Tag Archives: netflix movies

Movie Review: True Memoirs of an International Assassin

Image result for true memoirs of an international assassin movie poster free use“Why would an actual assassin write a book about being an assassin? It’s beyond stupid.”
“Or is it so beyond stupid, it’s brilliant.”

I love this line. I really do. It’s the type of insert that slithers its way into comedies, presenting a line of thought that causes a burst of joy and also drops a trinklet of apparent wisdom into the minds of its viewers. You have to take a double take and think. Would it really be stupid or is it jaw-dropping how genius it is?

True Memoirs of an International Assassin is a Netflix original that from the beginning, demonstrates this same wit and charisma.

Sam Larson, an accountant who’s dove into the cobwebs of assassination and writing, has created an alter ego for himself, one in which he feels he truly gets to live. Mason Carver is everything he’s ever wanted to be. And unknown to him, that chance at a more exotic lifestyle has arrived.

The introductory phrases of Jeff Wadlow’s Netflix special deals with vicariousness and journalistic integrity, offering both food for thought regarding ethics and some life advice that, while endlessly cliché, doesn’t seem to ever be heard by some. Do something worth your time. Live life.

These points are accompanied with a quiver of writing jabs and a parlance for dialogue that has the versatility to be both thought-provoking and worthy of a gigglefest. It’s whimsical but also odd in an amusing enough way that you’re willing to put up with it.

That’s generally the basis for Kevin James videos, to be honest. How much are you willing to endure?

You can see the prototype for Kevin James’ career in Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Is it a good movie? Hell no, but like Sandler has come to do, it tiptoes the trapeze of the funny and the galatically stupid. It hits and misses and at the end of the run, it’s up to the viewer to decide if the shooting percentage was worth their time.

What you see with True Memoirs of an International Assassin is a film that shows signs it wants to take itself seriously but then quickly retracts and goes back to being the fun, silly movie that certainly attracts younger audiences, but dampers the chords trying to be played.

This is what holds it back. Its insistence on keeping a younger audience engaged prevents it from being a tempting thriller, showcasing what can happen when life steals you away from your comfort zones and your routine that affords you the peace of mind you desire. In some ways, its failings are similar to Sandler’s The Do-Over, creating an appetizing adventure and possessive writing style that’s forced to run concurrently with ill-timed humor, interrupting the pleasant balance the film is trying to maintain. As the movie proceeds, True Memoirs of an International Assassin becomes more of an slog through comedy tropes than it does that endeavor we signed up for at the beginning. There is a direct rift between the first and second halves of this piece, one that allows its drama and personality to run freely, unleashed, and the one that feels the need to act like someone other than himself. That second part can only be viewed sympathetically for so long before the damn breaks free and that’s what comes here. Its flamboyance downplays the narrative drive and its continual detours for quick ad libs from James and crew do not provide the productivity that would warrant them. It leaves it in a run in pig slop or a tractor trying to mull through the fields after a downpour. It’s a mess and requires too much effort for too little gain. Difference is, True Memoirs of an International Assassin didn’t have the effort either.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Captain America: Civil WarDeadpoolAvengers: Age of UltronThe AvengersThe Babadook)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (SinisterOlympus Has FallenThe Cable GuyThe Cabin in the WoodsTears of the Sun)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Ip Man 2Ip ManKong: Skull IslandThe InvitationHush)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Doctor StrangeJohnny MnemonicJason BourneSuicide SquadBatman Forever)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The Great WallRobin HoodUnderworldThe Do-OverX-Men: Apocalypse)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesPower RangersUnderworld: EvolutionBatman & RobinBloodsport)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (Most Likely to DieIndependence Day: ResurgenceThe Crow: City of AngelsCenturionPlanet of the Apes)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (Avalanche SharksCatwomanThe GunmanThe VisitThe Fantastic Four)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcastSabotage)

My score for True Memoirs of an International Assassin: 57.

While certainly containing its own batch of cleverness, I can’t help but wish this was a film that took itself seriously.

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Movie Review: Beasts of No Nation

It’s been a whole month since I’ve blogged. It’s been a while.

