Liebster Award

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It’s your favorite time again! That is, if your favorite time means the Liebster Award Season, that is. Yes, my pal Natalie from Writer Loves Movies gave me a nomination this time around, so many thanks to Natalie, and definitely check out her very awesome site as I delve deeper into the meaning of the Liebster Award. It’s a blogger award given to bloggers by bloggers, and of course, it is epic.  But what are awards without a few simple rules?

  1. The bloggers who have been nominated must link back to the person who nominated them.
  2. Nominees must answer the eleven questions given to them by the person who nominated them.
  3. Those nominated must choose eleven of their favorite bloggers who have less than 200 followers to answer their own set of questions When you are nominated, you cannot nominate the person who nominated you.

Without further ado – my questions to the questions:

1. Name the last film you watched

  • I’ve been slowing down on my movie watching because I’ve been so busy working on my TV Podcast and I’ve picked up the bad habit of reading. I’m just kidding, but a Nook can be a very dangerous addictive device. The last movie I watched was actually X-Men: First Class in preparation for the upcoming blockbuster hit Days of Future Past.

2. Name the director whose movies you most admire?

  • Correction, director(s). Jonathon Dayton & Valerie Faris. This directing duo are responsible for movies like Ruby Sparks and Little Miss Sunshine. Two movies, which by the way, are really good. Before that, they did some work in music videos and such, but it only took them two movies for me to fall in love with them and look forward to their next ventures as a team.

3. We all have a movie that’s our guilty pleasure. What’s yours?

  • You’d like me to tell you, wouldn’t you? Just kidding, um, probably Good Burger. I wasn’t so guilty for watching it when I was a kid and watched it every few weeks, but now I’m 26, and still think the movie is hilarious and never say no to the Good Burger gods.

4. If you could play any movie character in a remake, who would it be?

  • Ha, I think I would play an awesome Thomas Anderson a.k.a. Neo in a reboot/remake of The Matrix. Or at least I’d like to think I’d be awesome at it (I used to make Matrix fan films as a Neo-like character).

5. Name your favourite black and white movie

  • I’m notorious for steering clear of older movies, but I’ll be fair and say there are a few that I think are brilliant and that no one should ever redo them, because when they have tried, it has been horrendous. 1 is 12 Angry Men, which is my personal favorite. The other is The Great Dictator. 

6. What book would you most like to see made into a film?

  • That’s a really hard question, because most books I would have liked to become a movie already have. However, I did read the rest of the Divergent series, and I do await the next two films eagerly. Other than that, maybe The Cuckoos Calling by J.K. Rowling

7. Best cinema snack?

  • Skittles from the convenience store across the street, and a can of pop from your house that you take out of your pocket – but don’t tell nobody I told you that.

8. Which job in the movie industry do you most fantasize about doing?

  • Honestly? Since I was young, I’ve fantasized about virtually every single position. Actor was the most obvious, but then I thought directing would be amazing. But when it comes down to it, I’m a writer, so the most realistic and most satisfying answer I could give, is screenwriter.

9. Which film writer or blogger do you find most inspirational?

  • That’s a really tough question because for the most part I try my hardest to ignore who wrote a movie. I try my hardest to go in blind and then look up information afterwards. Idk…Walt Disney? The person in charge of Disney now? I don’t know. Hard question.

10. If you could only take films from one genre on a desert island with you, which genre would it be?

  • Haha, this is the most bizarre question. Comedy. Look, a deserted island can be fun, but it can also be lonely and sad, and scary. The only thing to lighten your mood might be a comedy, so that one seems obvious to me.

11. And finally, what upcoming movie are you most anticipating?

  • Hands down, X-Men: Days of Future Past. It just looks so epic and unique….I mean come on.

