well… there isn’t much more to build on to explain the calm pace this movie takes.

 

Vague Creature:  The trailers portray something being unleashed, but Flatliners does a poor job explaining what it is.  A spirit?  A demon? Their minds breaking from all the stress?  The answer is left for you to decipher, but don’t expect much in terms of the evil taking any form. This not only robs the movie of potential scares, but also makes the story confusing and more towards a drama than anything else. While this gets points for making you think, I still would have liked a little more imagination into my monster, or whatever it was.

 

Rushed Elements:  While the characters are better than most horrors, they still are mere shadows to great story works. Flatliners’ dilemmas are hastened through on many levels, a rather pathetic climax with a resolution obtained more easily than the Hulk Smashing through a building.  Some characters got their just desserts on development, but others got off a little easier than expected.  But development would mean a longer movie, so I can’t be too upset.

 

Predictable:  It’s hard to throw surprises in these days, but Flatliners was a little too familiar for my tastes.  In addition to the scares, much of the tale was easy to see coming, and following that pathway just takes away from the originality factor.  With this gone, the special feeling of this movie is further reduced to just another weekend filler.

 

The VERDICT

 

            Flatliners is another example of modern, horror movies with superficial glimmer that is merely gold paint. A pretty cast and good morals don’t offset the fact that movie is just not scary enough, nor original enough, to garnish a theater visit.  The abstract monster that dwells within us all gets you thinking, but come on, we want something to make us lose sleep at night.  Therefore, this mediocre remake gets the following:

 

Drama/Horror/Sci-Fi:  6.5

Movie Overall:  5.0

 

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King Me…Again

Kingsman

 

“Manners, Maketh, Man!” Such an elegant phrase that got millions all fired up years ago in preparation for the spy action flick of the season.  Kingsman was a smashing success back in the day for me, and when I saw a sequel coming, I may have squealed in glee a tiny bit.  Yet, I feared that a sequel could smudge the adventure I enjoyed so much, especially with the expanded cast.  So tonight, I put on my suit (or t-shirt) and hit the theater to scope out the next mission.  Was the mission a success?  Read on to find out friends.

 

LIKES:

 

Funny:  Remember that edgy humor the first Kingsman had?  Well the magic continues my friends, as Kingsman2 is certainly Golden in much of its comedic bite.  It starts like always with the banter between agents, well-timed and well-delivered by our cast to maximize the punch at hand. Then comes the reactions of our agents as their thrown ridiculous curve balls, or baseballs at points, meant to hinder their way.  Yet the cameo by a certain celebrity might have been a major source of gut busting guffaws.  I won’t reveal who it is (I leave that to the Internet), but get ready to laugh so hard you might cry with his “rock n roll’ themed lines.

 

Emotional:  Surprisingly, Kingsman 2 may be more heart wrenching than the first movie.  Eggsy’s next stage of life has more than enough sad moments that will slow the adrenaline ride down, like those stubborn speedbumps in a parking lot, or a Game of Thrones episode.  Character development is certainly stronger than ever in this movie, pushing our lead protagonist to levels we never really thought he would have to face.   All these challenges keep you invested in Eggsy, Merlin, and others for the second round, making for a more immersive experience.

 

Fast PacedKingsman 2 may run for 2.5 hours, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it at all to me.  With all the laughs, emotional investment, and action, you’ll experience a time warp to the end of the film.  I certainly did not feel bored in this movie at all, and was quite pleased by the entertainment it brought.  To have that pace and the decent balance brought with it, is not something you see in most films.

 

Action:  Of course my favorite aspect has to be the action packed into the film on many levels.  Kingsman 2 keeps up the high energy infused sequences that are about guns, melee, gadgets, and over the top stunts.  Eggsy and the gang bring their skills back in high definition, special effects crazy goodness, with a fantastic play list to further amp things up.  This dynamic was maintained through most of the movie, keeping things interesting with new gadgets to tear baddies a new one with.  Despite a few missed moments, the action is certainly the selling point of this movie, especially with its integration into the plot and the pertinence to the mission.  Throw in stable camera work and editing, and you just maximize the excitement of this film.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Ridiculousness:  Don’t get me wrong, the absurdity of this film is one of those charming qualities that got me into the movie.  However, in this sequel, that level sometimes went a little too far outside reality to take away from the atmosphere they were creating.  If the stunts aren’t too farfetched for you, then the invulnerability, or medical technology feats will have you rolling their eyes as they reach preposterous proportions.  It fits in the comedic spoof theme, but feels out of place at times and took a little away from the suspense.  This is only a small dislike. 