I’m dealing with a lot of things right now. I’ve still been watching and I have written some reviews, just never clicked that publish button.

Get ready for some reviews, NFL power rankings from the last few weeks and eventually, sports reports so we can recap the best and worst performances of the year.

I’m starting up a new series called BVF, or Book versus Film, in which I’ll read a book, view the movie adaptation, discuss the highlights of both and conclude which brings more to the table.

Please remember that all of my series (Winners And Losers, Best Picture Journey, and now BVF) are side projects. With winners and losers, I’m trying to see at least ten films with each actor/actress/director before I include them and I want to make sure I write the best review of a Best Picture winner that I possibly can. BVF will be more of the same. Getting novels takes time but I will have the first installment of that series posted by the end of the week. For now, let’s get into this.

Netflix has been coming out with original content for a few years now but recently decided to take that a step further, purchasing the rights to Beasts of No Nation. This is a new direction for Netflix and hopefully one that works, because Amazon Prime and Hulu are trying to grab pieces of the online streaming pie as well.

That also means Beasts of No Nation had to make a statement with both audiences and critics and has thus far. It holds a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes based on more than 100 reviews, no small feat.

Yet calling Beasts of No Nation a beast of its own would be a lie, because as much as it tries, it struggles to bust out of the cage, that cage being the bars of creativity, original story and acting proficiency.

Director Cary Fukunaga may have worked seven years on the script, but I’m unsure where all the time went. The film is based on a novel of the same name and as we’ve seen from film adaptations lately, such as The Martian, much of the groundwork is already laid down for the visual cover. A great script and dialogue born from the pen of a natural storyteller should be expected from a film sharing material from a previous work and yet so often that is not the case nor is it here.

The truth is, Beasts of No Nation is soft. A story of survival and redemption should be gripping and its tenacity should command attention. It should parade such resolve and appeal that the breathing of its audience turns shallow, they’re so fearful of what comes next. A film based on audience alignment and experience parallels should demonstrate control and a strong compass. Beasts of No Nation, however, can barely contrive enough to keep me watching.

Dramas should want to keep its audience close but Fukunaga’s West African war creation only has the gravity to keep us where we are, not the strength to pull us closer. Like a large, unwanted boulder, we find ourselves incapable of moving this story out of the way and have no choice but to tolerate it and hope it traverses somewhere that makes our time dedicated to it feel worthwhile.

I’m being honest when I say it gets somewhere but I’m being equally honest when I tell you that point doesn’t come until the last fifteen minutes of this near two-and-a-half-hour charade. A film this long should have a huge payoff but the meal I have been presented with is mere crumbs when compared to what I’ve been teased with. A story of survival, the loss of child innocence, growing up in dire circumstances and seeing the world as it is for the first time turns out to be a film about a child who loses his family, is forced into a clan and then meanders around with things surely going on upstairs that we’re not privy to until the final scenes, which by this point is like a meal I ordered two and a half hours ago finally being brought out cold.

So should you get excited for Beasts of No Nation? No, I see no reason to but despite all of the beating I’ve given it, Beasts of No Nation is watchable. The acting stints from Idris Elba and first-timer Abraham Attah are average, no doubt limited by a casserole of a script that seems unsure what it wants to taste like. A story of survival doesn’t allow for character development as much as it allows for audience connection which is why the script’s failings are so crucial to this film’s overall success or lack thereof. Attah’s inexperience as an actor does come through at times, leaving a void in the already limited narrative.

The film’s visual storytelling is where the film hits pay dirt. The scenery and tone are constant in the visual sense. There’s no doubt where we are or what situation were in. The present is made very clear to us. There’s just no urgency to move in a direction nor an aspiration to make us feel or think about the underlying meanings that may or may not be there.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Avengers: Age of UltronThe AvengersThe BabadookInterstellarChappie)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Cable GuyThe Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (The MartianBlack Mass,Enemy at the GatesAnchorman 2: The Legend ContinuesLeon: The Professional)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Terminator: GenisysBlack SheepTwistedParkerHouse at the End of the Street)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (EverestHerculesThe SentinelMad Max: Fury RoadBlitz)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (The Lost BoysZombeaversCrankErasedI, Frankenstein)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (CenturionPlanet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The VisitThe Fantastic FourThe Boy Next DoorThe ColonyIn the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcastSabotage)

My score for Beasts of No Nation: 61.

