Ghostbusters (2016) & Poltergeist (2015) Reviews

I guess it’s about time I do two pointless reviews of two pointless remakes (well, I suppose Ghostbusters is a reboot). Here we go! Get ready for some bitching…

Ghostbusters (2016)

Directed by Paul Feig

Based on Ghostbusters by Ivan Reitman, Dan Aykroyd & Harold Ramis

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Charles Dance, Michael K. Williams, Chris Hemsworth

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Following a ghost invasion of Manhattan, paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates, nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann, and subway worker Patty Tolan band together to stop the otherworldly threat.

My Opinion:

To be fair, this isn’t the worst movie ever. I’m a bit of a snob about remakes & reboots & all that, though, so I’m normally a total bitch about them. Especially when they f*^k with my favorites from the Seventies & Eighties!! And the 1984 Ghostbusters is a classic. However, it’s one of those I’d always seen as a classic in my mind but hadn’t actually rewatched it in years. Until a couple of weeks ago. Um… Will I get in trouble for saying it hasn’t aged well? More than anything, I was surprised at how much I disliked Bill Murray’s “sexist in that 1980’s sort of way that we all just accepted as the norm back then” character and the way he hogged so much screen time. But I do like Murray. I’m also not exactly going to complain about some outdated values in the original as I’d be a total hypocrite since my favorite thing about the reboot was Chris Hemsworth being funny & hot. But mostly hot.

Ghostbusters 2016 was okay. I don’t remember a lot of it now as I find most comedy movies to be throwaway, forgettable entertainment. I’m not saying I don’t like comedy films – I just like a very small number of them as I’ve found so few of them to actually be funny (especially nowadays). But comedy is probably the most divisive genre, followed very closely by horror, so you’re never going to please everyone with a movie like this.

Was this movie so hated because it rebooted a beloved classic or because it starred women? It’s a combination of both. I get really angry myself anytime they try to remake/reboot one of my favorites but I also can’t imagine there having been quite as much uproar if this reboot had starred whatever male comedians happen to be big at the moment. Yes, I’m totally out of touch & can’t even name any… Also, don’t forget that things like Saturday Night Live & a lot of other US TV shows that these comedians often come from aren’t shown outside of America. British hubby often has to remind me of this, even though I’ve now not seen SNL in 15 years, so you have to realize that things like the original Ghostbusters were probably viewed differently outside the US where these actors weren’t already loved. Or hated – It can also work in a movie’s favor to have no prior knowledge of an actor’s work. I don’t know what my point is here?! I think it may be that, in this case, it worked slightly in my favor to not know much about these stars’ TV careers.

I’ve of course seen a few Melissa McCarthy & Kristen Wiig films and I wouldn’t call myself a fan of either of them. Wiig is a bit “meh” for me while I hated McCarthy at first but she’s kind of grown on me thanks to times when she’s been a little less “outrageous”. Okay okay – and thanks to her lip sync battle on Jimmy Fallon where she did Colors Of The Wind. My kid is obsessed with that – I’ve probably seen that YouTube video 20 times. That was funny. She may be growing on me but I still won’t be watching shit like Spy, etc. Wiig & McCarthy were both perfectly fine in this film, probably since they were more subdued. I know almost nothing about Kate McKinnon & Leslie Jones and I found them fairly funny as well. Especially McKinnon, who I have seen in some SNL clips online. We do at least get to see some YouTube clips! Oh, and I love McCarthy as Sean Spicer.

Okay, I’m bored with this review. I didn’t hate this movie but it’s not “good” and is still just another completely pointless reboot. I think I’m just annoyed with society in general these days. I love Twitter but some days I go on there and think “What the FUCK is wrong with people?!?!?!” and wish we could go back to a time when we weren’t exposed to so much disgusting hatred on a daily basis. I mean, we knew lots of people were assholes in the Eighties but they didn’t provide us daily written proof. My point is this: this movie is a bit sucky & pointless but the anger was over the top. My further point is this: Bridesmaids has a 6.8 IMDb rating & The Hangover has a 7.8. I don’t like either movie as that sort of silly, gross-out comedy isn’t my type of thing. However, they’re both good examples of that specific genre and are very similar. So why is one a whole point higher than the other?! Hmm. I wonder. Especially as, if I had to say which is the better written film of the two and if I was forced to admit which one made me laugh a tiny bit, Bridesmaids wins hands down in both cases. So… Huh? Therefore, I’m giving Ghostbusters a point more than it deserves because 1) I think it’s been rated slightly too low overall because it starred women so, fuck it, I’ll up it a bit and 2) Chris Hemsworth in glasses is the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen.

My Rating: 6/10

**Also, I freaking loved Freaks And Geeks so guess I can’t hate Paul Feig too much…..

Poltergeist (2015)

Directed by Gil Kenan

Based on Poltergeist by Tobe Hooper & Steven Spielberg

Starring: Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jared Harris, Jane Adams

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A family whose suburban home is haunted by evil forces must come together to rescue their youngest daughter after the apparitions take her captive.

My Opinion:

These were meant to be two quickie reviews but then I rambled on about Ghostbusters for ages so I’ll keep this quick: Poltergeist (2015) just plain sucks. No, it probably doesn’t help that I love the original Poltergeist (more than the original Ghostbusters) but, holy shit – let’s just take an absolute horror classic and water it down and make it boring as shit and just plain suck the fucking soul out of it!

This movie adds absolutely nothing new to the original. It’s just another standard, run-of-the-mill, predictable & forgettable PG-13 horror. And with a fucking weird final scene that I think is meant to be funny but feels totally tacked on & out of place. Just…. No. NO. Just stop. Just stop, Hollywood. Come up with some original fucking ideas. AND ALL OF US! STOP! We need to stop encouraging this shit. They keep making this shit because it makes money. We’re to blame! Oh, that’s right – Society sucks now. Fuck it! We deserve nothing better than Poltergeist (2015). Hell, it’s better than we deserve. We deserve to be forced to watch Battlefield Earth with our eyes propped open Clockwork-Orange-style until the day we all finally destroy each other.

My Rating: 4/10

**I’ve never actually seen Battlefield Earth. Also, if you want to see a great Sam Rockwell in something good, watch The Way Way Back. NOT THAT ANY OF US DESERVE IT!

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Smurfs: The Lost Village (2017) Review

Smurfs: The Lost Village (2017)

Directed by Kelly Asbury

Based on The Smurfs by Peyo

Starring: Demi Lovato, Rainn Wilson, Joe Manganiello, Jack McBrayer, Danny Pudi, Michelle Rodriguez, Ellie Kemper, Ariel Winter, Meghan Trainor, Jake Johnson, Mandy Patinkin, Julia Roberts

Production company: Sony Pictures Animation

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
In this fully animated, all-new take on the Smurfs, a mysterious map sets Smurfette and her friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on an exciting race through the Forbidden Forest leading to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history.