 

Viscous nature:  I like a good action movie, and darkness can certainly open the gates to maximize the violence we love to see our actors perform.  They unfortunately overstep their boundaries at times, crossing into the darker world I like to avoid if possible. Some rather gruesome deaths and blood bashings are the first scratches that chinked my armor.  While a few are obviously computer generated, the special effects craft some rather scarring images that won’t leave my memory anytime soonEven worse though, is the cruelty to animals in this film.  You know I hate unnecessary hurting of our furrier friends, but Kingsman was not hesitant to go the distance of getting emotional responses by this means.  Not cool for me, but if you lack that empathy, you’ll shrug it off like the agent’s credo.

 

Wasted Characters:  Kingsman has a lot of great actors, with much of our cast reprising their roles in style and to great heights.  Even newcomers like Julianne Moore as an eccentric villain, or Halle Berry as a tech geek, get applause from me.  Hollywood though fails to live up to utilizing all their characters to the same degree…again.  Agents who survived the wraith of the last film are reduced to the background with little remorse, making small contributions at the best.  New agent wise… don’t count on eye candy Channing Tatum to do much better, resorting to one action scene, and more modeling in an Abercrombie and Fitch manner.  Why he doesn’t get a serious chance?  I can’t answer, but I was disappointed with his involvement in the film.

 

VERDICT:

 

            Overall, I was very pleased with this sequel and enjoyed the thrill of returning to the frontlines of the spy war.  A compelling story with much emotion, amidst comedy and high speed action are the selling points to this film.  Yet, the ridiculousness of the stunts, amidst the brutal kills shots and wasted characters takes away from the movie.  Still, it’s worth a trip to the theater and I encourage you to hit the theaters to experience the stunts in full glory and enjoy another fun action adventure. 

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Adventure/Comedy:  8.5

Movie Overall:  7.5

Assassin Assessment

American Assassin

 

In a time of political warfare and strife, the world needs heroes to arise to help curb the actions tension may lead to.  Movies being a great source advertisement for hero portrayal would certainly look to developing a political warrior, peacemaker, or some warrior of the word. Nope, that doesn’t sell, so let’s make another super-agent instead.  Robbie K again, and today we review American Assassin, the action thriller of September starring Dylan O’Brien and Michael Keaton. Let’s get started!

 

LIKES:

 

Immersive Presentation:  One of the things I liked most with this movie how I felt integrated into the whole program that Mitch (O’Brien) is going through.  From the horrific tragedy that send him down the vigilante pathway to the indoctrinating mission that sets his path, you’ll get all the emotional rides that come with it.  As Mitch evolves as a character, you too get entangled in the complex web of emotions, all while feeling like a spy thanks to the intertwining scenes of spy technology digging up dirt on the target.  Pretty cool indeed.

 

Fast Pace:  I guess a quick pace is good when it comes to action films huh?  American Assassin throws few roadblocks into the simple and linear plot it is based on.  One will go from point A to Point F faster than a kid connecting the dots, with little to try and take your attention away.  Editors get props for keeping the tangent story lines at a minimum and keeping them relevant to bring you more thrills, spills, and kills.

 

Acting:  With Keaton’s resurgence back into Hollywood these last few years, you hope he brings some magic to the screen, right?  I felt he did a decent job playing the disgruntled, elite military man with a chip on his shoulder and a moral weight greater than the U.S. Debt.  You’ll feel the angst and vigor within him, especially when it comes during the action scenes where he takes leader commands. It is O’Brien who kind of steals the show though.  As a vigilante youth looking to make his own justice, O’Brien’s acting is on point for representing the “enthusiasm” the modern world breeds today.  As an action hero, you’ll get that candor of bravado, raw emotion, and determination we all like to take point on.  And as the female audience members whispered in the air, “he looks so hot” doing it to.  Their chemistry together is a big driving factor as well, heated to keep tension going and establish a dynamic that keeps you wondering what happens next.