Beasts of No Nation isn’t a great film and it’s not an average film, but Netflix could have done a lot worse with their premier film. The acting turns and detail behind the camera make for a decent watch, but it’s not one I plan to revisit.

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Movie Review: The Forbidden Dimensions

Why do I even bother?

I’ve been asking myself that question a lot during the last couple of weeks. Work has been piling on, I’ve fallen behind on some things and have had to stay up all night to catch up. I haven’t had time to relax without something looming over my shoulder.

After watching a film like The Forbidden Dimensions, I know why I bother.

There are legendary films that will live on forever, films like Gladiator, The Shawshank Redemption and Good Will Hunting. There are great films and there are good films. There are decent films, mediocre films and agonizing films, but the ones that remind me why I bother are the torturous films, films so bad, so unequivocally limitless in their unending carnage, so disastrous in everything they attempt and so genuinely overflowing with suckage, that I know a wrong must be righted and that I must take up the sword and do the deed because no one else will. There are different types of courage and I don’t consider myself a courageous fellow, but my thirst for justice is unwavering and this, my friends and fellow film warriors, needs brought to justice.

Read this plot synopsis from IMDB:
“Jack Slade was born during a solar eclipse in the year 1980. 18 years later, he finds out he has the ability to travel into the future. He projects himself into the year 2035, where society has been destroyed by a fascist regiment of psychopathic doctors that rule the wastelands, creating deformed mutants with a serum synthesized from the flesh of dead aliens. Now Slade must travel back to the year 1998 to destroy a device known as the wavelength generator, which opened the dimensional gateways to these alien beings. With the help of an army of female outlaws and a sleazy detective, Slade re-connects with the star child Khadijah, who holds the key to stopping these tragic events from ever taking place.”

Wow. Just wow.

The amount of brain cells lost during this sour escapade was in the millions between me and my seven-plus friends. All of us writhed in agony, trying to keep our brains from exploding all over the carpet. The plot alone, without regarding any other aspect of The Forbidden Dimensions, is an unsoiled example of cataclysmic abundance. A story this far gone from sentence structure or basic forms of brain matter is vileness that I won’t forget any time soon. It is a personal attack on the science fiction genre and to believe that this film belonged anywhere is absurd. Frankenstein could watch this movie and mock how hopeless it is and say, with great pleasure I’m sure, that he belonged in our society more than this derelict sampling of incompetent imaginings. If a dream to create another world, realm or time at all existed in this complexion of toxic waste, it was a dream that in physical form must have looked like a teenager who had been in five car accidents because he was irresponsible, broken all of his ribs, done every sort of drug from heroin to Nyquil, walked with a limp and a cane in the opposite hand because he was too dumb to know how to use it, a nose that had been broken every which way in numerous drunken quarrels, had facial scars Frankenstein could be impressed by and whose hands had been mutilated by fireworks like Jason Pierre-Paul. Its personality would be covered in blind hatred and stupidity, with no ability to empathize or care for another human being’s trials. This creation would be so meaningless that if Waste Management had seen it walking on the curb, they would try to load it in with the rest of the trash.

And to think, that is but one segment of this mesh of indiscernible mumbling that is so inconclusive that the term abstract can’t be applied to it.

The concept of acting was clearly not discussed nor communicated to the participants of this catastrophe. Granted, no one knowledgeable was present to do any of the communicating so they never jumped over the first obstacle: knowing what acting is.

When you watch a film and you legitimately wonder if cue cards were put next to the camera in every scene, that’s when you know you’ve found a real winner of a movie. With no emotional attachment to their lines or character ornaments to speak of, the lines might have been better off being read by Siri. Could these characters be any worse, these actors any more careless in their delivery? Speaking of delivery, I bet UPS drivers could be better actors than the people gifted with an end credit here. Lifeless and emotionless, the zombies on The Walking Dead have more life than these actors.

