Mission: Impossible (1996)

Mission-Impossible

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Aged, but classic.

My how you’ve aged, Mission: Impossible. I know it’s been a while since I’ve actually seen the first film in the franchise, but there is a huge difference between the first and second, even though the gap was only four short years. This movie feels more classic and in tune with how a spy movie should look and feel – sort of like a few 007 movies out there…only more grounded and down to earth. Even though it is very different than the others…it’s somehow a very welcome different. This is where it all started…at least the movie versions – and it probably has something to do with the start of Tom Cruise’s history as an action star – so let’s get to it.

The first film in the franchise is about Ethan Hunt, an agent of the IMF that isn’t quite leader status yet. No, he’s just a member on a team about to embark on an impossible mission of sorts. You see, there is a hidden file in the CIA’s database that lists off agent’s secret identities, which would be a massive threat if unleashed – and someone has their hands on it. Ethan and the rest of the team must get that person behind bars, which proves impossible when the entire team, other than Ethan, is killed off and Ethan is labeled a mole. He must work against the IMF to discover who the true mole is and end this charade once and for all!

Here’s a spy movie for you. It’s got all of the essential spy requirements and then some…but it has aged quite a bit. There’s no missing the age of the movie, guys. As soon as it starts, Tom Cruise looks young (which is surprising), the entire look and feel seems more like a film set in the ‘80s than anything else. They had computers, but the graphics were silly and the models of the actual things were a joke. It tried to be really fancy with those video watches and that bullet-train sequence, but for the most part…it felt a lot different than any of the other films in the franchise.

One of the main differences of this particular film is the amazing lack of action. This is more like a slower-paced spy mystery. There is action, don’t get me wrong, but for the most part, it was far more focused on figuring out the impossible mystery…something closer to Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher. That means more smart writing and a concept you can’t ignore. It’s a good movie. As a kid, I never could understand anything that was happening in the movie, so it was always my least favorite. As an adult, I can fully appreciate the story. At the same time, I’m torn because I do want action in the Mission: Impossible movies.

I still believe the fourth movie is the best in the franchise, but I have yet to see the most recent, fifth installment of the series. The reason why I like the fourth is because – as an all-around balanced spy flick, it had absolutely everything you could ever want. While I don’t really see the first movie so much as a Mission: Impossible movie, I do see it as an amazing and absolutely well-written spy movie in general.

The Good:

The entire series is amazing, and out of the entire thing, I really do believe you need to see every last one, even though they’re basically standalone – simply because every single one has some truly amazing sequences and stories. The first one, in particular, is the best written movie. It takes its sweet time engaging the audience.

The Bad:

The movie has just aged so much. Especially looking at the difference four years brings between the first and second film, my god. Aging is a huge factor for spy movies, because they need to have the coolest gear – and if they have gear that looks like it does in this movie, well…it’s not really that impressive now, is it?

Mission: Impossible II (2000)

Mission-Impossible-2

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Your mission: Matchmaker

When it comes to the Mission: Impossible franchise, the third movie and after, even though I love them, doesn’t quite feel like the Mission: Impossible I grew up with. The first film came out in 1996 and the second was released in 2000, which as you probably know – have similar filming styles back then. That filming style is a little corny, but feels just…right. Not too flashy, not too aged. Those first two will remain in my memory for a long time – and memorability is a factor in how I review. When I think of Mission: Impossible, I mostly think of Mission: Impossible II, which came out when I was 12 – the start of when I wanted to be a spy. That’s right, this movie is super nostalgic for me, but how is it for the rest of you?

Mission: Impossible II centers around a genetically modified virus called Chimera that basically gives you a day before it affects you and cannot be reversed. This thing, if unleashed on humanity – would be bad. When Ethan learns that another IMF agent stole the virus to sell on the black market, he enlists the help of a common citizen, the other IMF agent’s ex-girlfriend – to go undercover and retrieve the virus back.

So there are good things and bad things.  The main bad thing I saw with this movie was how much focus Tom Cruise wasn’t given. It was more a movie centered on Thandie Newton’s character than anything else, but that’s not bad and I’ll tell you why. It’s not bad because it’s still clearly a spy movie. Mission: Impossible III had a romantic element as well, but it could have gotten away with claiming it wasn’t at the same time. It was way too emotionally-driven, while this one was emotionally driven as well – it had enough really cool spy stuff at the same time.

