Crawl (2019) Review

Crawl (2019)

Directed by Alexandre Aja

Produced by Craig J. Flores, Sam Raimi, Alexandre Aja

Starring: Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Crawl stars Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper as a daughter and father, who along with their dog are hunted by alligators after becoming trapped in their home during a Category 5 hurricane.

My Opinion:

Oh my god I’m so stressed! Work is manic at the moment. But I want to catch up on reviewing the films I’ve seen in the cinema. So here’s a quickie for Crawl since I don’t have much to say about it.

Crawl was fine. I mean, it’s a movie about people being attacked by huge fucking alligators in a goddamn hurricane. It’s absolutely ridiculous! But it’s meant to be, right? Gotta admit that I loved the idea of a disaster movie, which is sort of a guilty pleasure genre for me, crossed with a horror film. And it kind of works, although I’d have liked better character development. I know, I know – That’s asking a bit much for a movie like this. I just got more enjoyment out of the equally ridiculous The Meg last year as the characters were far more fun and likeable. But fuck that movie – it only had a 75-foot-long megalodon shark. It didn’t have a 75-foot-long megalodon shark during a hurricane or earthquake or killer meteor shower or a goddamn nuclear apocalypse or something.

Well. Yeah. Crawl is fine. If you like the “killer alligators during a hurricane” idea, you’ll like this movie just fine. It’s what I expected but would have been a bit better if I’d cared more about the characters. I disliked Kaya Scodelario but can’t say why so, whatever – Just ignore me! The movie is also a bit too silly at times but I suppose it would’ve been boring if it hadn’t been ridiculous. And it was slightly boring until the alligators showed up, which took far too long.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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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)

My Top Ten Movie Fruits & Vegetables

Do you have any idea just how many fruit & vegetable-related movie associations there are? I didn’t until I started making this list! So, I lied – this is a Top 20! There were just too many to narrow it down to ten but my anal retentiveness insisted that I call this a Top Ten to match all my other posts. 😉

I’ll just do a simple list for 20-11 then elaborate a bit more on my Top Ten. I’d really love for people to add any they can think of which I’ve missed. Let me know in the Comments & I’ll add yours to the end of this post & link to your blog.

Now, counting down from 20 to 1, here are My Top Twenty Movie-Related Fruits & Vegetables:

Top Twenty:

  • 20. TIE: Jack Lemmon, Eve Plumb, Mr Bean & Barry Pepper. Yes – Barry Pepper! Two for one! (FYI – he’s an actor in The Green Mile). Also, I think Chuck’s cousin, Marvin Berry in Back To The Future, deserves a mention. 😉
  • 19. Strawberry Fields in Across The Universe
  • 18. The strawberries (and various other food items) in Nine 1/2 Weeks
  • 17. The banana in the tailpipe in Beverly Hills Cop
  • 16. All those tomatoes in Attack Of & Return Of The Killer Tomatoes
  • 15. The “blow job carrots” in Fast Times At Ridgemont High
  • 14. Pumpkinhead
  • 13. Children Of The Corn
  • 12. The cute strawberry Barry in Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 (plus loads of other food items)
  • 11. The apple pie in American Pie

Top Ten:

    10. F*%k The Pain Away by Peaches
    As Heard In: Lost In Translation, Drive Angry, My Little Eye

    Oh, Peaches – I do admit that I love some of your filthy songs. The most well-known, of course, seems to be Fuck The Pain Away as it’s been used in several movies, including the excellent Lost In Translation.

    9. Day-O (The Banana Boat Song) by Harry Belafonte
    As Heard In: Beetlejuice

    Who doesn’t like this song? Who doesn’t like this scene?! You know, I actually haven’t watched Beetlejuice in years – I really should watch it again! Was never really my favorite Burton film (it’s no Edward Scissorhands…).

    8. Poisoned Apple
    As Seen In: Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs

    Had to be in the top ten – it’s iconic! Not my favorite princess movie but I do love those Seven “Dwarfs”.

    7. A Clockwork Orange
    As Seen In: Umm… A Clockwork Orange!

    Not my number one favorite Kubrick film (that’s easily The Shining) but I do rank it highly despite being uncomfortable with some of the material. Plus, there’s not a damn orange in sight!