No hands were offered to them either. There are so many things that could be accomplished easier than reading the lines from this script and making it sound the least bit intriguing: running into a wall, skydiving into a volcano, boating along the coast of Somalia, driving across the city of New York in five minutes, jumping to Pluto and swimming to the bottom of the Pacific all come to mind. The stupid is unreal. There are internet trolls jealous of this film’s unfailing ability to stir the rage in all who view it. They probably watch this crustacean daily trying to learn its secrets.

But if there was one thing I had to peg as clearly the worst, and I mean the worst, of this ash-covered, barbed wire-infused, burnt steak covered in baby feces, it would be the camera work. In every scene, the talent’s face fills the whole screen. If you know anything about camera work, you would know what it means to highlight the center of your attention and how to shoot an effective angle. Every which way that you could find to shoot an inappropriate angle in the three-dimensional realm, The Forbidden Dimensions’ camera crew will find a way. Super close-ups, odd, clearly ineffective angles, super close-ups, poor lighting, super close-ups, lighting contrast, super close-ups, slow edits and yes, more damn close-ups, are littered through every second of this malnourished, drug-addicted demon child. A communication medium built on visual storytelling, the only storytelling going on in The Forbidden Dimensions is what it would be like being hindered by shrooms and LSD. This film hates epileptics and people with eyes, it detests people with brains and it makes the barrel of a shotgun look mighty appetizing.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Avengers: Age of UltronThe AvengersThe BabadookInterstellarChappie)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Cable GuyThe Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Black Mass,Enemy at the GatesAnchorman 2: The Legend ContinuesLeon: The ProfessionalEnemy)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Terminator: GenisysBlack SheepTwistedParkerHouse at the End of the Street)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (EverestHerculesThe SentinelMad Max: Fury RoadBlitz)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (The Lost BoysZombeaversCrankErasedI, Frankenstein)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (CenturionPlanet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The VisitThe Fantastic FourThe Boy Next DoorThe ColonyIn the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (CyborgOutcastSabotageGallowwalkersTucker & Dale vs. Evil)

My score for The Forbidden Dimensions: 9.

Beaten only by the forever engraved Alien 3, The Forbidden Dimensions is one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. Without a doubt the worst production value I’ve witnessed, this apocalyptic, time-bending contraption needs to be sucked through a wormhole and be forever lost in the abyss. I slap an Extreme Suckage on this with delight, but let it be known that is the only pleasure I discovered during this torrential downpour of molding, scab-covered rats.

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Movie Review: The Colony

Another Netflix film that proved to be a waste but isn’t that the secret of Netflix? I watch a crapfest, I go back to Netflix anyway. I think it’s a love/hate relationship.

At some point in the future (the Wikipedia page says 2045, but the film never mentions that), climate control becomes a problem. The people of Earth make machines to control the climate until one day, Mother Nature responds with snow. Forever. The world freezes over and only a select few are able to survive in bunkers below the ice.

It’s almost the exact same thing as Snowpiercer except that Snowpiercer occurred on a train and we knew why the train was created, whereas The Colony says there are bunkers because there are.

Our main star is Kevin Zegers from Air Bud. There, I said. It bothered me the whole movie. I thought I might have seen him on an old Disney TV show or something but no, it was that kid that got outperformed by a golden retriever.

Laurence Fishburne decided to tag along for this film as well, which I wasn’t wild about either. The Colony had The Tragedy written all over it.

Watching films like this has actually been depressing recently so I’m going to start watching some “real” films over the course of the next two weeks. Films that make me smile are on the agenda now. I can only make so many sacrifices for you guys. I give, give, give and now I’m taking, haha.

The Colony is the one that pushed me over the edge because geez this movie is boring, uneventful and unintelligent.

Our welcoming party is a couple of guys running down the hallway screaming with a monotone score in the background. Whoop, don’t care about them. Have fun in hell, you two.

Then here comes Sam (Kevin Zegers) to see Mason (Bill Paxton) about to kill some guy for having the flu, saying he has a choice, that choice being to walk in the freezing temperature or take a bullet.