I guess another negative aspect to this film was in way too many uses of the spy mask. Too many uses of a spy mask like that is unnecessary and makes you wonder why they don’t just wear one at all times if it makes things that much simpler? At some point in this film, you’re bound to ask when enough is enough, because it becomes a bit of a gag – something a parody film could have made fun of. It’s a cool concept, even cooler in the third, but keep it simple, stupid. For the most part, that’s just a pet peeve of mine.

The rest of the movie I like. I like the virus plot, the chemistry between Thandie and Tom, the fight choreography, the motorcycle chases, and most importantly, the “impossible mission”. This is the bare minimum requirement in a Mission: Impossible film for obvious reasons, and something the third lacked. The impossible mission wasn’t so much Ethan’s, but Thandie Newton’s character’s mission. She’s a civilian that has to act normal in arms reach of an old IMF agent who has possession of a destructive virus…and there’s not a lot Ethan can do to help. You just know something bad is about to happen – and that’s how you know this is an impossible mission.

The Good:

This is a spy movie at heart, and a good one at that. It has just enough spy action and character development to feel just right. The mission itself does indeed feel impossible, which is a big positive. Plus, that soundtrack is probably my favorite out of the series.

The Bad:

I wish the film centered a little more on Ethan’s character than it did, and I wish they didn’t rely so much on the spy mask – because it quickly started to feel like a cop-out, but other than that, I am satisfied with this flick.

Mission: Impossible III (2006)

Mission-Impossible-3

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Mission: Impossible Difficult.

I don’t know why I do this sometimes, but I watch series in reverse now and then. I did it once before with the Harry Potter series, and now I’m doing it with Mission: Impossible. It’s okay though…I’ve seen them all before. Mission: Impossible 3 was an interesting film when it came out because it had been a few years since the second installment, and it was more or less starting a new, revamped version of the series starring the same cast. Specifically speaking, this was picked up by the increasingly impressive director – J.J. Abrams. Here’s the thing about Abrams – before this movie, we hadn’t seen a lot of films from him, period…just TV shows, so this was his first real impossible mission – to make a movie. After watching this one, you’ll notice incredible inspiration from one of his most popular TV shows – Alias. This movie is basically just another episode of that…but is that a good thing…or bad thing?

Mission: Impossible 3 is more or less about Ethan’s life outside of the agency and his brooding romance with his current girlfriend, soon-to-be wife. When a black market dealer goes around blowing people’s heads off, Ethan is pulled once more into the action – but the very fact that he has a relationship outside of the agency makes his life even that more difficult…or impossible – when her life is threatened.

Okay, so this movie is much more…romantically geared than any of the others. It’s mostly about Ethan’s vulnerability as a human male in love with a woman – which is something we’ve seen too many times before. Beyond that, the mission itself wasn’t impossible…just difficult…as I’ve mentioned above. There are definitely some interesting aspects, and the individual missions kept within the bigger picture are certainly unique…but that’s mostly as far as it gets. That being said, those unique and interesting elements are super smart. The entire explanation of the ridiculous masks and voice changers finally made perfect sense that was at least founded a little in realistic science. That’s how you make text-to-speech. Who’s to say a little futuristic spy gear couldn’t make it sound like the real deal?

Back to J.J. Abrams, this movie fit into his whole concept of Alias. It really did, but not so much what you have come to expect from Mission: Impossible. This film was full of little sections, or as I now like to call them – episodes. All of these episodes put together makes a season. Really though, there were scenes in this movie that borrowed directly from that TV show. The composer? Same guy. Beyond that, I personally don’t think it feels like a M:I movie. That doesn’t mean it’s bad…it’s still really good and very entertaining.

I think in the end, the only real requisite one of these movies needs is to have a mission that seems impossible for probably multiple reasons. The mission(s) in this film…it was simply okay and way too focused on emotional things rather than spy..y stuff. The Ghost Protocol sequel to this film was pretty much perfect, while this one was more or less the training-wheels version. All you really watch it for, though, is Tom Cruise and for a series that you thought was over…it was awesome to see him in the role again, revitalizing something you thought was dead and over.