My Opinion:

I don’t have the energy to “review” this. I suppose Smurfs: The Lost Village isn’t as bad as those godawful live action movies they did with Doogie Howser but that’s not saying much. I know I’m probably too picky on kids’ movies but it’s hard not to be when Pixar & Disney have proven that it is actually possible to make really good movies that people of all ages enjoy. This movie has that “straight to video” feel and it’s one that parents will stick on for their kids to watch while they go & do housework or something. So I suppose that’s one positive thing about it? They should stick that on the cover when it comes out on DVD! “Smurfs: The Lost Village is a good ‘keep the kids entertained while you do housework’ movie.” – Cinema Parrot Disco.

I suppose I’m also a little extra picky since I adored the Smurfs cartoon as a kid in the Eighties so can’t help but compare. At least they didn’t mess with the look of the Smurfs too much but it unfortunately didn’t work as well as The Peanuts Movie, which I really enjoyed. To be fair, this movie is at least a step in the right direction and I don’t think it does any damage to the Smurfs legacy (unlike the horrible live action ones). Actually, I’m not entirely sure why this movie doesn’t quite work. It could’ve been worse but a dull story and some pretty bad casting of voice actors who didn’t suit the characters made for an hour & a half that felt very long in our uncomfortable cinema seats. I hated Gargamel – sorry Rainn Wilson! And Jack McBrayer as Clumsy Smurf probably isn’t to everyone’s taste… His voice can get highly irritating after an hour & a half (or two minutes). I guess Demi Lovato was fine as Smurfette since I didn’t really give her voice any thought and didn’t know until the end credits who had played her. There’s some bland & totally forgettable pop music in the movie, which always annoys me in kids’ films. Oh – except for Blue (Da Ba Dee) by Eiffel 65, which is a thoroughly embarrassing guilty pleasure of mine. Pure cheese! But less embarrassing than this movie.

Okay – a slight spoiler now (if you care). But as my kid pointed out during the movie, she knew all about the lost village already thanks to the toys that have been released (my kid likes to complain about SPOILERS! It’s adorable). The totally predictable & not at all surprising mystery of the lost village is that it’s all girl Smurfs. So Smurfette is finally not the only female Smurf. I’d have never guessed! I only bring it up because it felt like that all female community on The Walking Dead, giving me & hubby the opportunity to make Negan jokes to each other throughout the film to help ease our boredom. Maybe we can make Smurfs jokes to ease our boredom while watching The Walking Dead next season (since that show SUCKS lately – why do we keep watching?!). I think this “review” is finished. I’m going to go do some housework.

My Rating: 4.5/10

The DUFF & The Scorch Trials Movie Reviews 

Welcome to my “Young Adult Movie Adaptation Review Special“! I read one of these books (the movie was awful) and didn’t read the other book (the movie was surprisingly fun). Let’s see which was which…

The DUFF (2015)

Directed by Ari Sandel

Based on The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Starring: Mae Whitman, Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, Nick Eversman, Skyler Samuels, Bianca A. Santos

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A high school senior instigates a social pecking order revolution after finding out that she has been labeled the DUFF – Designated Ugly Fat Friend – by her prettier, more popular counterparts.

My Opinion:

Even at my advanced age, I still enjoy a good teen comedy. Obviously, nothing will ever compare to my 80’s John Hughes classics but there have been a couple post-1989 ones that haven’t been too bad (Clueless, American Pie, etc). But the majority are bad and full of hateful teens (like in stuff such as Project X and, sadly, Dope – a movie I was hoping to love). However, The DUFF is easily one of the better ones I’ve seen from this genre in a long time & I really enjoyed it.

Mae Whitman (the voice of Tinker Bell in all those Tinker Bell movies! You’ll know them well if you have a daughter 😉 ) plays the DUFF, aka the “Designated Ugly Fat Friend”. I liked her in the fantastic The Perks Of Being A Wallflower and she’s a lot of fun in this & totally relatable as a “real world girl”. I hate saying that as it sounds so rude but, yeah – unlike the girls in all other Hollywood movies, she looks like a normal person. Hollywood movie girls are too ridiculously attractive and it sets a bad example (especially in teen movies).

Whitman’s two best friends in this are of the unrealistic ridiculously attractive variety but I suppose they were trying to make her look less attractive in comparison. But, anyway! That’s not entirely relevant as this movie isn’t really trying to make as big of a statement on superficiality as I was expecting. Whitman’s character is, at first, entirely content with how she looks & dresses – she only changes when someone calls her a “DUFF”. So I guess the main message is more about how we treat people but there’s a bit of a moral about accepting yourself the way you are.

Anyway… Forget I said all that! This isn’t some annoying teen movie that thinks it has an important message or something – it’s just a lighthearted comedy & actually quite funny compared to a lot of current teen flicks. The humor is a tad on the raunchy side (fine by me) so this is probably aimed more at the mid to late-teen age range. Although certainly not at the same level as something like Heathers (nothing is!), The DUFF is smart & sassy like a lot of the 80’s teen classics. Hopefully more teen movies go in the same direction as this one since I’ll probably still be watching this genre when I’m 90.

My Rating: 7/10

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015)

Directed by Wes Ball

Based on The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Giancarlo Esposito, Aidan Gillen, Ki Hong Lee, Barry Pepper, Lili Taylor, Patricia Clarkson

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot of The Scorch Trials takes place immediately after the previous installment, with Thomas (O’Brien) and his fellow Gladers battling the powerful World Catastrophe Killzone Department (W.C.K.D., or WICKED), while facing the perils of the Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with dangerous obstacles.

My Opinion:

WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL?!?!?! I’m so damn confused by this movie! I’ve read The Maze Runner trilogy (I did a recap & review of the final book HERE last week) and, although I have some major issues with it and it often annoyed the hell out of me, I thought it was a decent enough story overall. I read the books after seeing the first film, which I found quite enjoyable (much more enjoyable than the books, actually). So I finally watched The Scorch Trials after finishing the books. IT BARELY EVEN RESEMBLES THE BOOK!!! ??? Why ???

I would assume that books can be quite hard to adapt into films, especially long books that must be reduced to a roughly two-hour running time. The Scorch Trials isn’t a long book, however. Plus, the first movie was faithful to the book so it’s even more confusing that they’ve decided to take things in such a different direction in the sequel. I’m not overly bothered about a 100% faithful adaptation as I know things sometimes need slight changing or need to be left out due to running time. As long as there are no major changes that completely mess with the storyline, characters’ intentions/personalities, or the overall themes, I’m fine with them.

Well, The Scorch Trials has major changes. No, wait – that’s not exactly right as you can’t even really call them changes… It has completely new stuff added in. It’s so drastically different that it feels like the screenwriter(s) didn’t even read the book & instead based the story on its back cover synopsis or on some weird ass “Chinese whispers” version of the story.

You know what? I don’t care. I’m not going to waste my time reviewing this. It lost my interest after it started going so completely off the rails that I went & did other things around the house while it kept playing in the background. I’m not sure what the hell was going on. After this movie, I’m not going to bother with the next one since I sure as shit can’t be bothered to re-watch this one to figure out what the hell was going on. BAH! What a stupid waste of time. Either be faithful to a book or, if that fails, don’t follow it AT ALL & just steal the name (like World War Z). At least I knew beforehand with that one that they ignored the book….