 

Now onto choosing 11 victors to take over, and the nominees are (by the way, I’m slightly bending the rules on how many followers a site has):

  1. Daniel’s Film Reviews
  2. Andy Watches Movies
  3. Digital Shortbread
  4. Tranquil Dreams
  5. Dan the Man’s Movie Reviews
  6. Screenkicker
  7. cineramaetcetera
  8. Simon Says…Watch This!
  9. Liam Does Film
  10. Films and Coke
  11. Cinematic

And the questions I have for you are as follows:

  1. What was the first movie you ever remember seeing? (This means, not the movie your mom told you that you saw when you were 2 years old, or god forbid, while in her tummy):
  2. In your opinion, what is the best movie ever made based on a video game?
  3. What is a generally hated movie that you openly love?
  4. What is a generally loved movie that you openly hate?
  5. What is the worst movie you’ve ever seen?
  6. What is the scariest movie you’ve ever seen…and why?
  7. Are there any TV shows you watch that you’d like to be seen made into a movie?
  8. What was the craziest experience you’ve ever had in a theater?
  9. What has been the best performance by a male playing a female or vice versa?
  10. How excited are you to watch Planes 2?
  11. If you could have any superpower, what would it be, and what would be the origin story. Because “and why?” is too mainstream.

And that’s…..it. Wow. Thanks for reading, ya’ll!

Runaway Jury (2003)

Runaway-Jury

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
My personal favorite.

As far as John Grisham movies and stories go, I think his first novel/movie, A Time to Kill is probably a solid example of who Grisham as a storyteller is. I think all around, it’s a wonderful story, and technically the best story of them all. On a personal level, it’s not quite my favorite story of his. For me, that’s without a doubt Runaway Jury. It’s Grisham’s newest feature film, so it uses modern technology as a benefit to the story, and it really works. The story is very, very well done. Oh…you’ll see. Check it out.

It’s the biggest case of the year. A public shooting in a business office that kills several people has made big news, and one of the victim’s wives has sued a gun company. A gun company. From a defense perspective, no one ever wins guns cases…but along comes Nick Easter, which changes everything. This seemingly normal guy is put into the jury pool, ending up as juror number nine. Once he’s inside, he begins doing these little things to control what the jury does, like randomly cite the Pledge of Allegiance in front of the courtroom. The idea is that he will sell a verdict to the highest bidder. The bidders being both the prosecution and defense.

If the story itself isn’t original, I don’t know what is. It’s original, and so unique that it’s hard not to check out. It’s like a very different and very cool version of 12 Angry Men. This movie focuses not so much on legal issues as it does ethics. Grisham often focuses on ethics in his stories, but this is probably the strongest movie based on ethics alone. It takes place in a court room, yes, but it shows just how much the heart rules the mind, which is ultimately how Nick Easter is able to persuade these people to do his bidding. It’s actually pretty funny sometimes, but other times it’s serious and really intelligent writing.

I’ve always been impressed with the casting of any John Grisham movie as well. Almost every time, his cast is made up with a lot of recognizable faces, like John Cusack, Dustin Hoffman, Rachel Weisz, and of course the legendary Gene Hackman in his second to last movie. The man hasn’t acted in over a decade, and that’s a shame. Anyhow, Hackman is clearly a Grisham fan, acting in not one, not two, but three of his movie adaptations. Honestly, he’s a perfect choice as a universal Grisham character. I’ve actually read other books of Grisham’s where Hackman’s unforgettable face and voice show up in my mind. He’s perfect, and this is probably my favorite performance of his in Grisham projects.

What I like about this movie is that you can watch it for a number of reasons. You can watch it for the mystery, the suspense, the characters, the case itself…anything. Even after you’ve seen it and know the answer to the mystery, you still want to go back and watch it again because regardless of the mystery the movie is just so good. The story is so good and it never gets old because again, it’s original. You don’t get a lot of movies about juries, and the ones you do get aren’t like this. Also, other movies taking place in court include jury consultants, but most people don’t even know that’s what they are. They probably think, oh they’re more lawyers or something. This movie is a good example of what a jury consultant is. Yeah it goes a little overboard with Gene Hackman’s anti-Sherlock Holmes-like character and uber-technology room, but that’s just for entertainment purposes. It’s still a super fun movie.

The Good:

This is one of the most fun John Grisham movies to date. It’s serious, of course, but the way it plays out is fast-paced like an action film, but smartly-written like a good mystery. You’ll love it.

The Bad:

Not much to report here.

Memorable Quote:

Rankin Fitch: Everybody has a secret they don’t want you to find.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Captain-American-2

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Confusing… at first.