The Good:

From purely a nostalgic stance, this movie is pretty awesome. J.J. Abrams stepping in to give it a whirl gave new direction to the series, which was more or less a welcome one, since Abrams is known for taking a pre-existing concept and expanding on it in really imaginative ways – and the same applies here.

The Bad:

Okay, so a couple of things I need to point out – it felt way too much like a collection of episodes straight from J.J. Abrams TV Show – Alias. Both are about spies, but one is focused more on relationships and emotions than the other – which Mission: Impossible 3 got a little more caught up on than it probably should. That made the movie feel less impossible and more like a “love complicates thing” movie. Just my thought – still a good movie in general.

Unfriended (2015)

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Cyberbully: The Haunting

Are you afraid of the dark? Great, now…are you afraid of skype? Well you should be! In all honesty, I think it’s a great idea to take the technical side of horror and expand on that. Expand on making things as real as possible – but real doesn’t necessarily mean scary either. You need a little bit of both – let your mind do the thinking once and a while. Instead, you get something a little tame, no matter how interesting it might initially be. I’m talking about Unfriended, the horror film that came out late last year? It has such a great concept, but the deeper you get into it, the more you realize just how lame it truly is.

Unfriended takes place entirely on a high school girl’s computer screen. If you are familiar with screen capturing software, that’s exactly how this movie works. She does everything you can possibly think a teenager would do on her mac computer – click, surf the web, chat with her boyfriend, listen to music. You know? Girl stuff. She also likes to group chat with all of her friends on Skype – which is when everything bad happens. A mysterious entity of sorts begins harassing the friends on Skype, iMessage, Facebook – anything really…and it appears to be an old friend of theirs. The only problem…is that friend committed suicide before the film began. Dun dun dunnnnn!

So there are things I liked about this movie a lot, and about the same vice versa. It actually fell into the same problem many other films face, and it’s really not their fault – it’s heavy on the technical aspects, but weak in the story. The technical side of things was really spot on, a lot more than other films like it. The sounds, the progression of actions, how everything looked. I mean…there was a heck of a lot of advertisements going on in this film, but if you a tech savvy person, it’s a serious relief to see people use Google instead of FinderSpider or Facebook instead of FriendBook. I get that it’s just commercials for the actual companies, but I’d rather see them than the fake stuff any day of the week.

If you pay attention, there’s also character development for the main character specifically. It’s not the kind you’re typically accustomed to, either. It’s simply how she acts and thinks while she’s going through her computer. How she decides to talk, how she corrects what she just wrote into something more logical. How when she’s hyperventilating, she’s making typos. It’s all very technical and in my opinion, one of the smartest portrayals I’ve ever seen from a Cyber-found footage film – which is a sub-sub genre that’s starting to make a name for itself.

On the other hand, Unfriended severely lacks in storytelling. If you want to make a supernatural film about a haunting, you have to do something other than internet stalking. There’s no way the ghost of a girl can hack into accounts, and remove system coding…which is something she’d have to do to gray out options on Facebook, or remove an X button on a browser. It just doesn’t make sense, and because of that, the audience simply doesn’t buy it. They might buy that the movie was filmed in a little over an hour on a teenage girl’s computer monitor, but the rest they’ll know is a sham. What ghost would focus so much on a Skype message…and would they be so vengeful that they’d use cyberbullying as an actual tactic. Is that somehow better than just outright haunting their homes? It just doesn’t make any logical sense.

I’ll admit I wanted to know how it’d end, even though you can probably guess the actual ending – the way it gets there can always be a mystery…and for a good chunk of the movie, it did just the right thing in order to keep the audience wondering what will happen next. Before I saw the film, I knew that it could potentially be the next Paranormal Activity, but it could also be something absolutely horrible at the same time. I like to see the bright side of things and say the technical side of things was actually done well, but who am I kidding? The story was awful.

The Good:

Technical things. It’s not a complete mystery why Rotten Tomatoes has this horror flick rated as a 61%, critics love technical elements in film – which this film had an abundance of. The one thing you can’t take away from this film is how hard it tried to make this computer screen absolutely believable, and it achieved that.

The Bad:

Characters, story, concept, logic. It’s really quite dumb, no matter how you look at it.