So Mason says he’s got to protect the colony and shoots the guy despite Sam’s protests. Sam goes to Briggs (Laurence Fishburne) and tattles on Mason and Briggs is like, “We must address this immediately.” The film then forgets all about that and never mentions it again.

That’s far more information then I normally include, but it’s a prime example of how unsatisfactory this opening scenario is. Narration to drop some context feels tacked on rather than required and the “perilous” conditions that Sam consistently comments on during his monologue don’t look that sickly. What’s the big deal? Flu is a problem because of a lack of medicine but aside from that, it looks like you’ve got your own farm and garden down there. Looks like a good enough setup to me.

Substandard scripting is a fatal flaw throughout this film’s 93-minute running time. I’m thankful it was only 93 minutes though. The script was begging for a sitcom-length film.

I say sitcom length because that’s what The Colony reminded me of: a sitcom. I’m a huge fan of Two and a Half Men with Charlie Sheen. Sorry, Ashton Kutcher, but the show isn’t the same without “Duh, Winning” Sheen.

If you haven’t watched this show, I guess you won’t get this reference but Charlie (the character Sheen plays, not Sheen himself) in my opinion, was one of the best comedic acts of the last decade. A dirty sense of humor and an unabashed personality, Charlie welcomed the spotlight like a greedy kid on Christmas and bloomed in it.

However, Charlie was not created in thirty minutes. I only watch the show on re-runs on TV so I have no way of knowing what the show was like at the very beginning but I think I can safely assume that it wasn’t amazing but was adequate enough to keep people around.

The reason I’ve always preferred movies to television shows is because it takes so long for shows to form characters. TV shows bring events over the course of a day or two in a 30-minute segment, including commercials, so really it’s like 22 minutes. It’s a long and tedious process. Which details about this person am I including in this episode or am I just delving into some good ole’ entertainment? How do the writers demonstrate this trait in under 22 minutes because it’s unlikely this character will have the screen to himself for all of the episode?

TV writing is a delicate process and also a tedious one for the audience. Television drags on into four or five seasons minimum, meaning people like myself are pouring hours upon hours of our time into the product. So, when our story turns to gunk, like Lost did in its latter seasons, it’s not just depressing. It’s offensive. If a bad movie is like slapping the audience in the face, a TV show that spirals to hell is like a stab in the jugular. “Not pleasant” does not accurately describe this experience.

I watch movies specifically because I actively avoid being stabbed in the jugular. I can sustain a slap. A stab in the jugular? Well…

When I watch a movie that forgets what form of media it’s in, I get disconcerted. Makes the crew look like they don’t have a clue what they’re doing and more often than not, that’s the case.

A movie is afforded the time to develop a character in a little over two hours, which in my opinion is far more difficult than producing a character over the course of multiple seasons. Imagine marrying someone after knowing them for two hours? Sounds rash, doesn’t it? You’d prefer marrying someone after knowing them for a few months, wouldn’t you?

That’s an accurate analogy to the movies vs. the sitcoms. If you prefer being rash, you pick the movie. If you’re more careful, you pick the TV.

It’s just an analogy and I would never recommend marriage after two hours, but that’s the task scriptwriters are gifted with. This isn’t peas and carrots. It’s more like doomsday clocks and ink pens.

I understand the tripwires and minefields involved in script writing but completing something this reprobate is disrespectful to my time and my intelligence. Don’t understand why everyone wants to slap me.

Ironic as it may be, it still sickens me that the characters in The Colony held the same interest over me as the snow blizzards, which involved some rushed sound editing. My ability to genuinely not give a worm-filled apple for this film proceeded unhampered throughout and once again I can add another loss to Laurence Fishburne’s record. If you don’ understand this reference, in the coming weeks, I’m going to write win-loss records for a bunch of actors/actresses/directors, with a win meaning their performance was great, memorable or didn’t brew angst in me and a loss meaning the exact opposite- eternal damnation. Fishburne’s been in eternal damnation quite a few times with me.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (American BeautyGone GirlMulanGuardians of the GalaxyDawn of the Planet of the Apes)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2Young Guns)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too.(SnowpiercerThe FamilyWhen the Game Stands TallBlack Hawk DownRed Dawn(2012))

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (TwistedParkerHouse at the End of the StreetThe RavenDead Snow)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (RageZoolanderThe Expendables 3HomefrontG.I. Joe: Retaliation)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (ErasedI, FrankensteinThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesBilly Madison)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (CenturionPlanet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege TaleThe GreyX-Men: Days of Future PastThor: The Dark WorldThe Sum of All Fears)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (SabotageGallowwalkersTucker & Dale vs. EvilSafeWatchmen)

My score for The Colony: 26.