    6. Minion Bananas!
    As Seen In: Minions, the Despicable Me films, Minions shorts

    Yeah, I’ve maybe put this a little too high on the list but I LOVE those crazy minions and their banana obsession. 🙂

    5. Cherry Bomb by The Runaways
    As Heard In: The Runaways, Dazed & Confused, Guardians Of The Galaxy

    I’ve put this fairly high on the list even though I’m not crazy about the song. However, it’s awesome that it was included in two of my all-time favorite movie soundtracks (Dazed & Confused and Guardians Of The Galaxy). Also, it gives me the opportunity to recommend the movie The Runaways, which is about the band (obviously). It starred (don’t run away, ha) Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett & Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie. Seriously – Stewart & Fanning?! Ugh! But… you know what?! I loved it! They were, well, very good. Especially Stewart. Well worth a watch!

    4. Tangerine Dream
    As Heard In: Legend, Risky Business, Miracle Mile, etc

    I do love a good Tangerine Dream score! It was the best thing about the strange Miracle Mile (a movie loads of fellow bloggers seem to like!) and I’ve always loved the piece Love On A Real Train from Risky Business.

    3. The Big Apple
    As Seen In: Countless films!

    The Big Apple (as in, New York City) – Is there any other city in the world that has SO many films set in it?! I’ve chosen When Harry Met Sally as it’s a favorite. Yes, I’ll be doing a Top Ten NYC movies someday (probably after I finally get around to reviewing Escape From New York!).

    2. The Cucumber
    As Seen In: This Is Spinal Tap

    Ha! I’ve put this high on the list as it’s one of the first things I thought of when I came up with the idea for this list. Again, I’ve not actually watched this movie in years, although I loved it. I need to again. Who wants to watch it with me??

    1. Peas In The Pod
    As Seen In: Toy Story 3

    Yes, I know this may seem an odd choice for number one. But, if anyone here knows me at all, you’ll know I have a thing for anthropomorphism – especially adorable anthropomorphic food! I love these Peas in the Pod!!!! So. Damn. Cute. I may have bought the cuddly toy of this at The Disney Store after watching this movie. I’ve (reluctantly) given it to my daughter now. I clearly love her. 😉

Didn’t Make The List:
(before you add your own ideas in the Comments, here are some more that I did already think of)

    • The Mandarin & Pepper Potts in Iron Man 3
    • James & The Giant Peach
    • The Limey
    • Olaf’s carrot nose in Frozen
    • Cherry Falls
    • Professor Plum & Colonel Mustard in Clue
    • Violet Beauregarde turning into a blueberry in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
    • Withnail And I – The Camberwell Carrot (the biggest joint ever)
    • The garlic used in The Lost Boys
    • Popeye’s spinach & also Olive Oyl in Popeye
    • Cornholio (did he make an appearance in Beavis & Butthead Do America? I think so…)
    • Carmen Miranda & Josephine Baker
    • The Red Hot Chili Peppers in various films such as Point Break & The Chase
    • Peanuts! Okay – I’m adding this at the end as most won’t agree to it being a veg (or fruit?!) but I’m really excited about this movie coming out!!

Movies I’ve Not Seen:

    • Wild Strawberries
    • The Grapes Of Wrath
    • Bananas
    • The Apple

PHEW! I’ve spent way too much time thinking about fruit & veg this past week in preparation for this post. Now let me know if you have any more to add & I’ll link to you HERE –

Ideas From Other Bloggers:

Cindy Bruchman: Ann-Margret in the white living room swimming in a room of canned beans coming out of her television in The Who’s Tommy

Eric from The IPC: Sherilynn Fenn using her tongue to tie a knot in a cherry stem in Twin Peaks (the TV show but I’ll accept it) 😉

sgliput of Rhyme Or Reason: Fried Green Tomatoes, “ogres are like onions” from Shrek, the pumpkin in Cinderella, the berry interrogation in Sound of Music, the giant cherry in Wreck-It Ralph, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, and “Can you say mango?” from Paulie.