 

DISLIKE: 

 

Rushed:  While the pace is fast, it is also a little too fast to really meld you into the story.  I did feel integrated into the program, but at the same time I had difficulty with connecting to the character development role.  The rushed pace gives you little in terms of backstory and internal though process, that most of the characters feel like robotic shells instead of the people that the book crafted.  This is especially true with the supporting characters, who despite being heavily integrated, are just background characters who say a few things before being lost to the stunts.  Fast can be good, but fast can be so bad.

 

Predictability:  Despite all the hype the trailers promised, there wasn’t much in terms of surprise in this movie.  I agree with my friends, that there isn’t much surprise to this film, merely a long-winded battle between spiteful parties. Where my hopes were dashed, is that an agent of the antagonist’s caliber would pull a few more surprises from his hat to mix up the pursuit and try to fool elite agent Keaton.  Sadly, the adaptation was all about cramming stunts than strategy into the movie, leaving us stranded with a predictable assortment of sequences and scenes. I guess everyone can’t be the Dark Knight’s Joker huh?

 

Mediocre action:  Perhaps I set this bar high, but the trailers promised me high adrenaline stunts and espionage warfare that would leave me on the edge of my seat. Unfortunately, the hype didn’t live up for me.  American Assassin’s fights have some edge in their violence and viciousness, but past that there isn’t any impressive choreography, unique stunts, or even proper length to the fire fights outside of maybe one battle. These short quips fit in well with the design of the movie, but at least make them suspenseful, or high adrenaline to keep me invested in the urgency of the situation.  Most will enjoy the action to this film, happy with the satisfying thrill of killing terrorists, but I like a little more budget in the stunts for me.

 

The VERDICT:

 

American Assassin is a decent movie, low key enough to pull more people in, but also spicy enough to bring that satisfaction to the mercenary loving group.  The prideful presentation of country pride, political espionage, and killing terrorists will get many feeling great, only further vitalized by the acting.  However, the predictable plot, rushed development and mediocre action weren’t up to the challenge of making this movie epic for me. Chances are the book has a lot more meat and content to it, but movie wise you can save this one for a home streaming service and be just as entertained. 

 

My score:

 

Action/Thriller:  6.5

Movie Overall: 5.5

Oh Mother, Where Art Thou?

mother!

 

Horror movies continue to be a popular trend in Hollywood.  IT’s successful launch last weekend, surely inspires the trend to continue, so what the heck put out another one this weekend.   Jennifer Lawrence takes center stage in what looks to be a psychosocial thriller to usher in a new age. Will the artistic styles of Darren Aronofsky be a welcome change to the milieu, or does its odd premise promised in the trailers might dive too far down crazy town to enjoy?  Robbie K happy to fill in some gaps with another review.  Let’s get started.

 

LIKES:

 

Unique vision:  Call me crazy, as many people do, but originality is something difficult to come by these days.  Mother, certainly gets points for standing out, not only in the bizarre presentation and mind messing visuals, but also in the symbolism represented in the story.  Amidst the mystery, drama, and other oddities in the film, one will get their fill of morals in that artistic manor Hollywood loves. One certainly won’t forget this movie, or its…originality.

 

Acting: The chemistry between Javier Bardem and Lawrence is perhaps the biggest selling point of this movie.  Much of the mystery comes in the tension between the two protagonists, Bardem’s deceptive nature and double speak is on point to keep you wondering what is going on.  Lawrence’s curiosity and desperation kept me intrigued as to how far she could go, before breaking and challenging his words.  It’s a relationship dynamic brought out in spades, further leading you down the rabbit hole into the mind meddling to be had. In addition, Lawrence also knows how to sell psychotic with screams, tears, and just enough raspy voice to sell suffering.