Minions (2015)

Minions

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
King Bob! Banana?

What can I even say about the Minions? I’ll start at the beginning. In the first Despicable Me film, the minions were purely comedic relief in an overall solidly balanced, and a little emotional film about…well…adoption and love – no matter where that love comes from. Despicable Me 2 also had a great deal of love involved, but you could tell the focus of the minions was higher than the previous film – that’s because they know kids love the characters, so they were boosted in the sequel and then given their own movie. How did I feel about that? To be honest, I sighed rather heavily when I learned this was an actual thing – because it took a great childrens animated series and turned it into a circus side show…that being said, how was it? Pretty much as you’d expect.

Minions is a prequel to the Despicable Me films taking place, mostly, in the ’60s. The Minions sole purpose in life is to serve an absolutely despicable master, or, super-villain. The only problem is that every single time they start to find a “big boss”, something goes very wrong. That is, until they see the villainous ‘Scarlet Overkill’ on the television – looking for henchmen. So off to London they go – to serve the biggest, baddest, evilest villain around!

Alright, so the only reason this movie is understandable is because it has an obligatory narrator explaining the stuff you don’t understand, like the Minion’s speech problems. That’s not completely horrible because other movies do the same thing, but you do understand why they need him. Other than that, this film has the same problem as Penguins of Madagascar. Both films focus primarily on the comedic relief characters, but the one problem with that is – in both instances, both characters heavily rely on something else to balance the movie out. In Penguins, they replaced the main characters in Madagascar with a new set of animals. In Minions, they replaced Gru and his scientist with Scarlet and her husband Herb. Please tell me what the point is in that? To me, that isn’t originality, that’s a cheap replacement that’s plainly weaker than the original.

I will say that between these two similar-concept films, I do like the characters of the Minions better – so in general, I liked this film while watching it. It’s not really a great movie or anything, but it has some pretty substantial laughable material – mostly through physical humor. There’s nothing deep about it, no hidden messages or moral to the story…it’s just plain and simple – these are little stupid goofballs doing little stupid things…enjoy. When they do their thing, though, there’s a lot of great nods to the time period this film takes place in – which was really, really smart for the adults watching as well.

At its core, this movie is completely pointless and kids will probably forget it by this time next year – but at the surface…kids will love it in theater and adults will have fun watching it with the rest of the family. In that sense…it’s really not that bad…it’s certainly watchable. I wouldn’t necessarily say waste money to see it in theater, but it wouldn’t be a bad rent later on down the road.

The Good:

Minions isn’t as bad as I thought it would be – it provided a lot of comical scenarios that the entire family can giggle at in the theater.

The Bad:

It’s not really substantial, it’s mostly just a cheap mock-up of the realer and more important series, Despicable Me.

The Random:

When I went to the theater to see this film, it wasn’t packed with a bunch of bouncy and giddy kids, but instead a plethora of drugged-out teenagers that giggled at the stupidest stuff.

Terminator Genisys (2015)

Terminator-Genisys

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
I’ll be old.

I’ll probably always be a fan of the Terminator franchise. No, they aren’t all winners in a critic’s handbook, but I don’t consider any of them to be bad. Not even the Sarah Connor Chronicles which played on TV a few years back. I wasn’t a huge fan of the original movie, but it was done really well – so you got to give it credit for that. The only film in the franchise I’ve ever been worried about is Terminator: Genisys. I love Arnold Schwarzenegger, but there’s a certain point that he should probably stop playing a robot – he doesn’t look like one anymore. I digress, let’s just get into the plot analysis.

So the war in the future is nearing it’s end, but all will be for not – because a T-800 model was just sent back in time to the year 1984 to kill John Connor’s mother. So John sends Kyle Reese, his future father, back in time to save his mother…only…what no one was expecting…was Sarah Connor was expecting them. That’s right, with the help of an older T-800 model, she’s been battling Terminators for a while and is now the hardened warrior she was in T2 – which means one major thing – time has seriously been reset.