It’s time for Marvel’s triumphant return to the silver screen. I’ll be honest, when it came to the franchise, Captain America isn’t really my favorite hero. He’s cool and all, but he simply works better with a team and in my opinion, in modern day. So the first film didn’t really amazingly impress me as much as I wanted it to. It was still a good movie, though. Then The Avengers happened, and he was a little cartoonier than in the first movie, but his character fit better among the other heroes. Now we’re finally onto Captain America: The Winter Soldier. By the way, if you aren’t watching Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., then do that, catch up on it, then watch this film. Definitely worth the time.

This sequel follows Mr. Steve Rogers in present day as he’s taking his time to get used to his environment, and that deals with past regrets and probably a truck-load of what ifs. He works for S.H.I.E.L.D., but at the same time he doesn’t really trust anyone, because of his patriotic nature. The way we deal with fear being irrational rather than logical, creating more destruction when real intervention and building a new world could happen instead. As it turns out though, S.H.I.E.L.D. is in a lot of trouble, because it looks like HYDRA is somehow back with a huge endgame in place. It’s up to Captain America, Black Widow, Maria Hill, and Nick Fury to put an end to the madness.

It’s hard not to talk more in-depth about the plot, because it’s pretty complex. It took me a good while to understand what was really happening in the movie, and even when I thought I had it figured out, a big fat “why” was still stuck in my head. I’ll be honest, I didn’t fully understand why or how all of this was happening, but I understood enough to at least follow the story as much as needed. Any doubt as to how good the actual written story is or isn’t is washed away with enough “holy crap” action, explosions, and mayhem. It’s a pretty solid movie, but I’ll try to elaborate.

Captain America. His title is Captain, and he basically never acted as one in the first movie, he did a bit in The Avengers, but his role alone shines pretty heavily in this film. He finally feels like a Captain, and his team is a pretty solid one as well. Instead of filling the screen with a bunch of superheroes that need equal focus and story, you have Captain America and Nick Fury, who seemingly both have a good commanding role. Also, it’s pretty interesting how much this film feels like a standalone sequel to not The Avengers, but Captain America: The First Avenger. It’s nice to know that they can work on their own if you’re a fan of the Cap. Same goes for the Iron Man and Thor movies.

The action is intense. Steve Rogers has really gotten the hang of being a super human. I’ll try not to spoil too much, but he has the ability to single-handedly take out a lot of people at once…without help. It’s pretty impressive, but Nick Fury, Black Widow, and some other equally important characters also have really good roles, and this film also feels natural to the world of the Avengers. This is the Marvel movie with the most S.H.I.E.L.D. influence, and you know what? It works.

There is a connection to the Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show, and it’s really important if you are a fan of that show to watch this movie before you continue watching the show.  Seriously. You’ll be spoiled if you skip the movie.

The Good:

This is a pretty solid action flick. As far as Captain America goes, this was probably his best performance in the role, because this story fit the character best. Seriously though…watch it, it’s just a lot of fun.

The Bad:

If you’re like me, it might take you a while to read into what’s actually happening. You’ll figure out the what, but the why might be fuzzy. Just try to really hone in a pay attention.

Memorable Quote:

Nick Fury: You need to keep BOTH eyes open.

The Pelican Brief (1993)

Pelican-Brief

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
True legal thriller.

A lot of people piece courtroom thrillers with John Grisham, and while that is a fair comparison, all of his books don’t take place in the courtroom. After all, he had a Christmas-centered comedy book turned movie, and he’s had a number of sports-related books as well. The Pelican Brief, however, isn’t a courtroom thriller, but it is the very definition of legal thriller. Who says you have to go to court for it to be a legal thriller? It just needs to cover legal grounds, and that’s exactly what The Pelican Brief does.

Basically, this film centers on a conspiracy. When two Supreme Court Justices are murdered, a law student by the name of Darby Shaw writes up a theory called The Pelican Brief that turns out to actually expose the real killers, even though it’s a wild conspiracy. So all of a sudden, everyone that gets close to her or knows about the brief gets killed and she’s next. She has to talk to Gray Grantham, a smart reporter, who will help her uncover the rest of the truth while keeping her from harms path at the same time.