 

Prosthetics/makeupGrasping for straws here, but the team did a nice job with the prosthetics at hand.  Injuries that arise look festering as if plagued by infection illustrated in text books. The degrading house seen in the trailers is only further detailed in the shots, black marks and degrading wood in all its glory. And Lawrence’s pregnant belly is flawlessly blended into her normal skin, creating the roll that she could pop at any point.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Slow: Forgive me, but horror movies often move quickly to get to the scares at hand, even though they sacrifice story.  While mother has a story…it moves dirt slow to the point of inducing sleep in the movieThe drama aspect takes more precedence than anything, and unfortunately it is dragged out relentlessly to the point of being annoying.  This snail’s pace doesn’t do much for the quality of the movie, despite building up suspense for something never to come.

 

Not Scary: Aren’t horror films  supposed to be scary, or at least try to get me to jump?  Mother failed on this aspect much of the time, resorting to a few loud noises and people sudden turning a corner as their fright factor.  The tactic grew old and soon became nothing more than a ploy to try to salvage scares.  For me, the creepiest factor was seeing humans devolve into selfish, unthinking cretins makes me fear for the future.  Outside of that though, not much got me on edge for this movie.

 

Editing:  I stated above the pace was slow, but that’s because there was too much unneeded details for most of the movie.  The drama was dragged out, the weird concepts were even longer, and there were a few scenes that I could have lived without and been just fine.  Editing needed to jump in and get rid of some of this fluff, because it didn’t work for me at all given the lack of scares. Yet, their hands were tied by the fact the writer was also the director.

 

The Story:  All the symbolism and artistic presentation doesn’t save the audience from an incoherent story. Mother has a lot of weird subplots in it, many of which held little relevance to the overall plotAdditionally, there are lots of gaps in the plot, unless you like theorizing and reflection on the plot, because that’s the only way to fill in the vague data points.  The writer got so centered on its uniqueness, it didn’t close the story the best I think they could do.  Questions are great for discussion, but I like my films with a little more explanation than what I got in this film.  And when you draw most of the conclusions…you can’t help but say, “Really?  That is what this is?” Which reminds me….

 

The Weirdness:  Mother started out artistically weird, but as the movie hit the halfway point it dove deep into the tortured artist route.  What didn’t make sense, quickly turned into a trippy, random display of negligence and rudeness, mocking the modern human while deterring from the mystery.  Soon rapid time progression and sequence changes led to even more head scratching moments, that continued to shock me further to the point of asking what I was watching. The obscene violence and darker phenomenon only grossed me out, and again seemed pointless in the grand scheme of things.

 

 

THE VERDICT:

 

Mother is artistic and unique, I’ll give it that, and certainly makes bold statements about a lot of cultural quarrels plaguing our world.  But outside of that, it’s not so much a horror movie as a though provoking, psychological thriller.  A slow pace, trippy visulas, and just overall weird atmosphere, does not make for the best horror movie.  So, if you had your hopes up for this one, do yourself a favor and skip this mind bender until it hits home theaters.  Go see IT again instead. 

 

Scores:

 

Drama/Mystery/Horror:  6.5

Movie Overall: 4.0

Fun, Friendly, and Family Make It Feel Like Home

Home again

 

Not in the mood for scares this weekend?  No problem, Hollywood has got you non-horror movie goers covered with another romantic comedy.  This weekend, the legendary Reese Witherspoon stars in another Hallie Meyers-Shyer work, in hopes of tickling your romantic fantasy on a less risqué scale. Robbie K back again with another movie review on Home Again.  Will this film be another mundane addition to her lineup, or do we perhaps have something special with this flick?  Let’s get started to answer that question, shall we?

 

LIKES:

 

Charming/Cute:  Like her works in the past, Meyers-Shyer has done a fantastic job building an adorable world/situation for our characters to play in.  No major tension, violence, or heart-stopping shock moments, exist in this movie.  Instead it is just a simple tale that will pull at your heartstrings while portraying those romantic morals many wish to see.  Such a positive atmosphere certainly offsets the horror atmosphere of the other movie most likely to be in your theater.