My Rating: 4.5/10 (Not lower than that since I guess I still like the characters and think Dylan O’Brien & Thomas Brodie-Sangster are good in these films)

Housebound (2014) Review

Welcome to Day Two of horror comedies from New Zealand! There are more of these than I realized – I could’ve done a whole week of this genre. But, nah – I’m not that organized so I’m only doing three days. Yesterday I reblogged What We Do In The Shadows & tomorrow I’ll be looking at Deathgasm. Today let’s talk about Housebound

Housebound (2014)

Directed & Written by Gerard Johnstone

Starring: Morgana O’Reilly, Rima Te Wiata, Glen-Paul Waru

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A young woman is forced to return to her childhood home after being placed under house arrest where she suspects that something evil may be lurking in the house.

My Opinion:

This is one of those movies, like Blue Ruin, that I hadn’t heard of until a bunch of bloggers started raving over it after seeing it on Netflix (or wherever it popped up, meaning everyone saw it at the same time). Hmm. I love you guys! Seriously. I know I’m a bit of a nerd & don’t really fit in with people sometimes due to my not-exactly-mainstream taste in films so I often take the opinions of movie bloggers more seriously than I would “real life people” when it comes to movies. But, sometimes, y’all are NUTS! Lol! Oh well – at least I didn’t hate Housebound as much as I did Blue Ruin. 😉


I looked like all of these people while sitting through this movie. 

Don’t worry – I’ll try to not totally trash this movie. I saw this ages ago now & have to say it’s grown on me a tiny bit. I can even honestly understand why some people really liked this one. It just didn’t work for me, mainly, because 1) The main girl is hateful and 2) I don’t think it really fulfills the requirements to be called a comedy (since it isn’t very funny) or a horror (since it isn’t scary – just briefly gory at the very end after an hour & a half of nothing happening). Okay, I guess that’s three things…. 3) Nothing happens until the last 20 minutes or so! It was a hell of a slog getting through this one – it was actually even worse than Blue Ruin for feeling like it would never end.


That’s the main girl. She gives that same sort of hateful look throughout the entire film.

Oh yeah – I wasn’t going to trash this. I’ll give it this: the movie does redeem itself slightly at the end. Besides the hateful girl, I even liked most of the characters! It’s hard to remain totally spoiler free here but there’s a character who shows up in the last 20 minutes or so who’s easily the best & most interesting thing about Housebound. It would’ve been nice to not sit through the first hour & a half in order to finally get to that, though.


There’s the main girl’s mom. She was pretty cool, actually. And somewhat funny. I guess.

To be a bit spoiler-y again, the movie I heard this compared to after seeing it was Wes Craven’s The People Under The Stairs. Yep, that’s very accurate. So if you love that one, you might want to give this one a shot. I have to say that I never really appreciated Craven’s film but Housebound made me appreciate it more & I now want to re-watch it. As borderline “bad” as The People Under The Stairs was, it was still better & more original than Housebound. I’m going to again sound old but far too many films just rehash old ideas nowadays without adding anything new or entertaining. I’m sick of it. I realize this happened back in my day as well & Craven’s film may also have been ripping something off for all I know but it’s ridiculous how unoriginal everything is now. Maybe people just felt like they were seeing something new & different with Housebound? I don’t know – I think I’m just a grumpy old person who has watched & read way too many things to ever find anything much of a surprise anymore. I’m old & bitter. Get off my damn lawn! You crazy kids. 😉


A creepy teddy bear that really wasn’t very creepy. I think he may have been meant to fulfill the “comedy” bit of this horror comedy.

Summary:

I apologize to those of you who did love this movie! I really can understand the appeal as the overall story is halfway decent and there are some fun & quirky characters. Housebound just didn’t work for me. I found it extremely slow & uninteresting until the very end when things do finally pick up. As for the humor, I admit I’m very picky when it comes to comedy and find very few movies funny. People have such different comedic taste, though, so I can again understand this film’s humor working for some but not for others. However, I don’t think it’s a case of not understanding another country’s humor as I found What We Do In The Shadows to be genuinely funny & clever. Oh well. To each their own! Hopefully I liked Deathgasm more than this one…. You’ll find out tomorrow!

My Rating: 4.5/10


The best character in the film…

**If you’re in the mood for more of my complaining, you can read my recent review of the book The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins HERE. I read it in anticipation of going to the Emily Blunt film that’s out now but I hated the book so much that I think I’ll just wait for Netflix. Have any of you seen the movie? What did you think?

Mama (2013) Review

Mama (2013)

Directed by Andrés Muschietti

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nélisse, Daniel Kash, Javier Botet, Jane Moffat

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film deals with the story of two young girls abandoned in a forest cabin, fostered by an unknown entity that they fondly call “Mama”, which eventually follows them to their new suburban home after their uncle retrieves them.

My Opinion:

Here we are with my first horror movie review for the month of October! You know I’ve clearly watched a load of shit this year if I’m starting with stupid Mama. Well, no one visits this blog on a Friday so let’s get this crappy movie out of the way first, shall we? 🙂

Why do 99.98% of modern horror movies suck? And why do I continue to watch them? I suppose I still live in the hope that one will at least be entertaining even if they’re not exactly “good”. Okay, there are two fairly recent ones that I actually loved: The Babadook & It Follows. But that almost makes things worse! Now I’ll have high expectations! But you know they’ll go back to pumping out nothing but shit like Mama & Insidious 8.

I suppose I have only myself to blame as plenty of bloggers trashed Mama before I saw it. Although, reading about this movie online, it got praised somewhat by critics. What?? Maybe us bloggers are becoming too picky or something. Anyway, I love a good supernatural story. And feral children… Feral children (and Satanic children, too) are the BEST! That’s why I love stuff like The Brood & The Omen. Well, the two girls in Mama are the sweetest feral children ever – I probably felt too protective of them since they were totally cute & weren’t psychotic little nutjobs. I also liked, being a mother & all that, the thought of an “entity” protecting the girls. But, dammit, did we have to see “Mama” SO DAMN MUCH?! Why do so many modern horror films do this? I’m far more scared by the things we don’t see or the things we only glimpse. How am I supposed to be scared of this?

What the hell is that shit? Is that seriously what scares audiences nowadays? You know, I suppose the actual story in Mama wasn’t all that bad. It’s a shame they felt the need to show her so much – I’d probably give this a halfway decent rating if it wasn’t for that. And, I was too lazy to look into it but is this one of those cases where a famous star made a crappy movie that didn’t get a full release but then, once they were famous, it did? If not, then what the hell was Jessica Chastain doing in this? I actually find her pretty seriously overrated but she can clearly get better work than this now (other than InterstellarMama is probably a better horror film than Insterstellar is a sci-fi film. no, seriously – I have far higher standards for sci-fi than for horror). At least we had hunky Nikolaj Coster-Waldau to look at in Mama… As TWINS!