Man oh man, what a movie. It’s a little lengthy (2 ½ hours), but it’s still an exciting adventure nonetheless. The actual brief is hard to understand, and if you wrack your brain around what the brief actually says, you’re better off just reading the book because the movie is definitely not the best place to answer that question. Instead, it was more about the idea of a conspiracy in general, and escaping the impossible. Man vs. nature where nature is telling you that you, sir or madame, are screwed. That’s what this movie is about, and that ultimately, is one of its major flaws.

We have so many conspiracy movies out there that this actually falls into the pool of the rest. If you aren’t a fan of John Grisham, you may actually find this film… forgettable, no matter how good or bad it is. However, I think it is actually a great movie, and follows the book pretty closely. Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington make this movie what it is, and you should at least watch this movie if it’s only just for them. Give it a chance. I’d like to point out that Julia Roberts character is simply a law student, not a lawyer, making her a rookie in this whole story…which is another unique trait that John Grisham likes to supply for his stories, making it deserving enough to watch.

I can see its faults though. Whenever you have a movie going over two hours, you end up with a good portion of the audience annoyed. Not a lot of people feel up to watching long movies, especially when it doesn’t make sense to be so long. Peter Jackson is obvious, his movies are going to be long, but a random legal thriller? Really? And I agree, The Pelican Brief had plenty of moments that could have been cut a little shorter. I think maybe it was trying a little hard to be like the book, and that hurt it a little, but I personally really like it and consider it a true legal thriller worthy of the Grisham name.

The Good:

This is a true legal thriller legal of the Grisham name. It has a lot of action, a lot of great acting, some really great shots, and a compelling conspiracy story that’s sure to have you on the edge of your seat. Also, for a movie over 20 years old, it still translates very well for a current audience.

The Bad:

It’s long, standing at two and a half hours. There are plenty of spots where it could have been cut shorter, the length alone could turn people away.

The Chamber (1996)

Chamber

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Kinda boring, Grisham.

As I recently stated, I’ve been going through the John Grisham movies list. I’ve actually seen most of these movies, but I can’t say I remember all of them. The three I’ve reviewed are A Time to Kill, The Client, and Christmas with the Kranks. And I just finished watching The Chamber. A few facts about this story: I do own the book, and I have read part of it…I am pretty sure I never finished the book though. I have also seen the movie, but it was so long ago that I really didn’t remember the story. So, I decided to get that out of the way and check it out once more.

The story is a somewhat interesting one, introducing us to death row inmate Sam Cayhall, who was put in prison several years ago for blowing up a building with two young children inside. The thing is, his grandson decides to represent him when no one else will. There’s some question as to if he actually did the crime he was accused of, but at the same time, it’s well known that the old man is a hardcore racist…so he’s not a pleasant man. So it raises the question that…does a crime define character if the character is already known to be evil? Basically, okay he might not have done it…but he is still a monster, and ethics say he deserves that gas chamber. So his grandson basically has a long fight ahead of him, as this is his first capital punishment case.

As I’ve said before, people often think of Grisham as the “legal thriller” writer, but not much else. I feel like I know him well enough to define his style, which is more complex than that. He loves to write stories that are compelling because they are different and have a lot of ethical questioning strewn throughout. Gene Hackman is amazing as the racist old man, but the very fact that this isn’t the release the innocent prisoner from prison…it’s suddenly a whole new ballpark isn’t it? The man is guilty, but does he deserve this fate? It is honestly a great story, I just don’t think it had the best presentation of that story.

I feel like the characters have a solid foundation, and in a different light, they could be amazing, lovable characters. But I couldn’t help but think…I don’t care about them. Either Gene Hackman dies or he doesn’t…but neither will actually affect me. It turned more melodramatic than thriller, and it just wasn’t the best movie in the world. Suddenly, I know why I stopped reading the book and why I couldn’t really remember the movie. It’s just not memorable. Plain and simple. Chris O’Donnell…ehhh he’s not the best actor in the world. He did his best, but his best just wasn’t good enough.

I’m actually disappointed because I feel like I can sense the heart of this story as if it deserves better, and I think it does. Not because it’s John Grisham, but because Grisham tells captivating stories that have a lot of heart. This wasn’t my favorite book, obviously, but I don’t think I’ve ever really run into a book of his I’ve actually hated. This movie could have clearly been better. It just…wasn’t. I’ll just leave it at that, because I don’t know what else to say.