 

FunWith that positive atmosphere comes a fun movie, filled with small sequences that are wholesome, innocent, and surprisingly entertaining.  Like a Hallmark Movie on steroids, Home Again takes on plenty of life lessons that are tested against the modern society trends today.  Loyalty, romance, job work, responsibility, and child rearing are just some of the things you’ll get in this movie.  And while tasteful, and certainly predictable, the journey to addressing the obstructions in our character’s life brings about some simplistic laughs, a plethora of smiles, and a few tears for whose hearts are warmed by Meyer-Shyer’s writing.

 

Acting:  Despite what some say, I found the acting okay and well-fitting given the environment of the movie.  Witherspoon herself felt very natural in the role of a single mom looking to find herself again.  She brought great energy to the film, all while keeping herself grounded amidst the chaos of all the relationships.  The kids were an adorable addition, each playing their parts well to offset the romantic drama loaded into this film.  I particular liked the older daughter story and how it integrated a different side of the guys to help solve a different problem.  Speaking of the guys all three “eligible” bachelors were decent in playing their assigned roles, from younger brother bringing peace, to the stud that caught Reese’s eyes.  Of all them, Jon Rudnitsky was my favorite and the most dynamic of the characters being integrated into the film.  A nice blend of comedy and drama, Jon’s character kept the characters well integrated into the mix.

 

The short run time:  A predictable tale like this can get old, fast.  Fortunately, they had the foresight to cut this movie to the shorter end, telling the tale in enough details to get the job done.  A plus on my side, though many may feel robbed of a full story they pine for given her past films.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Rushed elements: Despite the short time being a nice gift, Home Again’s brisk pace leaves some key development scrounging for a rebound.  So much potential to really give more layers to the movie, and perhaps get a few engaging story lines out of the mix would have been the better route. Especially when it came to the challenges at hand.

 

No major obstacle:  Home Again felt like a movie with little struggle, few challenges, and in all honesty a lackluster tale all in all.  It played a little too close to home and left me just milling about as the problems seemed to iron themselves away. With all the complicated relationships crammed into this tale, one would expect a little more resistance from the awkward shuffling this cast played.  Even most Hallmark movies push back more than this film did before they get to that mushy-gushy ending that millions fall in love with.  Perhaps a larger challenge might have made for more engaging characters and a feeling of accomplishment.

 

Characters:  Sure they are charming, cute, admirable, and responsible in many ways, but I have to face the facts… the characters are rather one dimensional.  The actors did well with what they were given, but much of the movie’s puppets were a bit boring to me. Much of my fellow audience members like their physical appearances the most, but this reviewer had difficulties attaching to them because of their stunted growth.  Even Reese’s character seemed a bit dull, caught in a whirlwind of indecision before suddenly flipping sides.  Even worse, the characters (like the plot) were predictable, further dulling the film’s entertainment value.

 

Little Candice Bergen:  When you sell Murphy Brown in the trailers, I hope to get more of the spunky actress.  Not the case, as Bergen is reduced to a few nugget lines of dialog that is lost in the “romantic” tide.  Had she been integrated into the movie, I have no doubt the characters could have grown stronger with her pushing Reese’s character to better herself.

 

The VERDICT:

 

While certainly cute, Home Again was a bit too simplistic for my tastes, missing the potential to be one of the better romantic comedies.  A rushed story with limited character growth, no real obstacles to keep you engaged, and some missed comedic elements doesn’t bode well for this predictable tale.  However, it is still a fun, feel good movie that will do its job of entertaining target audiences with eye candy, simplistic laughs, and an overall warm your cardiac pump moment that will make you feel good at the end of the day.  Not a bad feeling, but not worth the inflated movie ticket price. 

 

My scores:

 

Comedy/Drama/Romance:  7.0

Movie Overall: 5.5

IT’s A Remake That Rocks!

IT

 

Remakes, remakes, remakes.  It seems every time you turn around, Hollywood is out once more make money by simply updating a previous hit.  Often these remakes pale in comparison, but every once in a while, you get a film worthy of social media blow up and hype. This weekend, the highly anticipated, and over-advertised, IT remake crawls out of the studio shadows and attempts to make us face our fears.  Can Hollywood bring King’s famous work into the modern century of film, or will it merely make us scream in fright at horrible it is.  Robbie K back from a two-week hiatus to bring you another review.  Let’s get started!