I actually forgot he was twins in this until Laura reminded me in our review chat for Headhunters (HERE), which is pretty pathetic as I only watched this a couple of months ago. I have such an excellent memory for great or really horrible movies & such a shitty memory for bland crap like this. Yeah, I prefer a truly horrible movie to something like this one as at least horrible movies are fun to take the piss out of & bitch about with you guys. Mama was just “So what?”. And I don’t want to get into spoiler territory too much in case anyone still wants to watch this but I hated the ending & I hated that there wasn’t “more” to the entity. There’s a story here that actually could have made for a more complex supernatural “villain” but that doesn’t really happen – it’s just good vs evil. Apparently this was a short film first? Well, I wonder what that’s like because the simple story seems like it would be better as a short film.


(Btw, Jessica Chastain is soooo not believable as some “rock chick” in this)

You know what? Screw all this. My hubby told me the other day that my reviews are no fun lately (he may have used the word “suck”) because it’s obvious that I can’t be bothered. Ha! Nice! I don’t care what he says – he went to see The Martian without me yesterday. How rude!

Anyway, I’ve never once claimed to be some kind of writer but he’s right that I can’t be bothered lately due to being too busy but, also, because I’ve watched too much stuff like Mama over the past few months. I seriously need to see a movie that gets me all excited about putting a post together again instead of it feeling like a chore (something like, hmm… The Martian hopefully?!). Mama was a chore. It was a chore to watch & a chore to think of anything to say about it for a post.

Summary:

I know this review was really negative but I’ve definitely seen worse horror movies than Mama. The problem is just that I’ve seen this same sort of mediocre “supernatural horror” movie over & over again. Here’s the plot: There’s an evil entity, no one believes it’s real, someone does some investigating & discovers the entity’s tragic history, evil entity must then be defeated using the knowledge gained during that investigating that I mentioned. How original – I’ve never seen that story before!

I’ll end on a positive: Mama is an okay “stuck on the couch while off work because you’re sick” movie. That’s how I saw it (along with three others in the same day). Don’t make a big thing of it if you watch it. Like, don’t make it your big date night movie or something – you’ll be pretty disappointed. It’s at least a good movie to watch while throwing up in a bucket!

My Rating: 4.5/10

Non-Stop, The Spectacular Now & Used Cars Movie Reviews

Hope you all had a nice weekend! I have three more mini-reviews for you. This time we have a movie I was expecting to love but didnt, one I expected to like but hated, and one big ‘ol MEH movie. Let’s begin…

Non-Stop (2014)

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra

Starring: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy, Michelle Dockery, Nate Parker, Jason Butler Harner, Anson Mount

My Opinion:

This is the big ‘ol pile of MEH. I always fall behind on reviewing movies I watch at home but tend to keep on top of the ones I actually go to see. Well, I went to this one in the cinema (theatER!) last year but couldn’t summon up enough enthusiasm to review it. Liam Neeson is doing his Taken role again. I don’t know how he ended up being so typecast but I’m not too bothered as he was never exactly a favorite of mine anyway. At least that annoying Maggie Grace isn’t in this.

The plot is… okay, I guess, but it’s not helped by some lame acting and some laughably predictable moments. I mean, this is the basic plot on Wikipedia: Neeson is a U.S. Air Marshal on a flight to London when he “receives text messages on his secure phone stating that someone on the plane will die every 20 minutes unless $150 million is transferred into a specific bank account.” That actually sounds quite exciting, doesnt it?! It does! That’s why I went to it even though I can live without most popcorn action movies. I remember I was in the mood for a braindead action movie when I went to this, though, so I had some fun with it despite it being pretty damn ridiculous.

I was reminded when getting that plot synopsis that Neeson plays an alcoholic Air Marshal. Because he’s TROUBLED & has ISSUES to overcome, people! This is why the passengers aren’t sure if they can trust him when he starts acting like a raving lunatic! lol. I kind of forgot just how silly this one was. I didn’t totally hate it or anything. If you want a simple action movie where you won’t have to think & you like Liam Neeson being all Liam Neeson-y, give this a watch in your comfy living room.

My Rating: 5.5/10

The Spectacular Now (2013)

Directed by James Ponsoldt

Based on The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp

Starring: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kyle Chandler

My Opinion:

I was desperate to see this movie when I heard about it but then it never came out in the UK and, much to my annoyance, I wasn’t able to see it for ages. All I kept hearing was that it was this generation’s Say Anything. Naturally, being my age, I adore Say Anything so I was like “I must see this Spectacular Now movie!!!”.

Umm… I guess I can see the Say Anything comparisons. If Lloyd Dobler (the sweetest, most perfect boyfriend in the history of film) had instead been a selfish, alcoholic prick. Yeah… the only thing this movie has in common with Say Anything is a role-reversal of the one-sided love story (Diane Court clearly doesn’t love you, Lloyd. But every female my age does, at least!). 😉

I suppose my expectations were too high for this movie after the Say Anything comparisons. I’ve not read the (I’m assuming YA) book this is based on – maybe it does a better job with Miles Teller’s character? I guess calling him a “prick” wasn’t totally fair – his character is just aimless & he has issues that lead to him drinking too much but he’s not exactly outright horrible to Shailene Woodley’s character. Wait, no – he really is kind of a prick. He clearly likes her but she’s crazy about him and he’s too self-absorbed to care about any negative impact his actions may have on her. It felt like he was just using her so it was very hard to like him. I think I just expected to like & care about the characters a bit more. This may be partly down to Teller, who I just can’t make myself like (even after Whiplash).

Woodley was good – this is the type of role that suits her way more than the one in Divergent. But her character is such a pushover, which was a little disappointing. I liked seeing Brie Larson, who I really liked in 21 Jump Street & Short Term 12, in a small role plus Jennifer Jason Leigh (eXistenZ!). But, if this is the current generation’s definition of a love story, then young people need to lighten up & watch a proper romance film. The Spectacular Now was far too dramatic and, unlike Say Anything, had no fun moments despite the heartache. On its own, not being compared to other movies, it’s certainly not a bad film. Don’t let my disappointment keep you from watching it if you’re interested – I know I just hyped it up in my mind too much. Just remember that it’s very much a “drama” if you decide to watch it and that you may not like Teller’s character.

My Rating: 6.5/10

IMG_0574

Used Cars (1980)

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Starring: Kurt Russell, Jack Warden, Gerrit Graham, Deborah Harmon

This was on Netflix so I gave it a watch since I like Kurt Russell, Robert Zemeckis, and, of course, the Eighties. I figured it couldn’t go wrong with those three things and maybe I’d get a few little laughs out of it. I hated it! I know that movies from my beloved decade haven’t all aged well and some can contain jokes that are seen as un-PC today. That sort of thing doesn’t usually bother me as I grew up with it but this movie just went a little too far with the cruel humor and outdated sexism.