The Good:

Somewhere deep down, The Chamber shows that all-too-familiar heart and soul John Grisham is often seen accompanied with. It has an interesting case.

The Bad:

However interesting the case is, it’s not captivating. You don’t really care how it ends, even though the whole film was about the ending. That’s not good.

Memorable Quote:

Sam Cayhall: If you spend half as much time trying to be a lawyer instead of trying to be Dick Tracy, I might not be dead in five days.

 

The Client (1994)

The-Client

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
A Grisham Favorite.

I’ve mentioned before that John Grisham was one of my favorite authors, and that I own most of his books. I haven’t exactly read all of them, but they are all pretty unique. One of the books that I have read was The Client. I’ll be honest, this was one of my first Grisham reads, and I really loved the book. I can’t recall if I saw the movie before I read the book, I just know that both are exceptionally well done because the story is really good in general. I decided that I’ll be going through Grisham’s movie collection. I’ve already reviewed a couple: A Time to Kill, Christmas with the Kranks, which leaves seven more:

  1. Chamber, The
  2. Client, The
  3. Firm, The
  4. Gingerbread Man, The
  5. Pelican Brief, The
  6. Rainmaker, The
  7. Runaway Jury

So I’ll start with The Client, obviously. The client in question is Mark Sway, a child who witnesses a suicide. This suicide is special, because the victim told Mark the location where the mob recently buried a body. That means if Mark says anything, he’s a dead man, if he doesn’t, he’s prosecuted and thrown into jail by some tough federal lawyers, one of which, is the Rev (Tommy Lee Jones). Basically, this kid has to find a way to live and not put his life in jeopardy, that’s where mother-figure/attorney Reggie Love (Susan Sarandon) comes into the picture, and she sure puts a spin on things.

John Grisham was always a god at making something previously thought of as tedious and boring into something wildly exciting and unique. A legal thriller. Surely he didn’t come up with them, but he definitely made the genre popular. When anyone thinks of legal thriller, they also think…John Grisham, and The Client is a pretty solid example as to why. I won’t go into details about the book because I haven’t read it in a good while, but the movie is definitely very well done as well. For a twenty year old movie, it still translates very well for a modern audience. There are a few goofy things here and there that feel like classic ‘90s, like some of the overacting, maybe some of the music, but for the most part…this film would work if it came out today as well.

It’s unique in the sense of a legal thriller told through the perspective of a child’s eyes. The very idea that adults are the enemy, and how things they do greatly affect children are both major themes in this film. Actually, a lot of kid-centric ideas are tossed around, like how the justice system thinks they can do anything around a kid, like obtaining evidence illegally. Then, of course, Susan Sarandon shows up and kicks things into gear. As with a lot of Grisham stories, it strives away from technicalities in order to maintain true justice, but it’s done respectively.

This is an exciting adventure thriller about family and loyalty. The actors did a great job portraying their characters, and introducing events that you can be fascinated with. If I had to say one bad thing about it, would be that some people might not understand why everything wasn’t working together on the case. Why did it have to be adversarial when they all technically wanted the same thing, for the boy to give up the information? Just keep in mind that he would give it all up if he knew that doing so wouldn’t be putting his family at risk. This kid isn’t stupid.

The Good:

This is definitely worth putting on the list of great Grisham stories, as is most of his films. The story is unique and original, and it keeps you on the edge of your seat.

The Bad:

Not a lot of people care about legal films, even if it is a thriller. Those same people typically don’t care for John Grisham novels, and their right, this movie wouldn’t do them any good.

 

Ride Along (2014)

Ride-Along

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Meh…no thanks.

Buddy cop movies…I don’t fully understand their appeal, but I could be in the minority there. Sure, there are some that I actually like (21 Jump Street), but most of them are usually not all that special…maybe okay, but thinking a buddy cop flick is really good is more of a rarity in my life. I was worried when I watched Ride Along because I didn’t even know it existed until Ice Cube showed up on The Tonight Show to promote it. Well, I mean I do sort of like Ice Cube, and Kevin Hart has his moments…so why not? Well to make a long story short…meh.