 

LIKES:

 

Creepy:  Horror movies are supposed to be scary, and fans of my work know I love it when the studio crawls under my skin.  IT has plenty of moments that creeped me out, primarily the use of shadows, sound, and those small details that teased the audience to the scares.  A nice variety of tactics exists in this movie to make you squirm in your seat, all led by the deliciously evil Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) and all his pasty white glory. One may find another of disturbing scenes in this movie, primarily in that cold, seeking stare he loves to use so much.  Yes, It certainly mirrored the atmosphere portrayed in the book.

 

Acting:  Seldom do I say a horror film has good acting, but IT hit a home run with all the actors chosen to bring the characters to life. Instead of the usual airheaded, shallow characters who did nothing but scream and curse, this cast portrayed a much broader emotional role…while still cursing. This group did such a good job that I actually liked and invested energy into the characters, which isn’t usually the case in modern horror cinema. While I can’t give shout outs to each one, I certainly will give props to how much they sold the summer adventure to me, almost like Stranger Things meets the Goonies, with a little more demented atmosphere on top. Of course, the real props go to Skarsgard, whose portrayal as Pennywise is certainly a major part to the horror he brings.  His delivery is incredible, that shadowy, whisper like voice that mimics the element of the movie.  Throw the laugh and creepy body acting, to get the complete demonic nature of Pennywise.

 

The Story:  Stephen King knows how to write a story, and thank goodness, this director knew how to bring it to life.  IT finally proves you can have a scary movie with a plot worth investing in.  This version follows the book very well, managing to develop the characters, lay out the story, and still bring all the creepy parts into beautiful detail and length.  The result is a more engaging movie, increased suspense, and an emotional roller coaster as you live the adventure through these kids. This aspect is my favorite component of the movie and certainly worth the price of admission, including the little revelation at the end…which fans of the book will know.

 

DISLIKES:

 

More Suspense, Less Scares:  IT might be creepy, but I wasn’t as scared as I thought I would be.  I, nor my friends, didn’t jump at all. Despite creepy build-ups and a setting that welcomes scares, IT still has the same predictable foreshadowing that is used a little too often that it dilutes the big revelation.  While it was certainly more suspenseful in regards to the adventure, I don’t foresee myself getting nightmares from this movie.

 

Unbalanced at times:  IT has a lot of things perfectly done in this movie, but there are a few moments where they seemed to drop the ball on their characters.  True, I haven’t read the book in a long time, but I seemed to remember each kid having almost equal involvement in fighting the shapeshifting embodiment of fear.  In this film though, I felt they dropped the characters at time to the backburner, choosing to focus on just three of the main characters.

 

The Computer Effects:  The past two dislikes are minor and just space filling, but the only major dislike was the CGI effects.  When IT conforms into the more realistic entities crafted by makeup and costumes, I would feel grossed out, sickened, and get goosebumps.  However, when the CGI moments came into play, the realism faded away to cheesy effects that were more humorous than terrifying. Sure, the creatures themselves would make anyone wet themselves, but their portrayal In this movie could have been maximized if they stuck to makeup effects.  In addition, some of the convulsing moments were funny to watch, again due to the semi-realistic effects.  While certainly not the worst visual effects, it could have used a little tune up to be honest.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            IT proves that you can make a remake that doesn’t stink and may actually be truer to the book.  While not the scariest movie to haunt the theater, it is fantastically creepy and will certainly get your skin crawling.  In addition, the acting and story are fully developed and bring about a wonderful tale that will keep you hooked into the movie wondering where the end of the adventure would be.  Yes, the computer effects need a little work, but otherwise a solid addition to the horror genre and a worthy trip to the theater.