First of all, (this isn’t really a spoiler as it’s obvious this is what’s going to happen) the only character who doesn’t come across as a selfish jerk (Jack Warden) dies and it turns a bit into Weekend At Bernie’s with some of the antics with this poor guy’s dead body (never mind the fact that he was essentially MURDERED for his crappy little car dealership. by his twin brother, no less!). I know death can occasionally be humorous in certain black comedies (Heathers rules) but this one didn’t sit right with me in a silly 80’s comedy. Kurt Russell & Gerrit Graham, who work for this guy and his dealership, do show a little sorrow but their main goal is to save their own jobs at whatever cost. It’s hard to care about them at first as they’re very hard to like but the movie redeems itself a tiny bit when the only female character who isn’t there just to be a pair of tits shows up (more about her later) but they’re cruel & do use her at first (luckily, they instead work with her by the end – the second half of this movie is much better than the first).

As for the women in Used Cars, they were treated no better than Warden’s dead body. I’m not a girl who’s going to demand that women be in every movie ever (two of my favorite movies, The Shawshank Redemption & Stand By Me, don’t even have any women in them) but I expect female characters to be treated with the same respect as the male characters. Deborah Harmon is the only important female character and she’s fine but she’s also seen as quite helpless & needing Kurt Russell to come to the rescue since she can’t run a car dealership on her own (what do women know about cars?! actually, I admit that I know nothing about cars). I’m glad they work with her, though, (after cruelly lying to her about something important and of course sleeping with her) and as I said, the movie redeems itself a little in the second half. 

Hey – can I just go off topic & mention that I immediately recognized Deborah Harmon from the TV show Just The Ten Of Us? Am I the only one in the world who watched that short-lived Growing Pains spin-off?? I loved it! It had THREE Nightmare On Elm Street girls in it (THE Heather Langenkamp wanting to be a nun, the girl who turns into a bug, and “girl on bus” in Nightmare 2 – Yes, I discovered the “girl on bus” connection years later when the Internet came around). But back to this shitty Used Cars movie…

I know guys like boobs and there are loads of naked women in movies. I didn’t get that annoyed at the lead male characters in this sleeping around and using strippers to sell their cars. However, I found the very looooong scene where the male stars predictably expose a woman to a TV audience (without her approval) then actually zoom in on her breasts to be a step too far. And it went on for what felt like forever while she did nothing but scream like an idiot. Then, to top it all off, Graham’s character ends it by actually “honking” her boob. Seriously. He may have even made a honking sound effect (I’d check to verify but can’t be bothered). Umm. No. Unless you’re in a relationship with us, never ever “honk” our boobs. Plus Harmon’s character’s boobs get groped by a stranger for no apparent reason toward the end of the film. WTF? Gotta love the 1980s, I guess… I suppose I was more offended than I would have been watching something like Porky’s as you expect that sort of thing from that decade’s sex comedies and I didn’t realize beforehand that Used Cars would be like that.

Oops – this mini-review ended up being fairly long. I do go on a bit when I’m annoyed! Only watch this if you really love movies from the Eighties and you get excited by seeing people like Wendie Jo Sperber in a very small role. Yay! Wendie Jo Sperber! Luckily she went on to be in the much much much (much) better Zemeckis film Back To The Future. That movie is perfection – what the hell happened with Used Cars?! Ugh.

My Rating: 4.5/10 (it gets an extra half a point for Wendie Jo)

Drugstore Cowboy, At Close Range & Slacker Movie Reviews

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Here are three more mini-reviews of movies I don’t have enough to say about to fill a full review for each! Sound exciting? Two were okay but one totally sucked…

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Drugstore Cowboy (1989)

Directed by Gus Van Sant & Based on Drugstore Cowboy by James Fogle

Starring: Matt Dillon, Kelly Lynch, James Remar, James LeGros, Heather Graham, William Burroughs

My Opinion:

It seems like I’ve watched quite a few movies about people who are addicted to drugs but they’re never exactly favorites of mine. It’s certainly something I can’t relate to as I’m afraid I’m going to OD if I take one little wussy aspirin for a headache. The last drug movie I watched was The Basketball Diaries, which was also based on the real-life drug addiction of the story’s author. That movie was a little disappointing but had a good performance from Leonardo DiCaprio. I maybe liked it slightly more than this but Drugstore Cowboy is probably a bit better as a film.

The problem with these drug movies is that, even though they show the terrible effects that drugs have on people, I think they still manage to glamorize drug addiction to a certain degree. Diaries is more guilty of that than Cowboy – I think Drugstore Cowboy tells a more straightforward story without trying to appear too “cool”. However, it also makes for a slightly more boring film.

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I’ve never really liked Matt Dillon with his gormless face & Bert from Sesame Street eyebrows but I guess he’s fine in this (he’s just not on a Leonardo DiCaprio level acting-wise). Kelly Lynch was pretty good as Dillon’s bossy, horny girlfriend (or I think she may have been his wife?). I haven’t really seen Lynch in many films but all I ever think of is how Bill Murray calls her husband to tell him that Kelly is having sex with Patrick Swayze anytime Road House is playing on TV (I really need to watch that movie – it looks so gloriously bad). I was surprised to see a very young Heather Graham looking all cute like she did in License To Drive. That’s the thing with these Hollywood drug movies – you’d think only really attractive people become addicted to drugs.

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Overall, I liked Drugstore Cowboy okay but I don’t think it’s going to change anyone’s life. It’s not as hard-hitting as some of the other drug addiction films that are out there but it does a decent job telling the story of a group of people who rob drugstores to feed their addiction and what a pointless existence they’re living.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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At Close Range (1986)

Directed by James Foley

Starring: Sean Penn, Christopher Walken, Mary Stuart Masterson, Crispin Glover, Tracey Walter, Christopher Penn, Kiefer Sutherland

My Opinion:

At Close Range is probably the best movie of these three but I really had no idea how mean and violent it was going to be. All I really knew of the movie was what I saw in the clips of that Madonna video Live To Tell. It’s an Eighties movie that I missed out on at the time but always kind of wanted to see (probably because of that video). When it appeared on Netflix, I decided to watch it after being reminded that Mary Stuart Masterson is in it (and Crispin Glover! he’s his usual weird, Crispin Glover self in this). Oh yeah – and Christopher Penn! I’ve always liked him more than grumpy Sean.

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I didn’t know that this movie was based on the true story of a notorious crime family in Pennsylvania in the 1960s & 70s. There’s very little information on the real life criminals on Wikipedia so I can’t say how accurate the movie is but it’s a very gritty film and Walken is truly evil in this role. It was strange to see Walken playing a bad guy with absolutely no over-the-top acting or sick sense of humor like in movies such as Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead. I absolutely HATED this guy (as you’re meant to) so I guess you can say that Walken played the role really well despite a very distracting hairstyle.

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At Close Range follows Sean Penn’s character and his estranged criminal father, played by Walken, who suddenly appears back in his son’s life and involves him in the family’s crime ring with very tragic consequences. Looking up the true story, I saw just how young these kids were when all this occurred (Penn’s character, his brother, his friends & his 15-year-old girlfriend) and I found it quite heartbreaking to see how this group of adult criminals were able to so easily use these young kids, some of them their own family, with absolutely no remorse.