The film suffers from seemingly uninvolved director Jeff Renfroe, but the woes don’t stop there. The characters are like paper-thin napkins trying to conceal a clearly soiled table and no acting prowess is unfurled for something that is this much of a shenanigan. That, along with some blatant foul plot points, makes The Colony a “wow, just wow” burrito of unprocessed ingredients.

*SPOILER ALERT* IF YOU DON’T WANT THE MOVIE SPOILED, STOP READING!!!

*SPOILER’S EDITION*

Now let’s talk about these failing plot points!

The colony receives an S.O.S from another colony that they’ve been keeping in radio contact with since this all started. Sam, Briggs and another character of zero importance leave the colony and go on a one and half day journey to rescue those who may still be left and discover what all went wrong.

And the big reveal is: cannibals. Yep, that’s it. Just cannibals. No crazy monsters or aliens or a disease or arctic zombies or rabid animals. Just cannibals. Feeling the letdown already.

How the cannibals got there is sketchy too. A signal is sent over the airways that a heat spot has begun. This random dude on the camera shows that there’s soil and of course if there is soil, that means there’s a chance for new life. So this colony, colony 5, led an expedition to where the signal originated and the search party never returned. The cannibals found their tracks in the snow and followed them back to the colony where they proceeded to kill everyone.

Of course, one major flaw with that: IT IS POURING SNOW ALL DAMN DAY 24/7! Unless those cannibals were able to track miles in less than an hour, they would have lost the trail and frozen to death, which also makes you wonder where they were before this illogical convenience dropped itself into their lap but I guess that’s not important.

So the character of zero importance is killed by the cannibals and Sam and Griggs escape through a large windpipe the size of a coaling factory exhaust  cone and drop a bunch of dynamite down there so they can’t follow. They take shelter in the night inside a medical evacuation helicopter next to a bridge to get to the other side of a thousand foot drop canyon. Keep in mind it is pouring down snow hardcore and it’s freezing. Sam and Briggs have passed many people frozen to death in the snow.

The next morning they wake up, come outside and pull out their binoculars and look at that, here come all the cannibals.

IT HAS BEEN A SNOWSTORM ALL NIGHT LONG, IT’S BEEN PITCH BLACK AND YOU DON’T HAVE ANY DAMN FLASHLIGHTS!!! Does a lust for human flesh make you nocturnal?! Like, what?! It’s also important to mention that if you’re a cannibal, apparently you can’t speak because there’s no dialogue spewing out of any of these guys and the leader is bald and doesn’t wear a hat. I don’t care if you think that’s cool or not, producers, that guy’s freezing to death.

Briggs gets Sam to the other side of the bridge and then sacrifices himself, demolishing the bridge with a stick of dynamite.

Sam gets back to the colony and the cannibals somehow track him. I guess they just long jumped that 100+ foot gap but at this point, who really cares?

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Movie Review: Erased

I’ve got quite a few drafts I’m working on right now and I’m churning them out the best I can.

Erased is up next and I watched this because again, I was tired of looking at it on my “Top Picks for Tim” list on Netflix.

Erased, known as The Expatriate outside of the U.S., stars Aaron Eckhart in another film he shouldn’t be in.

Aaron Eckhart, why do you keep doing this to yourself? Eckhart continues to find substandard roles to follow the upper-caliber talent he expressed in The Dark Knight as Harvey Dent, easily his best performance. Another half-baked character and father-daughter relationship that I can add to the list “Times Netflix has wasted my life.”

Ben Logan (Eckhart) works for a technology company in Belgium with his daughter Amy, who until recently never knew him. As always the other parent has died after “getting sick” and now Eckhart has some new obstacles in his way.

