Friday, January 31, 2014

I "Loved It" Monsters

Monsters (2010) PosterMonsters is an amazingly quiet and calm sci-fi road trip movie that is a must see. 

            Monsters is not an extravaganza of action at all, like, there is hardly any; it’s a sci-fi drama. It was compared a lot to District 9, though why I do not know. Yeah, they both involve aliens . . . and that's about where the similarities end. If you felt District 9 had too much action and too much aliens then check out Monsters, a well done and suspenseful sci-fi drama.

            Monsters asks a lot of the audience. You go in knowing there are aliens, you go in expecting aliens, and you don't really get them. I mean, they're there, but the movie is about the people, the couple trying to get across the border. I can see how people think of it as a metaphor for immigration and such, but look hard enough into anything and you’ll find something symbolic, whether it’s really there or not. The whole argument about emigrants isn’t as easy as “they want to cross the border”. There’s economic reasons. I’m pretty sure if the people could, they’d stay at home and work and not opt to try and cross any border illegally for work and money. The people in Monsters want to get back home. I see nothing that makes it a metaphor for people crossing the border illegally. The girl want's to get home and the guy just basically wants her to get home too so that he can be done with her.

            On the way they gotta deal with these large monsters. And that one sentence is about the equivalent of the amount of monsters you’ll see in this movie.
            The movie doesn’t need to have monsters all the time, not a lot of special effects or anything like that. A movie called Monsters, however, does rather create the expectation of seeing monsters. It’s hard to blame the advertising because there weren’t a lot of monsters in the preview either, but still, the movie is called Monsters.

            And I say all of this because the movie is a good movie, it’s just that – like my wife (my wife gave up on it after awhile. She really liked District 9 but was bored with Monsters). – people will miss out on this movie because it’s not what they expect. It’s difficult to be in the mood for a Monster movie, sit down and shift gears during the movie. It’s almost an hour into the movie before you get any Monsters, and even then it’s not really much at all. The beginning is great and really hooks you, but again it does more damage than good because the rest of the movie is nothing like the beginning, no gun shots, no crazy camera, pretty much no action. It’s a great opening but it continues the set up for disappointment. Monsters is a great movie, one that many won’t see because they’re expecting monsters through the whole movie, or they won’t stick with because they’re expecting monsters through the whole movie.

            And then the ending. Holy crap the ending of Monsters was like, lean forward in your chair and say: "Wait a minute." The ending is like the whole movie, quiet and calm, but such a holy shit moment. The ending of Monsters doesn't baby you, it doesn't drive into your head an explanation for what’s happening, it just does its thing and hopes you’re smart enough to put two and two together. If you’re not, then fine, the movie ends with no resolution and you probably won’t like it, if you do get it, then the movie ends in a pretty cool way.

I "Didn't Like It" Mandy Lane: and see if you can follow my stream of consciousness on this one.

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006) PosterWhat can I say about All The Boys Love Mandy Lane other than it is a slasher movie.

            Nothing new or particularly interesting about it, in fact I almost gave up on it, and probably should have. On the border of “Didn’t Like It” and “Liked It” this movies falls just this side of “Didn’t Like It”. It’s like The Last Stand of 80’s horror movies. (That’s not a good thing.) I don’t get the feeling that it was trying to do any sort of nod towards the 80’s horror movies other than the fact that it was pretty much a straightforward slasher movie, the likes one would see from the 80’s, as opposed to anything after Scream that would have any sort of edge to it or originality (though even the Scream movies would eventually lose all of that as well).

            So I take this movie as it is, a slasher movie, one we’ve seen many times and one of the lesser well-made kind. The movie and acting are all about what you’d expect, it’s just the story itself isn’t very good.

            I get that Amber Heard is pretty, but in this movie I do not get why all the boys apparently love her. There is nothing presented to us that stands out as an explanation for the fascination with her. To be honest, the more I watched the movie the more I found the other blonde girl more attractive, and still the more I watched again I realized that the other girl was the better of the two actresses. Whitney Able is her name, and I don't know if it was just that Amber Heard was really bored filming Mandy Lane or what; maybe she knew this wasn't a good movie so she didn't really put any effort into her character, either way, Whitney Able was acting, she was working, and in the end you're rooting for her character to make it more than you are for Amber Heard's.

            I looked Whitney Able up after the Mandy Lane movie and found that she was the girl in Monsters . . .

            How a girl who goes from Mandy Lane to Monsters is not more popular than a girl who goes from Mandy Lane to say: Syrup, is way the fuck beyond me.
            The problems with Mandy Lane stretch from the horribly obvious to the horribly impossible. Example: A girl is killed by shoving the barrel of a gun into her mouth so far that her mouth snaps open, like it breaks her jaw. It’s graphic and you see it, briefly, but it is there, and the girl goes limp. Next scene her mouth is fine, though they did manage to put a bit of blood around her mouth to show that – though she has miraculously healed herself almost entirely, she was still hurt there once just seconds ago.