At Close Range was a much darker movie than I was expecting for some reason (maybe because of that Madonna video) but I suppose it was a pretty good film. I’m just not normally a fan of true crime films as I find them too upsetting and the treatment of Penn’s & Masterson’s characters was especially difficult to watch. I’d recommend this if it sounds like your type of movie but be prepared to hate Walken’s character and to possibly feel a little angry when it finishes.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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Slacker (1991)

Directed & Written by Richard Linklater

Starring: Richard Linklater, Kim Krizan, Mark James, Stella Weir, John Slate, Louis Mackey, Teresa Taylor

My Opinion:

I love Richard Linklater. I really do. Dazed And Confused is a favorite movie of mine and I really liked Boyhood even though a lot of people hated it. Bernie was pretty damn good as well, I love the relationship in the Before films, and School Of Rock is a huge guilty pleasure of mine (although I shouldn’t feel guilty about it – it’s great! Jack Black haters be GONE!). So…. I decided it was about time I check out Linklater’s feature length debut Slacker.

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Slacker has a high IMDB rating for an older film (7.1/10). I knew it was loads of “talking” like most of his films, which I don’t mind. Dazed And Confused and the Before films are loads of talking. The difference is that those films have characters we give a shit about and a f*%king STORY instead of a bunch of random idiots telling stupid, boring stories that have absolutely no connection to each other.

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I’m sorry to anyone who is a fan of this one but I just do NOT get the appeal. It would be okay if the pointless talking was funny and entertaining like it was in Dazed And Confused but none of it is funny or entertaining. Scratch that – the chick in the photo above (and the poster) is mildly (emphasis on mildly) entertaining as she discusses buying a Madonna pap smear (hey – a Madonna connection to my previous review!). I guess that’s why that character ended up on the poster as she’s the only one I can even remember other than Linklater himself, who starts off the string of pointless talking in the very first scene.

I guess the one good thing about Slacker is that it was the start of Linklater’s career. I’m still a fan of his as he went on to make much (much!) better films than this one but Slacker is a huge waste of time for anyone who isn’t a slacker and has better things to do with their time.

My Rating: 4.5/10

Into The Woods (2014) Review

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Into The Woods (2014)

Directed by Rob Marshall

Based on Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim & James Lapine

Starring:
Meryl Streep
Emily Blunt
James Corden
Anna Kendrick
Chris Pine
Tracey Ullman
Christine Baranski
Johnny Depp

Running time: 124 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales of “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Cinderella”, “Jack and the Beanstalk”, and “Rapunzel”, the film is a fantasy genre crossover centered on a childless couple, who set out to end a curse placed on them by a vengeful witch. Ultimately though, the characters are forced to rectify the consequences of their actions.

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My Opinion:

I hated Into The Woods. I don’t want to do one of my bitchy reviews, though, so I’ll keep this short because I don’t need some crazy person telling me I’m on drugs for hating something (this happened recently on my review of Oz The Great And Powerful – gotta love those trolls). 😉

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I know nothing whatsoever of the Into The Woods musical. I didn’t know the story in the slightest or any of the songs before watching the movie. And, after seeing the movie, I STILL don’t know any of the songs. Why? Because they’re boring! Usually you get at least one song stuck in your head after a musical. Honestly – I couldn’t tell you how even one of them goes now & I only saw this two days ago. At least a couple of the songs in Les Misérables were catchy even if I just wanted that damn movie to end (and for Anne Hathaway’s character to just shut up and die).

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Speaking of just wanting a movie to end, I felt that way through the second half of Into The Woods. It’s just over 2 hours long but it really did feel like I’d been sitting there twice that long. For anyone who knows the story, there’s an “end” about three quarters of the way through. I was SO happy it seemed to be ending. But then it just went on. And on. And on. Then, when it finally ended, I didn’t feel like we actually got a good resolution for anyone. The story seemed to have no clear point. What was the “moral” of the whole thing?? Some people learned their lessons (sort of) and some didn’t. So many loose ends were left. I just felt like the whole story was messy, confusing and, well, quite stupid. THAT’S the best they could do with a bunch of Grimms’ fairy tales?! It’s pretty bad when Shrek kicks your sorry fairy tale ass and is far more clever (and I’m not really a fan of Shrek – I think those movies are highly overrated).

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Did I say this would be short & non-bitchy? Damn. Well, a few things weren’t bad. James Corden, Anna Kendrick & especially Emily Blunt were all pretty good & felt right for their roles. They almost made up for how much Johnny Depp & Chris Pine sucked, I suppose. Meryl Streep was fine, but, come on – an Oscar nomination for THAT? What a joke. (I’m writing this before the Oscars – hopefully she didn’t win). I like her, though – it’s just funny how the Academy feels the need to nominate her every year for whatever she happened to be in. God I hated that Little Red Riding Hood bitch! And Jack (of Beanstalk fame) felt about as pointless as Little Red Riding Hood’s character. The Big Bad Wolf pedophile thing went a little too far over the line and, seriously – who were we meant to actually care about in this movie as the characters are all pretty hateful? I guess the baker & his wife, which makes the ending even more ridiculous. Shit – this was meant to be the paragraph where I wasn’t bitchy. I suppose the costumes were nice? What we could see of them, at least, as it’s so dark in those stupid woods.

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Summary:

Unlike Into The Woods, I know it’s time to finish as I’m just going on & on in the same way the film did. I didn’t go into this with high or low expectations so it can’t be blamed on that and I’m also not anti-musical as there are plenty that I do like. However, when it’s a musical I do expect at least a couple good songs that I’ll be humming afterwards. Being a movie fan first, though, I’d have at least liked a story & characters that I cared about since the songs were so bland. I wasn’t expecting to not like either element of Into The Woods.

My Rating: 4.5/10

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Oculus (2013) Review

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Oculus (2013)

Directed by Mike Flanagan

Starring:
Karen Gillan
Brenton Thwaites
Rory Cochrane
Katee Sackhoff

Running time: 103 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Oculus is a 2013 American psychological horror film starring Karen Gillan as a young woman who is convinced that an antique mirror is responsible for the death and misfortune her family has suffered. The film is based upon an earlier short film by Flanagan, Oculus: Chapter 3 – The Man with the Plan.

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My Opinion:

I’ll keep this review short: I was disappointed with Oculus. Then again, I’ve been disappointed with the majority of horror films since about 1988 to present day (I literally just looked up Nightmare On Elm Street 3 to see what year it was. 1987 – that movie rules). Horror isn’t my favorite genre but I really enjoy it when they actually get one right. Unfortunately, Oculus doesn’t “get it right”. (I did a list of my Top Ten Horror Movies HERE to give you an idea on the type of horror I like. Mainly from the 70s & early 80s!).

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Like most modern horror movies, Oculus starts out okay and seems like it could have some potential. Then, like most modern horror movies once again, it starts to fall apart then finally crashes & burns at the end. Just like Sinister & Insidious – promising start then… WTF?! Why do so many horror movies do this? (To be fair, Sinister & Insidious had far more ridiculous endings than Oculus).