Man oh man, things from all the Terminator movies were happening all at once in this movie…I won’t say what, exactly, because that would spoil you…that is…if you haven’t already seen the trailer that shows everything anyway. Just in case you haven’t, I’ll refrain from telling you the major points – what I will say is this: the story’s biggest problem is being so ridiculously convoluted! There’s so many things going on at once, so many characters, so many structured acts that play out one after the other that…it feels less like a movie and more like a TV show. Now – whether that’s a good or bad thing is completely up to the viewer. I think it took away from the overall feeling of epicness that any of the other movies had. It felt a little smaller. Past that, it felt a little uneven from the others.

One of the main concerns I had with this film was Arnold’s physical age. While I understand that the skin they put on Terminators are actual human tissue that ages – it’s not only his skin that aged. His muscles have also done the same thing. You can try to hide him under as much clothes as you want, but at the end of the day, I can see his sagging chest. As far as I’m concerned, underneath all that skin is a robot…and that metal shouldn’t sag. I understand that Hollywood magic can’t fix everything, but I didn’t fully buy his “look”. Now his ability to act as the Terminator, on the other hand, was very well done. It always has been. He knows how to talk like a robot and he knows how to talk sass as well. If there was anything you definitely wanted to see from him – that would be it.

Like I said before, I won’t talk about some of the main plot developments that happen in the movie, but I do want to say how I felt about them. I both like and dislike the villain. I think for the most part, it’s just as memorable as any of the other villains in the series. On the other hand, there is something very off about the filmmaker’s decision to utilize him…that…way. The Terminator movies work together really well because they come from the same place and understanding – we’ll just say this one took that same understanding and…sort of butchered it – just so they could make another series out of it. The liberties they took with this one…I get it, but I’m not really happy about it either.

The Good:

It’s the Terminator, man. They shout out to the other films really well and create something that, if you haven’t seen the trailers beforehand, you just couldn’t predict.

The Bad:

Let’s ignore the villain choice and spoilery trailers for a second – because all I’m worried about is the jumbled story. It’s very convoluted and way more complicated than it needs to be.

Inside Out (2015)

Inside-Out

Dave’s  3-Word Review:
Art  imitating life.

You’ve got to appreciate Pixar for everything they do. Out of every animated movie studio around, I’ve only ever seen Pixar work the hardest at creating something so deep and relevant to its target audience as well as creating something that’s equally as entertaining to anyone else watching. It does this in a particularly interesting and bold way, by mixing emotions and themes that are naturally polar opposites. Inside Out paints a portrait between light-hearted humor and sickening depression, and I love the outcome.

Meet Riley, an average American girl with an average American family that loves her. When she moves to San Francisco, Riley hits an all-time low, coming face-first with the effects of depression. Controlling her every action in her brain are the very colorful characters of Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger. When Sadness and Joy go missing, Riley was only ran by Fear, Anger, and Disgust, fulfilling that  depression further.

This movie is just one gigantic metaphor about adolescent depression…or maybe just depression in general. They weren’t trying to hide that or anything, but the way it was made was ingenious. I truly believe that this is without the doubt the smartest movie Pixar has ever done. Period. Why? Because no longer do kids have to feel they are alone or confused about why they feel so bad. There is an infinite amount of things going on in your head that are hard to completely explain or  understand, and this  movie does  it through a perfect metaphor. No there aren’t actual characters going around in your head,  but what they represent does.

What they represent  and how they work with each other continually impressed me throughout  the film. Sadness affects everything like a cancer and drags on about things that don’t really matter, even when you try to focus on the good, joyous things. You could ruin the “islands of your personality” depending on the actions that you take and how you feel about them in general.  Rash decisions can make or crumble your world, and your happiness could be lost because of it. This is all shown through funny characters making jokes throughout the thing, but it’s not hard to find the core  messages in the movie, and it is impossible not to love it when you see them .

Past the intelligent writing and metaphors, what else did this film have? Visuals. Pixar has always been known for their impressive arrangement of visuals that people can’t forget, and this movie is no exception. Everything about this movie is memorable in multiple ways, making it an impeccable and nearly perfect experience at the cinema. Now, as far as negatives go, I clearly gave it a near perfect score – so why not the whole 100% Partially because I’m not personally in the target audience range and partially because people kept saying how it made them cry – and I can’t understand why. This tells me that maybe I missed out on something important. It’s not a big deal, but I don’t like not knowing.