Ride Along is about these two guys, James Payton (Ice Cube) and Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) who are into law enforcement. James, of course, is the cool cop with his slick black car, black suit, and sunglasses. Ben is more the rookie type that has no idea what he’s even doing, but has a good heart. When Ben gets accepted into the police academy, he decided he wanted to propose to his girlfriend, and ask James (her brother) for his blessing. James decides to prove his worth, Ben must be taken on a ride along. He’ll throw a bunch of annoying cases on Ben’s lap and force him to quit. All of that changes, however, when the crime lord in the city shows his face and two heads are better than one.

I don’t know, you guys. I kept watching, I understood everything, I knew the messages it was trying to get across, and I could tell when all of the jokes were told, but I just didn’t click with anything. Some of the jokes were okay, but the rest were really mediocre, the heartfelt moments weren’t touching, and you just can’t find yourself caring about the characters. Even when it comes down to the two most important characters, you just can’t help but think that you don’t care…because you don’t. Look, I hate to say it, but there’s nothing special about this flick at all. You ask yourself what separates it from the rest, and you’re most likely going to end up dazed because you can’t answer the question.

I was hoping for different. The cast is made up of a decent assortment of names that you’ll recognize. None have really had mind-blowing performances in the past, but almost all have shown their potential in some form or another in the past…I don’t know, it just feels like a lot of wasted potential. Then again, it might have been doomed to begin with. Buddy cop films are becoming more and more transparent as time flies by. Successful buddy cop films are rare. I’ve seen so many in my life, but the good ones I can probably count on one hand. What it needed for success was simply some good comedic writing, and let’s be honest…we’ve seen so much better writing that this film is immediately dropped in the “Once is Enough” bucket.

I don’t mean to be mean to the people who worked hard on the movie. I mean, I can kinda tell the actors were trying their best, I can tell that the visual stuff like titles and explosions were made pretty well, but as an overall project, it’s just not enough. I’m confused as to why there’s already a sequel in the works though…I mean come on.

The Good:

Ride Along has it’s positives, like the fact that some jokes were mildly amusing. You can follow the film pretty closely, and there’s quite a few recognizable faces along the way

The Bad:

You’re going to be fighting the urge to say “Who cares” after a while. There’s simply nothing special about this film, and most of the jokes are flat.

Memorable Quote:

Ben: [breaks up a fight] Hey! You’re white, you’re white! You don’t fight!

 

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Rosemarys-Baby

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Supposedly it’s scary?

Recently, I heard about a short series that NBC is doing based on Rosemary’s Baby, and with all of my recent horror film marathons, I never actually saw the movie version. I’ve heard about it, sure, but never seen it. It’s a classic, they’ll say, but this is one of the few classic horror films that was never remade…why is that? It’s a horror film masterpiece they’ll also say, but is that really so, being in the late ‘60s? How scary can it really be? I tend to answer these questions and more in this review…but here’s a hint…it’s aged horror that doesn’t feel like horror and definitely doesn’t scare..

Alright, so here’s the story. Rosemary and her husband, Guy, move into a super luxurious apartment building in New York City. See, Guy is a struggling actor and he is trying to make it big. Meanwhile, Rosemary is…well…a woman…who does laundry and bears children, and I think that’s all she does. Anyways, they decide to have some kids, but not before they meet some of the most peculiar neighbors ever, who apparently chant at night. One night, when she is having a nightmare of an animal or beast raping her, she finds out that her husband couldn’t wait to have a kid, raped her while she slept….it doesn’t exactly put it in those words, but let’s be fair and honest. He flat out raped her. Now she’s pregnant, and things just keep getting weirder and weirder as Rosemary begins to learn the truth about her neighbors.

Let’s take a trip back to the late ‘60s. I’m sure back then people were all like – golly what a show, I sure am spooked. Now? I don’t even understand why it’s called horror other than a few mentions of witches and spells. You don’t see anything and you barely even hear anything…it feels like a ‘60s movie. With that weird, cheesy acting style… As far as horror goes, there’s nothing here to be afraid of nor nightmare-inducing. I can praise a few things about it though.