            The other problem is when the one guy has his privates passionately kissed by a girl until he reaches his peak moment of happiness? Not sure if you can get what I’m saying – like she used her mouth on him in a way that would make one think that they were married, but not like for a long time married, like newlywed married, you know? Anyway, he’s feelin’ good because the ending of the thing the girl was doing was happy, right? So he goes back into the house and immediately starts hitting on Mandy Lane again! This is total bullshit. Dude would be so chill and at least need a few minutes before he was all horned up again. I was a teenage boy once, I remember how horny I was, and I remember . . . well, let’s just say I had a lot of parties that no one else was invited to except for me, and afterwards I just wanted to lay there (mostly in tears). Sure a while later I was ready to go again, but not the time it takes to walk from outside a house to the inside.

            I should also talk about the almost-kiss in the bathroom between Mandy Lane and the Monsters girl. It was very well done, suspenseful and sexy and all that, but certainly not worth sitting through this movie for. But Josh, had they kissed, would it have been worth it? Nope.

            Mandy Lane is not a good movie, unless you like unoriginal slasher movies, in which case check it out!

I "Liked It" Syrup: But only because of Amber Heard's sex appeal

Syrup (2013) PosterSyrup is a movie that you could have written. Seriously, you, reading this. You could have written this movie script.

            You’d write the story and submit it and it would never be made. Shocker. Someone else – with connections – writes the story and it gets made, with Amber Heard no less and Brittany Snow.

            Brittany Snow is hardly in it, less than the monsters in Monsters. I’m not a big fan of Brittany Snow, to be honest, but I know who she is and I have seen her in 2 other movies, both of which “I Loved It”, and one of them is still streaming. The Vicious Kind, and to me personally, Brittany Snow is more attractive in that movie than she is in this one.

            So though I did not see it for Brittany Snow, knowing that she was in it made it seem a bit more appealing. Well, imagine my surprise when an actor whose name is on the front of the movie, is barely in said movie. She’s not in it much, but she’s attractive, and that’s pretty much this whole movie. Sex appeal and nothing else.

            This movie is like the girls in it (and I use that simply because I can’t truly say the guys are attractive or not. I mean, they’re not ugly, I suppose, but I wouldn’t say they were attractive either. Let’s just say pretty much this movie is for the guys because the girls are really really sexing it up, while the guys – well, again, are they sexing it up to? I don’t think so but again, I’m a guy and I wouldn’t really know, either way . . . ) made up to look good and hide that there’s really nothing there. What it ends up doing is highlighting what’s not good and make it even more obvious that there’s really nothing there.

            The movie could possibly have been better had the actors been a bit more older. I think the movie would have had a more serious edge to it, as well as a darker one. The cast that’s in the movie makes it feel more like it’s adapted from a young adult novel. I get that’s probably what the people who made the movie were aiming towards, the kind of young people who truly believe that if they enter the workforce with nothing more than a college education and a lot of energy, the world is theirs. Hot loose women, loads of money, and all of it just willing to be plucked from the oblivious masses who are either older than you and gullible, or just not you, and so that’s what makes them gullible. The movie is full of egotism, and again, were the people older it wouldn’t have been as annoying and ridiculous as it was.

            Again, the movie is a lot of tease with no real pay off, watch a little bit of the movie to get a sense of how Amber Heard dressed up all sexy and then feel free to turn it off because it’s not gonna get any better.

            In the end I “Liked It” mostly because of Amber Heard’s sex appeal. I mean, it had moments that weren’t bad, so the movie wasn’t all around bad, but this movie was certainly helped by Amber Heard, and make no mistake this is her movie. The story and anyone else are secondary to essentially a movie that is made up to show Amber Heard off.

We "Didn't Like It" Dark Touch

Dark Touch (2013) PosterDark Touch is a disappointing horror movie that, once you figure out what’s going on, loses anything of interest. It’s well done, and at times pretty intense (it has probably the largest dead children count in any movie I’ve ever seen, and the fire at the birthday party was nicely done and very creepy) but the good scenes are not enough to carry the rest of the movie.

            They force the adults to be evil, even when it completely goes against their characters, and that’s enough to ruin the movie. How can you feel sympathy for a girl getting slapped by a woman who was nothing but extremely nice and patient with that girl the entire movie.

            When she slaps the girl it’s comical because it is so unbelievable.

            The girl’s screaming, I get it, but she’s screaming because her family is dead and she’s adjusting and you’re making her do something out of her comfort zone. She’s gonna throw a fit and freak out and you’re there to help her work through it all, not slap the shit out of her to get her to be a “good girl”. Seriously? So when the girl hears that she got slapped because she needed to be a good girl she starts to pull up her nightgown (I guess to get spanked?) and the husband and wife who have taken her in tell her to stop. She does, and right then the man says he’ll sleep in the girl’s room that night. Seriously? Maybe it’s just my wife and I, and we’re sick or something, but we thought the guy was up to something. He wasn’t, but Jesus, it was weird.

            Now my wife and I don’t make assumptions like that all the time, it’s just the way the scene was set up. From the girl almost pulling her underwear down right to the husband and wife who say stop, then to the husband who says “I’ll sleep in here with her tonight”, it was just weird and uncomfortable.