The Good:

Everything, but if I had to pick one thing, it would be that Inside Out is the smartest movie I’ve ever seen Pixar do – that it’s ability to explain something difficult to children in a fun way…it’s incredible.

The Bad:

The fact that you haven’t seen it!

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)

Mission-Impossible-4Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Spy liked it.

I was going to go back and watch the entire series, but according to some critics, Mission:Impossible – Ghost Protocol is the best film out of the entire set. Not only that, but for the most part, it is also a standalone film – meaning…you don’t need absolute knowledge into everything else – though that does significantly help matters. Personally, I’ve seen them all and like them all – but there are truly some remarkable things that happen in this film. That being said, I still have to see the rest one more time before I come up with an opinion. Other than that, yeah – Ghost Protocol is amazing.

Why is it amazing? Good question – let’s first talk about this impossible mission. For the most part, IMF is targeted and framed for a terrorist attack – which forces them to be shut down in what is called Ghost Protocol. While they are shut down, Ethan and friends have to complete a task under the radar before a nuclear attack happens. The only problem is – they only have each other and not an entire team to back them. Can they do it – well only time will tell.

I don’t know how they do it, but these movies do a remarkable job at creating missions that are, for a lack of a better word, nearly impossible. They shouldn’t be able to complete the missions, but by sheer luck and intelligence, the team always figures something out – and the stuff they come up with in this movie was insane. I know it’s a spy movie and there’s always some creativity involved – but I was honestly floored with how impressive this movie was at creating new ideas – in both a fantastical design approach as well as the practical effects.

If you weren’t already aware, Tom Cruise did his own stunts here, including the scaling of the Burj Khalifa building – that was real. All of it. In fact, Tom Cruise fired the film’s original insurance company just so he could do it. Call him the craziest man on the planet if you want, but I’ll call him a hard-working and devoted actor that wants his movies to have that sweet, sweet perfection that they so richly need. Not only that, but the day of practical effects has virtually been long gone from the cinema realm. Back in the day, James Bond would actually twirl his car in the air, and legitimately jumped on live alligators to make the movie incredible. Can you imagine if we side-stepped technology for a second and went back to the dangers of practical effects? What else could they come up with? I’d think after several years of exclusive and limitless CGI – you’d come up with some stunning sequences – like the scene in this movie.

That scene doesn’t last too long, though. I want to make sure to point out that the whole movie was stitched together remarkably well. The stunts were obviously great, the “spy gadgets” were original, the introduction of the new characters was refreshing, and the fight choreography was memorable. There’s very little to actually complain about this film – other than maybe some people just don’t like Tom Cruise anymore.

The Good:

This movie wasn’t only just a lot of fun, but in my opinion it was really smart too – and quite possibly the best Mission: Impossible movie that’s ever been.

The Bad:

I can’t really think of anything – maybe the amount of excess stuff that happens. At the same time, though – every film in this franchise has the same problem, it’s just part of the formula.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Mad-Max-Fury

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Delicious Valhalla Chrome.

As many movies that I’ve seen come from Mel Gibson’s career, the Mad Max franchise was never one of them. I know absolutely nothing about this series other than two basic things: It’s post-apocalyptic, and Australian. In the scheme of things, that’s my entire knowledge – so what do we have here? Mad Max: Fury Road revitalizes the series with Tom Hardy in the lead – with all his Bane voice glory. Before I get into the plot analysis – just imagine a violent Super Mario Kart on steroids filled with explosions, flimsy bouncy sticks, and flame-throwing guitar solos.

It may take you a while to understand the plot of this film for two very basic reasons: 1.) The loud adrenaline-laced scenes and sometimes unique character vocabulary make it difficult to understand what’s being said. 2.) You’re just thinking too much. The story is very simple because it doesn’t require anything heavy or deep. Our main baddy, Wario…I mean Immortan Joe gets angry at this chick who steals his property (more chicks) – so he chases her down to get her back. This chick (Charlize Theron) basically wants these other chicks to get to a better place – and…Max is thrown into the mix a bit randomly. He’s on his own side, but decides to help the women out anyway.