Like the fact that it is relatively original and unpredictable. I’ve heard enough about the story to know the baby is a demon spawn, but I didn’t actually know how it’d end. Part of me was expecting a similar moment to Alien with a beastly hand ripping through her stomach. Another part of me suspected it would be learned the whole thing was actually reasonably explained through insanity on Rosemary’s part. There were a number of ways it could actually end, and I was somewhat impressed with the fact that I actually had no idea what it would be. So in a way, it was like a mystery. But horror, it was not.

Look, I don’t want to trash the ‘60s too much, but the horror genre benefits off of modern technology. The plain fact of the matter is we were a lot more in tune with our imaginations back then, and it didn’t take much to spook us, so the actual tone of the movie wasn’t very important. We all know the dark tones of a horror film well, and Rosemary’s Baby, while having a dark title, was still very light toned. I’m sure it’ll scare your grandma’s pants off…so there’s that? I will say that I’m interested in seeing what NBC does with it. Short series based off of horror stories sometimes are a lot better because they can flesh out those details that made the original story that good. Plus the fact that we can make it actually feel like a horror flick is always good…maybe they’ll actually be able to do something with it.

The Good:

Guess what? This film came out in the late ‘60s, so if you are in your late 60s, it might actually scare you! Let’s be fair, the film had a decent amount of originality and a fair amount of unpredictable things that happen.

The Bad:

It is an extinct race of horror right here. I review for a modern audience, and this has very little to offer that audience. It is not scary, it’s very…’60s with some overacting and cheesy music that follows a somewhat interesting story.

Memorable Quote:

Rosemary Woodhouse: I dreamed someone was raping me. I think it was someone inhuman.

Guy Woodhouse: Thanks a lot.

Anchorman 2: R-Rated Version (2013)

Anchorman-2.5

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Blooper reel, mostly.

Back in the end of 2013, a group of friends and I went to the theater to see Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and boy did I laugh. Now, I’ll admit that out of most Will Ferrell and Anchorman fans, I was in the minority when I say that I liked it more than the first, and there’s a reason for that. Because they filmed so much for the first movie, it was split into two different movies, the first being the main one, and the second one was an accumulation of extra and alternate scenes that they tried to pull off as a completely different film altogether – not the best idea…however, the alternative cut was actually funnier in a lot of ways, it had the actual “plot” that the first never had, and it had potential all around. So obviously, the R-Rated cut of Anchorman 2 will be compared to Wake Up, Ron Burgundy! Because it is alternative takes…however, the difference is that it never claims to be a different movie, which was their main issue last time. I love these guys, and I love the humor they bring, especially when it’s ad-libbed so I had to at least check this thing out.

“This time, beloved anchor Ron Burgandy is working with his wife, Veronica in a top news station, but when their boss fires him and promotes her, they immediately get divorced, and Ron goes into depression. Not as bad as the first one, but still. He is approached by a scout and asked to be a part of a news station called GNN, which is a 24-hour news program (clearly jabbing at CNN). He reluctantly agrees and assembles his crew together to join in on his adventure. There, he changes the way news is seen forever, by showing people what they want to see instead of what they need to see. Meanwhile, he is busy trying to juggle between jobs, loves, and being a father.” – taken from the original review of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

I find it a bit silly to actually review this movie, because it essentially is the same exact thing. Same plot, same themes, same basic humor, just different jokes. The main reason, though, why I review this isn’t so much to review the movie as much as to inform the audience which one comes out on top. It’s a good question, because there’s way too many versions of this movie. There’s the PG-13 cut, the R-rated cut, and the unrated cut, and this is the longest of all three. Which one would you even consider watching? I personally would choose to watch all three out of curiosity, but the best one is probably the unrated cut (I haven’t seen that one). As far as what I heard, the unrated is mostly the same thing as the theatrical one (PG-13), just with a bunch of F bombs strewn throughout. Here’s why I think the unrated cut is probably your best bet:

The fact is, this movie is a two and a half hour long blooper reel. These directors tell the actors to just blab on and on, come up with new material on the spot and then they take the best of the leftovers and throw it in your face here, along with some never-before-seen musical numbers. Some of the jokes stick pretty well, but for the most part, the funniest bits that the actors actually do…is in the theatrical cut. That was the intention the entire time, that’s what you should see (that or the unrated). All I know is that I laughed pretty hard in that theater and I didn’t so much here.