MovieRob: The blueberry pie in Stand By Me, Herbie Goes Bananas, The 9 1/2 weeks parody in Hot Shots, The Oranges in ALL 3 Godfather movies, The Apple Dumpling Gang, Pineapple Express, Poisoned dates in Raiders of the Lost Ark

And since I gave this scene a thorough re-watching for, ah, research…. I might as well share:

And here’s some Tangerine Dream:

Saving Private Ryan (1998) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Rob of MovieRob. Thanks for being a part of this, Rob! 🙂 Now let’s see what he has to say about Saving Private Ryan, IMDB rank 39 out of 250… (as of 01/01/2013)

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

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Thanks again to Ms. Mutant for giving us all a chance to review our favorite movies that are part of the IMDB Top 250!

Certain movies fade within your memory not long after you see them and then there are others that remain engraved in your mind for years, if not decades afterwards.

Saving Private Ryan is a movie that fits into the latter category in my mind.

I recall seeing it in the theater during the Fall of 1998 and being mesmerized and riveted for the close to 3 hours running time.

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Steven Spielberg had given us all so many iconic movies over the years up to that point that spanned the whole gamut of Genres. From Jaws to Close Encounters to E.T. to The Indiana Jones trilogy to The Goonies to Jurassic Park and ultimately to his masterpiece Schindler’s List.

Few suspected that he would find a way to even top THAT endeavor, but he did. (or at least matched it)

Saving Private Ryan is truly a companion piece to Schindler’s List because they both deal with different aspects of the horrors of World War II. One deals with the inhabitants of Europe and how they had to deal with the cruelty of the Nazi’s, some due to their heritage and others due to their will to stop injustice from continuing. The other deals with the thousands of American soldiers who traveled far from home to help bring about the downfall of that cruel dictator and his nation that attempted to stop freedom and democracy from spreading.

In both of these movies, Spielberg didn’t hesitate to show the horrific face of war and in some instances strived so hard to show us the hurtful, but truthful shock and awe of those events in history.

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I cannot think of any other movie that opens as this one did. To have close to 30 minutes devoted to carnage, despair, fear, trepidation, blood and guts (literally), action, and lots of other very descriptive and poignant moments has been unprecedented in film history, let alone during the first 30 minutes.

Basically this movie charges right in, showing us that war truly is hell. By the time the shit hits the fan, we don’t know any of the characters and (at least back in 1998), we only could recognize Tom Hanks and Tom Sizemore. The disorientation that the viewer was hit in the face with from the start was even greater because of the ‘shaky’ camera work that was purposely used to give us the feeling that we are within that very dangerous situation along with the soldiers themselves.

The rest of this movie follows suit and is amazingly done. The story is interesting, the characters are not just ‘stock’ soldiers like in many war movies, the dialogue between the characters and the action all add up to a movie worth seeing over and over again.

I don’t like spoiling movies, so I’m not going to go into much detail about the plot itself because I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few of you out there who have yet to see this.

Basically, like many ‘war’ films, this is an anti-war movie trying to show the futility of war and the importance of every person individually making whatever they do in life and in war count for something.

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Once the story gets going, we get to know the characters quite well and each one is developed well enough that we care what will happen to them.

Spielberg purposely chose unknown actors so we wouldn’t be distracted by stars. Ironically, just about all of his “unknown” choices became very popular afterwards. Who doesn’t know the names of Ed Burns, Barry Pepper, Giovanni Ribisi, Matt Damon, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel and Jeremy Davies?

Shockingly, this movie lost the best picture Oscar to Shakespeare in Love which in my book is the biggest mistake ever made by Oscar voters. As much as Shakespeare was a fun movie, this one is clearly better in every aspect besides comedy (DUH!!). Spielberg himself was awarded the best director Oscar which was extremely rare 16 years ago to have a split between Picture and Director.

This is a movie that is best if watched on the big screen. I personally saw this twice in the theater and am grateful that I did so. Certain films are even more powerful on the big screen and this is one of them even if it’s also quite enjoyable at home.

I’m actually quite surprised that this movie is so low on the IMDB Top 250. I mean c’mon 35!!!!. How is that even possible?

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The Green Mile (1999) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Zoe of The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger. Zoe is loving this IMDB project – she’s already reviewed The Departed (which you can read HERE) and she’s planning on doing more! (And may have done another one already…) 😉 Thanks so much for the reviews, Zoe!