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Oculus starts out nice & mysterious with a creepy old mirror. I’ll try to stay spoiler-free as usual so won’t say a lot but, when Karen Gillan’s character starts setting things up & telling her brother her elaborate plan while explaining the mirror’s murderous history, I was up for some nice mind-bending stuff where we don’t know what is & isn’t real. We get that but the problem is that the story doesn’t come together at the end. Like the final seasons of Lost, it felt like the writers were just making it all up as they went along. Things didn’t add up and all that time that Gillan spent explaining things at the beginning of the film felt like a complete waste of time as, ultimately, none of it seemed to be that important to the story after all.

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Summary:

Maybe I’m just too picky and shouldn’t expect the story in a horror movie to actually come together & make some sort of sense at the end. I’m not someone who needs a full explanation & do like when some things are left up to the viewer to figure out for themselves. But I feel like I’ve wasted two hours of my life when movies such as Oculus are clearly made before the story is fully fleshed out (even if only in the writers’ minds at the very least). I have to give it some credit for at least trying to be more than just some braindead slasher flick. But in the end, Oculus just isn’t as smart as it thinks it is. I see it was a short film first and I think it would probably work much better as a creepy little short story without a lot of unnecessary explanations added. Well, at least it had some potential & was still a million times better than Kiefer Sutherland’s Mirrors

My Rating: 4.5/10

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Career Opportunities (1991) Review

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Career Opportunities (1991) Review by ME, Cinema Parrot Disco!

Directed by Bryan Gordon

Written by John Hughes

Starring:
Frank Whaley
Jennifer Connelly
Dermot Mulroney
Kieran Mulroney
John M. Jackson
Jenny O’Hara
Noble Willingham
William Forsythe
John Candy
Barry Corbin

Running time: 83 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Josie, the daughter of the town’s wealthiest businessman, faces problems at home and wishes to leave home, but is disorientated. Her decision is finalized after she falls asleep in a Target dressing room, and awakes to find that she is locked in the store overnight with the janitor, Jim, the town “no hoper” and liar. A decision to go to L.A. is established, but first they must get through the night. A relationship develops, only to be interrupted by a break in by two petty criminals.

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My Opinion:

Okay. I suppose it’s about time I finally do another review for this big blogathon I’ve organized (as well as the review I did with Eric for Weird Science, which you can read HERE). I should start by reviewing all the John Hughes classics that I know & love so well. Truth is, I’m finding it hard to know what to say about those just yet so for now I’ll start with Career Opportunities. I’d never seen this one and watched it about a month ago specifically for this blogathon. The other films I plan to review are my favorites so I probably won’t be re-watching all but a couple of them. However, I also thought I should pick at least one I hadn’t seen at all. Hmm… Not sure if I picked the right one!

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I hate to write a negative review for this blogathon. Clearly I love John Hughes and a lot of his films (especially the teen ones) are very dear to me. I picked this as it seemed like another teen one at least. Unfortunately, it has none of the charm of things like Sixteen Candles or the great characters of things like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I’d say the latter is the one that Career Opportunities is most trying to be. It feels as if Frank Whaley is trying to copy Matthew Broderick’s Bueller & Jon Cryer’s Pretty In Pink Duckie but he truly lacks that special something that both those actors brought to their roles. And he’s just not a very well-written character. He’s a bit of a loser who’s going nowhere with his life and you don’t really care if he succeeds or not. The same goes for Jennifer Connelly’s character. Again, I don’t think it’s a very well-written character as you don’t care at all what happens to her. She’s a spoiled rich girl who contemplates shoplifting to rebel against her wealthy father & miserable wealthy life.

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So these two not-very-likeable characters end up locked in a Target store overnight & do fun things like ride around on roller skates and of course quickly develop feelings for each other until, out of the blue, two burglars show up (which feels completely pointless & out of place). Actually, the whole plot seems pretty pointless and I’m not sure if they even knew where to go with the story. It’s a really short film as it is – I guess they were just killing some time adding in a couple burglars (who felt a little like Home Alone’s bandits without all the fun slapstick, come to think of it). Meh. It’s not the worst film I’ve ever seen but, a month later, it’s shocking how little of it I even remember.

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I will say this, and I’m not saying it to be immature or gain male followers (mainly I’m just trying to make this review a bit longer as there’s nothing else I can really say about this film): I never knew Jennifer Connelly had such big boobs! Seriously – they’re huge in this! (Also never fully realized that she DOES indeed have a unibrow – funny how girls didn’t worry about that in the 80s & early 90s…). Anyway, apparently guys have realized this (I’m a girl – I don’t tend to obsess over boobs) because all the pictures I could really find when looking for ones for this review were of her in the tight white top she wears.

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Oh! And…. There’s a scene where she rides one of those toy horses you put money in and this is also apparently a well known scene amongst Internet pervs as there are photos & animated gifs of this all over the place! (She rides it in front of the burglars while trying to seduce them). She rides it a pretty long time for the film’s 83 minute long running time. So… this movie isn’t really worth watching AT ALL unless you’re a boy who likes to watch pretty girls with big boobs suggestively riding toy horses. *CPD sits back & watches the guest reviews of this one come pouring in from the male readers* 😉

My Rating: 4.5/10

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**I’d just like to say that, even though this John Hughes Blogathon is going on, I haven’t stopped watching movies. So far, you can expect reviews from me in April for Night Of The Creeps, Bernie & Non-Stop. And of course more IMDB Top 250 Guest Reviews. As Non-Stop is a current film, I’ll give you my rating! Hmm… 5.5/10. So… Just a little better than Career Opportunities! But without the sexy big-boobed horse writhing, er… Riding. 🙂

Mr Peabody & Sherman (2014) Review

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Mr Peabody & Sherman (2014)

Directed by Rob Minkoff

Starring Voice Actors:
Ty Burrell
Max Charles
Leslie Mann
Stephen Colbert
Ariel Winter
Allison Janney
Stephen Tobolowsky
Mel Brooks

Studio: DreamWorks Animation
Pacific Data Images
Bullwinkle Studios

Running time: 92 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is an American 3D computer-animated adventure comedy film based on the characters from the Peabody’s Improbable History segments of the 1960s animated television series The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.

(A genius dog teaches his adopted human son about history by taking him there using a time machine. It’s like Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure but not as cool or fun or good.)

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My Opinion:

This one will be quick – I promise! I didn’t like this movie. I’m never sure if I should write reviews of kids’ films from their perspective or mine. As an adult, you’re unlikely to enjoy this one. As a kid? I don’t know – I think it’s not aimed at a wide enough age range. I’d say this is maybe best for those between the ages of 6 & 9? There are too many “clever” jokes & puns and, of course, all the history lessons that the very young won’t understand. And I don’t think it’s funny enough or feels “grown-up” enough for anyone of ten or older to really be bothered about it. It’s a pretty typical animated kids’ film – It’s not one that the entire family can enjoy, no matter what age. Why can only Disney & Pixar achieve that perfect balance? I know I say that all the time but it really doesn’t seem that difficult.