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/Horror:  9.0

Movie Overall: 8.0

Guards Up For Action Packed Laughs

Bodyguard

 

Summer movie season is starting to putter out, but the movie magic continues to trickle to get a buck out of us.  This weekend tries to muster up some chuckles in the form of not one, but wo comedies that look to be more of the same.  I start my weekend off with The Hitman’s Bodyguard starring the dynamic duo Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson. With dynamic comedy styles and a track list of movies behind them, one can only wonder what these two bring to the big screen this weekend.  Fortunately, I have the privilege of providing that information and giving you some insight.  Let’s get started on another review, shall we?

 

Likes:

 

Soundtrack:  Always good to have a soundtrack with quality music and surprisingly Hitman’s Bodyguard kills it on this aspect.  Much of the music fits in with the scenes, often used as a comedic ploy to compound on the humor presented in the movie.  They even managed to make the action even more exciting with the music, primarily during Black Betty’s epic guitar solo.  One way or another though, you may find yourself tapping your feet to the soundtrack at hand.

 

Action:  When they say action/comedy they mean action comedy alright.  Hitman’s Bodyguard has edge packed into its gun happy, pro-violence run and in a variety of styles that help diversify the plot.  Jackson and Reynolds, or at least their doubles, are involved in a variety of stunts that mix martial arts, weaponry mastery, and insane driving on their journey to testify.  I myself had an adrenaline-fueled blast with the movie, but one fan hollered in approval at the hardcore action contained in this film, despite how illogical, unrealistic, or death defying they were.  And as a note, the camera work is quite stable to pull off an approval from yours truly.

 

Comedy:  The leading component of this film though, is the comedy loaded in to the firearm that is this film.  I found myself laughing for most of the movie at the writing this film had.  The screenplay writers had a field day with the dialogue of this film, stretching their minds to deliver lines worthy of cheap laughs to witty gold.  I certainly enjoyed the entire spectrum in this movie, but really enjoyed the timing of the jokes and the delivery from the two leading actors, especially Jackson, sold the line for full price.  While certainly not the best writing to grace Hollywood, Hitman’s Bodyguard hits some balance that other comedies ignores.

 

Dislikes:

 

Jokes grow stale:  Despite all the antics packed into this pistol, many of the potshots are crafted into the same mold and fired so rapidly that they quickly lose their punch.  Reynolds’ angles are the biggest victim of going stale and becoming more eye rolling/annoying than gut busting.  I have to agree with my fellow reviewers in how the movie is relentlessly throwing jokes at you during the film and it gets tiring after a while, especially when interrupting the more serious moments.

 

Gary Oldman’s character:  Oldman is a master of playing those grittier roles and he didn’t shy away from the communist leader role in this film.  Sadly, the villains have little bite, reduced to threatening facial gestures (amidst unimpressive makeup), a few grandiose speeches, and oh yes, a running scene.  The worst part though has to be the accent and direction Oldman gave the character, which sounded forced, stretched, and uncommitted to the character at hand.  This protagonist was boring and outside Oldman’s normal range, leaving the flunkies to bring the pain.  Had they focused on his lieutenant a little more, we may have had a real ringer.

 

Jackson’s catchphrase:  I know, you get Jackson, you often get a certain phrase alongside him, and Hitman’s Bodyguard is no exception.  This film is relentless with their cursing, focusing on the magical F word and all its iterations as the primary ammunition for comedy.  Jackson in particular goes overboard with these words and while funny at times, gets old after a while.  Salma Hayek’s cameo was a welcome change to the mix, but with the lazy writing and merchandising off this word, I can’t get on board with their overuse.  To quote the movie, Jackson may be destroying the MF phrase, which is hard to do.

 

The Verdict:

 

I had fun with Hitman’s Bodyguard and enjoying the approach this movie took with comedy and action.  It’s go simplistic, unoriginal stunts that are predictable, but it is nicely executed keep your heart pumping.  In addition, the laughs are nicely integrated into the film to go along with the pace of the movie and not diverging down the slow, unnecessary paths that most do.  Still, it’s not the most unique movie to grace the theaters and like many films is unable to obtain that balance of using their gimmicks.  Throw in the over utilization of the F word and well…you see where it gets panned on.  Still, it is an enjoyable ride for a movie venture, but your money many be better spent elsewhere. 

 

My scores:

 

Action/Comedy:  7.5

Movie Overall:  5.0