            The story could have been good and interesting and even scary (though my wife didn’t think so, and thought the movie had nothing good about it), and again at times it was on the border to being creepy but it couldn’t come back from where the poor scenes had taken it.

            I found it difficult to stay awake during the movie, though I was in and out through out the middle, I was able to track with most things, and the things I had questions about my wife who had been watching it all the way through couldn’t give me answers.

            The movie was vague at times when it didn’t really need to be, and like the lesser scenes of the movie, the vagueness detracted from what could have been a good movie, or at least a good story. The forcefulness of the movie to get we the audience to fear the girl and also feel sorry for her was successful in simply making us not believe her or any of the situations, while the vagueness of the movie kept us from understanding and made us feel like the movie was poorly edited or more likely poorly done.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I "Didn't Like It" Finders Fee: Better if left lost

Finder's Fee (2001) PosterLet's analyze this.

            This is the first summary of the movie: 

An artist finds a wallet holding a winning lottery ticket, and later, a poker game gets odd when he realizes the ticket's owner is among the players.

            And that's wrong. The guy finds the wallet, true, but the poker game getting odd has nothing to do with anything because the guy knows immediately who the ticket's owner is. Like, the guy shows up to get the wallet with the ticket in it and unforeseen circumstances keeps the guy there. The poker game gets weird because Matthew Lillard, who I like as an actor, is crazy and pretty much a dick. 

            So that was a disappointment. There’s no suspense at all. Okay. So let's say that my wife and I had chosen to go off of the second summary of the movie, which appears when you click on it taking you to the window to play the movie or add it to your queue. 

That summary says: 

This edgy drama follows young artist Adam (Erik Palladino), who finds a wallet with a lottery ticket worth millions inside. He later engages in a simple game of pokers that gets interesting when Adam realizes the ticket’s owner (James Earl Jones) is among the players. Soon, Adam and his buddies (Matthew Lillard, Dash Mihok and ryan Reynolds) are trapped in the man’s home. Jeff Probst, host of televisions “Survivor,” wrote and directed the film.

            Okay, so this one is wrong also. We’ll forget the whole “game of poker that gets interesting when Adam realizes” thing because as I said he knew it before the poker game started. Knows it the whole time! This time it says that Adam and his buddies are trapped in the man’s home, which is either wrong or poorly written because they are trapped (sort of) but in Adam’s home and not the ticket owner’s home.

            All of this is pointless because the movie is not good. It’s just not interesting, though the setup is, and I think it’s not interesting because Adam does know who the ticket owner is. If he didn’t know it would be more interesting (maybe Netflix was trying to help the movie, in which case the Netflix-written movie would have been better). My wife and I made the movie as interesting as it could be by thinking that maybe the known ticket owner wasn’t really the ticket owner. Wouldn’t that be a good twist? Sure. Obvious? You bet.

            Ryan Reynolds, though he is the only person in the Netflix picture for the movie, is barely in the movie. I mean, he’s in it so little it’s hard to even criticize his acting (It's not good.).

            It’s a poor movie all around, and it’s leaving on the 1st of Feb. I think Netflix will be better for it. (Though I do hope someone produces the Netflix proposed movie that is described as this movie’s plot.)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I "Liked It" The Falcon and the Snowman

The Falcon and the Snowman (1985) Poster3 movies from my queue are leaving Feb. 1, and The Falcon and The Snowman is one of them.

            A mid 80’s movie that was okay, even though Netflix said I’d almost love it. I ended up just liking it. The movie got better as it went along, though it was tough to get into, and I almost opted out but stayed with it. Just for some reason didn't fit well with me. Maybe it was Sean Penn, his voice was terribly irritating throughout the movie, and maybe I missed something but how did Timothy Hutton find someone to sell the secrets to? It’s like that just happened, as well as the CIA asking him to work for them from the mail room? Maybe his dad did some favors to get his son moved up but I couldn't see his dad doing that for him. Again, maybe I missed something.

            It was based on a real pair of guys, which really begs the question: If you’re gonna sell government secrets, why would you put your drug dealer/addict friend anywhere near your operation, much less put him in it? What did you expect would happen?

            I never really found myself into the main characters. I was more on the sides of their families and in agreement that they were fuck-ups.

            I tried to put myself in the position of Timothy Hutton’s dad. You raise a boy who is pretty good considering he didn't turn out like Sean Penn’s guy. Your son, Timothy Hutton (or The Falcon) is opinionated and works around government secrets that he finds out are helping America essentially micro-manager other governments around the world. He doesn't like this so he does something about it, and not just protest or make some noise, oh no, this guy, whose family is pretty well off money-wise, decides to sell the secrets.

            I could see if he was poor, or wanted to save up for a PS4 or whatever they had back then. Anyway, no, he just did it because he didn't like the way his country was acting! Not only did he love his country, but he loved it so much that when he found out it wasn't perfect he got pissed! Is that a good way to look at it? Either way he ended up betraying his country, something he says he loved. I guess we do always hurt the ones we love, huh?

            Well, like I said, I wasn't too into this movie, honestly, though the ending was good, just not as good as the rest of the movie.