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My biggest complaint about this movie is the above girl. She’s a HORRIBLE character! She’s a very bad example for any young girls watching this. She’s a spoiled little shit! And I’m not giving anything away by stating the obvious fact that she changes a bit through the film and becomes nicer. But it’s not enough! She’s still pretty awful through the whole thing. And people complain about Disney not having the best role models for girls sometimes? Those films always have a moral, even if the girls always have to be “pretty”. But the girl in this is mean for no reason and never apologizes and keeps having to be rescued and, honestly, I was like “Leave her stuck in history! We have enough bitches like this in 2014!”. And what’s with all the eyeliner? She’s meant to be, like, eight!

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Anyway. Rant over. I didn’t like this. I’m old but even I barely remember Rocky & Bullwinkle. I’m not sure why they’ve chosen to make this film as these characters will mean nothing to current kids. I guess they’re trying to re-introduce them to a new generation. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. I can’t see these characters catching on again based on this film. It’s kind of a shame – it’s a decent enough idea and, with a time machine, there are SO many stories (and sequels) that could be done. I’m sure they just made this with sequel dollar signs in their eyes. But, man, they really could have done a better job with this one.

My Rating: 4.5/10

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Oz The Great And Powerful (2013) Review

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Okay – I’m a big fan of The Wizard Of Oz. Like many people my age (and older. and slightly younger.), I grew up with The Wizard Of Oz and it was as important to me in my childhood as Star Wars was. Well, okay – Stars Wars was a bit more important… And Star Wars remains that way for me in adulthood in a way that The Wizard Of Oz doesn’t so much. But I still don’t want it tampered with in a way that might taint it for me. The original Star Wars trilogy has been slightly tainted by the prequels. But at least there were still enough good things in the prequels to make up for the Jar Jar moments. Unfortunately, Oz The Great And Powerful is like one long Jar Jar moment.

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Before I trash this movie too much, I should point out that I haven’t read any of the L Frank Baum stuff. I read quite a lot but I’ve just never read anything he’s written, even though I was a big fan of The Wizard Of Oz. So bear in mind as I discuss Oz that I can’t help but compare the two movies as it’s all I know.

Where to start…. Hm. At the beginning, I guess. I almost didn’t mind this movie at first. I liked the look of it when it was all in black & white at the beginning. Probably helps that it was a travelling circus – I’ve always found old fashioned travelling circuses fascinating. I think I’d have been much happier if James Franco had never left & gone to Oz! Within maybe ten minutes of him being in Oz, I had this sinking feeling that the movie was going to go downhill fast. And it did. How bad is that?! In The Wizard Of Oz, Oz is such a magical place and you can’t help but get this great sense of wonder when Dorothy opens the door onto this strange & colorful place, even after seeing the movie dozens of times. And that movie came out in 1939! How can a 2013 movie, with all the amazing advances in filmmaking & special effects, turn Oz into such a boring place?! Seriously!

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I know things in The Wizard Of Oz are all pretty strange & trippy. Munchkins, talking apple trees, flying monkeys, a talking scarecrow & tin man & lion, etc. Yet that movie made us believe in these things, even though it was all crazy. Even with that old-fashioned hammy acting and some not-so-great special effects. It all just… Worked. The characters in this 2013 movie left me cold. I felt nothing for any of them. They spent too much time on the (not very impressive anyway) CGI and forgot about developing the characters and making us care about them. And forgot about making the script halfway decent. And forgot about acting…

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The acting! I thought the acting in the new Oz was almost embarrassing. As I said, it was a bit hammy in 1939. But that’s fine. It worked. That was a different time. It didn’t work in Oz The Great And Powerful. Perhaps it would have been better if they’d gone really over the top and hammed it up even more? I don’t know… Probably not. I just found all the acting in it very odd. Don’t know how else to explain it. I mean, the little china girl showed more depth than any of the human actors. The talking monkey did too. These are all pretty good actors I’ve liked just fine in other things so I don’t know if it was the fault of the script or the directing or what. But… Wow. I just really didn’t CARE about any of them. I didn’t even really care about anything other than the movie finishing. That’s not like me when it comes to movies!

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I’m just ranting now. I should probably finish otherwise I’ll just go on & on. I do apologize – I usually do slightly better reviews than this. I was going to put a lot more thought into this review & break it down into specifically what I didn’t like and TRY to think of a few positive things to say. But I’m tired. And I cared so little about this movie that I don’t want to waste much more time on it. So to sum up: I didn’t really like Oz The Great And Powerful. 😉 Yes, a big part of the problem is probably that I love The Wizard Of Oz. If you really love that movie, I don’t think you’ll like Oz The Great And Powerful. If you don’t like the 1939 movie, you MIGHT like this 2013 movie. I don’t know. I’ve tried to think about how I’d feel about this movie if the 1939 movie didn’t exist. To be honest, I think I’d still dislike it just as much. But at least I wouldn’t be angry about it tainting a beloved classic.

My Rating: 4.5/10

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*Here’s a positive – I do think kids will enjoy it. Maybe ages 7 to 11 or so? But that’s a very small age range. There’s nothing wrong with making movies aimed at children but it IS possible to make a movie that both children AND adults can love. Just ask Pixar.

*Another positive: Bruce Campbell.

*Another positive: The Bowie song China Girl kept going through my head whenever the little china girl was on screen. Let’s look at his mugshot. The coolest mugshot ever.

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Tinker Bell and the Secret of the Wings

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Needless to say, I did NOT choose this movie. 😉 Hmm… How to review something that’s not my kind of thing…?

Ok. I’ve been forced to watch Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure many times. Secret of the Wings is a bit better. As for other Tinker Bell movies, I’ve not seen them so can’t compare it to them.

I find Tinker Bell an annoying character. Let’s be honest – she’s a horrible, moody little thing in Peter Pan! But they needed spinoff movies to make more money so they’ve made her a much nicer character than she originally was. She’s no longer homicidal but she still has her moody moments.

In Secret of the Wings, she’s possibly the most likeable she’s been. Don’t know if the story is a secret but she meets someone important and I suppose the story is quite sweet. There are spring fairies (I think? Think she’s a spring one) and there are winter fairies and they can’t go into each other’s worlds. Why? Because their wings can break from getting too cold (or, vice versa, too warm). WTF? Sounds stupid, yeah? Yeah- I thought that was pretty pathetic.

The look of the movie was quite nice, I guess. Was good seeing “winter” for a change.

Holy crap. I’m spending WAY too long on this. To sum up: Plot is pretty rubbish but the story is fairly sweet & Tinker Bell is nicer than usual and the introduction of a new character is pretty good. And winter is pretty. Um. Yeah.

One cool thing about these movies is that Tinker Bell is voiced by Mae Whitman, who has starred in some way better movies! (such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower & Scott Pilgrim). And, since I was bored, I decided this male winter fairy was kind of hot. For a cartoon fairy in a crappy movie… Check him out in the background:

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Wow. Yeah. I’ve spent way too long on this review.

4.5/10