What I think, for the most part, is that for a funny movie to be really successful, the plot works hand-in-hand with the jokes. The original version’s jokes are just so sharply-written and they work so well with the movie that it all seems right. The ones in the R-rated version were actually pretty dull for the most part, and what it did in turn, was show you just how much the actors were over-acting, especially Christina Applegate, who just didn’t seem to want to be in the movie at all, and acted really, really sarcastic 100% of the time, and suddenly her absence in most of the movie makes sense. Let’s face it, her character in the original film was one of the most realistic characters there, and she grounded the thing and made it really special. Now she was practically making fun of the thing just to get it over with and collect her paycheck.

I honestly think this version hurt the film a little more than helped it. I don’t know.

The Good:

Some of the alternative jokes actually are pretty funny, even sometimes better than the original.

The Bad:

Sorry, but I can’t ignore it. It just doesn’t work as anything more than a really super long blooper reel. If you try to take the film seriously, than you’re going to have a bad time. Instead, watch the unrated version for that purpose.

Memorable Quote:

Champ Kind: The news team is done!

Brian Fantana: We’ll just have to see how it does in the box office first.

Champ Kind: What?

 

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014)

Paranormal-Activity-4.5

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Simon…game…Ouija

I’m a cursed man, ladies and gentlemen, like the people in these Paranormal Activity movies, I am cursed. While I may not be marked for possession, I am certainly cursed with curiosity. I have so much love and respect for the first movie in the franchise that I can’t help myself from watching every movie, even the spinoff, The Marked Ones. It’s because however small it may be, there is an overall arching plot and I still have an obligation to report on how that’s going, whether or not I actually like it anymore…which honestly, I don’t really like it anymore. However, I always see a path they could take to bring it back to greatness, and even though they never do, I always hold onto the hope that they will. And here we are.

I think the point of this one was to explain a few plot holes that the last one left off, but in turn it made things quite a bit more confusing. The story revolves, for the most part, around this Latino guy named Jesse. Jesse gets bitten by a demon…or something, and he soon learns that he is marked for possession, and he starts realizing that in the meantime he has these…superpowers…or something. But the good life turns out for the horror, and he learns that his downstairs neighbor is into witchcraft, and there are some seriously weird things in her book of…power or darkness, or whatever the heck it is.

Like I said, I think the point of this film was to fill in some holes, but instead we’re left with wide-open gaps that just don’t make any sense anymore. The end of the movie was really cool because it really connected all of the movies together, but in order to actually do that, their method could be easily reacted to with “wtf”. It takes everything that Paranormal Activity was about and spits in its face. No longer is this series about ghosts and demons, but now it’s about witchcraft and….well I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s kind of ridiculous when you really think about it. Let’s just say it should have been called Science Fiction Activity instead.

Now, let’s talk about the way this was made. Usually in Paranormal Activity films, they update how it’s made. How do they change things up? How do they keep things fresh? In the fourth film, they used the X-Box Kinect as well as Skype. This film they used the GoPro camera and…a Simon game. You know that color-based memory game fun for the whole family? Yeah, they used that thing like a Ouija board, and it was the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen, and they kept doing it. I didn’t have a problem with the GoPro unit, but they barely ever used it unfortunately. Now of course, they introduced that “science fiction” subplot which really changes things up for the series, and like I said, it ruins the series totally. It’s not horror anymore. It’s science fiction and fantasy. I’m disappointed, folks. I’m sure, however, that I will be watching Paranormal Activity 5 when it comes out though, because that’s still…canon? Part of the main franchise? Not a spin-off? Heck, I don’t know what it is anymore.

I’m going to try to put it real gently. The overall arc still has potential, it can still be interesting if they do it right. It isn’t a complete lost cause. I still have interest in the series. I am disappointed, but I haven’t sworn it off quite yet. I will also say that as far as “scary” goes, the franchise is a lost cause, it will never be scary again, but the story itself can still hold interest if they do…it…right. That’s important, and I hope they don’t continue to screw things up.

The Good:

Um…Well…there was the…or maybe…the ending was kind of cool?

The Bad:

To be fair, the connection the film had to the others was respected, but it’s lost its way. The story that they are attempting to tell can be interesting still if they do it right, but I’m on edge with this franchise. I loved the first, but I don’t approve of what has been done.

 

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