This is quite the interesting film. It’s high-octane/adrenaline scenes were interestingly shot in a way that clearly looks sped-up, but used during beneficial scenes that feel heart-pounding and intense. We’ve seen this used before in things like Jason Statham’s Crank series or even the first Bourne Identity film – but not much more than that because in my opinion…it’s a risk. Slow motion can look really fun and even beautiful, but fast-motion can almost make you feel like you’re missing out on some things. I mean…blink and it’s gone. On the plus side, it helps the film intensify the shots in the film that are already intense to begin with. I think this effect immensely helped this movie.

It helped because when you think about it, the story of this film is so basic that it’s weak. In fact, Max’s entire role in the film is bordering upon unnecessary. It’s only about the big bad man against the girls…that’s it. He may have helped them, but it’s not super far-fetched to think the strength and independence of the ladies was strong enough to actually carry the movie without him. Instead, you watch this movie for the excitement and visuals…and that’s pretty much it. The film is both insane and visually beautiful in so many ways. It creates an entire world on the shoulders of a very plain and basic concept. For something to do that so efficiently is a rarity in film. When it comes right down to it, that’s the reason you watch it – to have fun at the movies. Undoubtedly, this film is just loads of fun.

The Good:

This film is exciting, beautiful, and just a ton of fun. It created an entire universe of characters in a deserted world that clearly took a lot of thought in their creation. If nothing else, it’s just fun to watch.

The Bad:

It’s mostly a weak story where our main “hero” isn’t as necessary as you might like him to be. It can also be a bit confusing at times.

Poltergeist (2015)

Poltergeist15

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Complaints? They’re coming…

I have a confession. I haven’t seen all of the original classic horror films. While I think I have seen the original Poltergeist film, it wasn’t since I was a little kid – so I really don’t remember much of the plot – so this viewing of the remake of Poltergeist is more or less blind and comes from a blank slate. That being said, I believe it suffers from something many horror flicks nowadays suffer from…flashiness. Yes, you couldn’t really show much of anything back in the day, but sometimes simplicity is scarier than complexity. If you’re forced to use your head to concoct a frightening image, it’s more than likely come up with something scarier than what a production can create, don’t you think? Oh well, let’s talk plot.

So, a poor family of five without jobs moves into a really nice house. They can do it because of multiple foreclosures in the housing complex – making the house pretty inexpensive. Well, as it turns out, the complex was built on top of an old cemetery – one where people simply moved headstones, not (bleh) the bodies. So guess what happens? You guessed it, there is a poltergeist that speaks through television interference and sucks people into closet voids. Which means only one thing – they have to get paranormal experts to help cleanse their home.

Not scary! I’ll say it upfront, since this is a horror film. This entire movie lacks not only creative gusto, but also anything remotely scary or even creepy. Even the cheap jump scares aren’t even there…and all I can really ask myself is why not? This is considered based off of one of the biggest horror franchises of film’s past – and they couldn’t do anything right? The best shots in the film were simply taken straight from the original film, which is fine – but the rest of the movie is very, very flashy. I mean it, out of all the horror remakes out there, this one wanted to show you the most fanciest of shots. Does it look interesting? Absolutely…but it wasn’t scary.

A visionary behind the film isn’t always a bad thing, but some of those older films worked so well out of simplicity. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – you’re brain is capable of creating the scariest image. After all, we all have had nightmares in the past, which are scarier than any movie demon or ghost. Give us an idea, explain what is happening, and stop, for the love of god, stop showing us absolutely everything. If that wasn’t enough, Sam Rockwell kept being more sarcastic than scared in this film – when you see a chair being sent violently across the room, shattering into pieces, you freak out – NOT make a quick sarcastic remark without any real reaction before walking out of the room. Funny – but since this isn’t a parody or the next Scary Movie, let’s try to take things a little more seriously, shall we?

To be honest, I like remakes. I understand their purpose. It’s definitely fun to see your favorite series being revisited and changed for a modern audience…but as far as horror films go, the importance doesn’t go further than a “fun to watch” status. That means any horror film remake, and I’ve seen a few in my day. So for me, there’s positives as well as negatives for these remakes…unfortunately, the positives are basically for nostalgic and curiosity reasons.

The Good:

I always thought the concept of this film was interesting, and something that should be used in film a little more often than it has been – and a lot of the shots in this movie are very well done.

The Bad:

It just doesn’t work that well as a horror film. Maybe as a movie in general or something to watch just for fun, but scary it is not.

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