Now let’s see what she has to say about The Green Mile, IMDB rank 65 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list HERE. See the full list & links to all the films that have been reviewed HERE.

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Here’s another entry for Table 9 Mutant’s IMDB Top 250 challenge. I have been having so much fun with this, revisiting some movies, checking them all for her, some of them I have been meaning to look into again for so long, and now I finally have the driving factor. This is a movie that I hold most dear, who lived up to every inch of the book, proving that you can, in fact, adapt a book successfully if you just know what you are doing.

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“On the day of my judgment, when I stand before God, and He asks me why did I kill one of his true miracles, what am I gonna say? That it was my job?”
– Paul Edgecomb

The Green Mile is an absolutely stunning tale of the supernatural, faith, the strange things, horror, hope, miracles and all sorts of things. Naturally, when it begins, you don’t really know what is coming. I mean Stephen King is renowned for horrors, but what some people forget is that he is an exceptionally talented author who has more skills than just to terrify the pants off of you. From his strange mind he brought us an account, one that makes you smile, one that makes you sad, one that evokes anger and pity all at once. John Coffey is portrayed by Michael Clarke Duncan (R.I.P.), and I think he was superbly cast to play the giant that was accused of the disgusting slayings of two young girls. He is a monster of a man, not the most intelligent person in the world, but shy, wholesome and well-mannered, very incongruent to the hulking monstrosity his physical exterior represents.

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“People hurt the ones they love. That’s how it is all around the world.” – John Coffey

Coffey’s character can only grow on you, and if it does not, then there is something fundamentally flawed in you. He was pure innocence in a world of cruelty, anger and hatred, and even though he was wronged, he did not take it out on anyone once. I loved the relationship he developed with the guards Paul Edgecombe (Tom Hanks), Brutus “Brutal” Howell (David Morse), Dean Stanton (Barry Pepper) and Harry Terwilliger (James DeMunn). It was great to see how they interacted with this man on death row. Then there was Tom Hanks, again pulling together a great drama role right here as Paul, the man who had to get to the bottom of whatever was going on, who was drawn in and fascinated by Coffey, a peaceful and pure human being. Naturally not everyone was going to be so nice, and Dough Hutchison did a fine job as Percy Wetmore… in other words, I really did just want to climb over somewhere and kill him. He was inhumane, he was cruel and he deserved so much more than a big, fat slap. He was revolting and evil to the core, and was intent on throwing his weight around and bullying everyone no end. People like that sicken me, and he was incredibly convincing, always selfish, putting himself ahead and being resentful at every available opportunity.

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“Try it! You’ll be on the bread lines before the week is out!” – Percy Whetmore

Sam Rockwell was simply brilliant as “Wild Bill” Wharton, and impressed me with his portrayal of the malicious and wicked man. He was undeniably cracked and never once let you forget about it. He was the very embodiment of what I expected from King’s character. I also enjoyed David Morse, whom I find to be an underappreciated actor. He lent dignity and morals to Brutus and gave him real flesh and character. The movie’s pacing was gradual though never boring, but you must not expect something gushing action in every scene, never relenting or letting you breathe. This is a film designed to make you chew over it, think about it and make decisions based on that.

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“All I wanted me was a little cornbread, motherfuckers! All I wanted me was a little cornbread!” – William “Wild Bill” Wharton

I enjoyed how the film was set in the thirties, and the appearance of the prison, the uniforms, the way of life… things was done so much differently. Coffey’s gift being discovered was a thing of beauty. Paul had been suffering for a while with a severe bladder infection, and in a moment of fear and pain, Coffey had healed him, fixed the problems. Such is the nature that shows that Coffey is special, that he is amazing and that he should not be where he is, though he is there now and will have to make the best of it. The guards all become rather protective of Coffey and develop a respect and friendship with him, though not everything is destined to go that way. Paul’s relentless need to get to the bottom of what really happened is touching, and it shows you how one person can change your perception in life as well as how you go about it.

I honestly believe The Green Mile is a classic, and most definitely something that everyone should see at least once in their lives. Frank Darabont again gave another striking vision of a King novel, something I am starting to feel only he fully grasps.

I just can’t see God putting a gift like that in the hands of a man who would kill a child. – Paul Edgecomb