A quick sidenote: If I had a $100 for every time I watched a movie where one of the kid’s parents “got sick”, I’d be able to payoff a semester of tuition. It is one of the most overused clichés in film today. Come up with something creative or better yet, just don’t mention it. I don’t need to know what happened to the mother. It’s not important. She’s not here and that’s all that matters. Stop throwing it in there. Assuming that’s the case is fine if you want to but don’t waste screen time talking about dead parents. It’s not building connections with the material or the parties involved. Move on.

I’m sorry, but man does that bug me. Anyway, Logan notices one of the products he’s working on has a patent not registered with the company and when he lets his superior know, everything starts getting weird. However, before I talk about what’s getting weird, let’s have Logan accidentally give his daughter a cookie with peanuts in it and visit a hospital, which will somehow play into the happenings later on or just act as a brief intermission. The next day, he goes to work and the office is empty. Everything is gone. Something that doesn’t make sense in this introductory clause is he decides to bring his daughter to work with him for some reason. He was going to pick up a delivery so I assume it was meant to be an in-and-out thing, but why does she need to be there? Earlier in the film, Logan sees his daughter is struggling with school and he lectures her about the need to keep her grades up but his solution to getting her to improve is to have a “bring child to work” day? Doesn’t make any sense to me.

That’s all the plot you’re going to get from me and you should be grateful I don’t say more. Might put you to bed.

One example of this film’s incoherence is Liana Liberato. Apparently she won a best actress award for a drama flick called Trust and was even praised by critic Roger Ebert, but Liberato wouldn’t be allowed on my high school stage. Nearly everyone mentioned Liberato’s lifeless acting in the Netflix reviews for this and I couldn’t agree more. Her character, Ben’s daughter Amy, is meaningless to the plot and does nothing but whine all the time. At times, it replicates relationship turmoil that can be found in the daytime soap opera of your choosing. It’s uninviting dialogue and far too choppy a script to accomplish much smiles for the audience. Director Philipp Stolzl has no sense of humor, allowing no quick comedy or lightheartedness to take place between the two, which might have eased the awkwardness audiences are sure to feel whenever Liberato tries to put on a serious face. The pitch of the film seems to be in an uncomfortable range because it never flows right. Scene transitions make this story pace like the heartbeat of an adrenaline-filled rabbit, which is counter-productive to establishing surprise or apprehension. Stolzl is in such a hurry to get this film over with that he ignores the opportunity to highlight Eckhart’s narrative voice and doesn’t create any impactful dialogue for Ben and Amy to share.

Yet to say the film is up-tempo would be a lie. Events unfold at a brisk pace but time proceeds in such a lackadaisical fashion. Removed of build-up and without deciphering a theme, Erased leaves you feeling empty.

The concept of having your life erased was a good starting point, but it was downhill from there, especially when they brought Olga Kurylenko into this. I’m unsure how she maintains the title “actress” because she cannot perform. She’s so lifeless in everything I’ve seen her in aside from Centurion, but that was because she was a mute and had to demonstrate some emotion so she wasn’t standing still like a mannequin. She needs to stick to modeling and stop picking up scripts all together. Her character is only an expanse of an overused story cliché.

The whole script was underdeveloped and that left Eckhart shouldering the film. Any entertainment you get from Erased will probably be from Eckhart, but I doubt you’ll get much from it. The plot’s overly symptomatic of other thriller films such as the Bourne trilogy and is comfortable wearing the coats of those before it.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (American BeautyGone GirlMulanGuardians of the GalaxyDawn of the Planet of the Apes)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2Young Guns)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too.(SnowpiercerThe FamilyWhen the Game Stands TallBlack Hawk DownRed Dawn(2012))

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (TwistedParkerHouse at the End of the StreetThe RavenDead Snow)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (RageZoolanderThe Expendables 3HomefrontG.I. Joe: Retaliation)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (I, FrankensteinThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesBilly MadisonA Haunted House)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (CenturionPlanet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The GreyX-Men: Days of Future PastThor: The Dark WorldThe Sum of All Fears)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (SabotageGallowwalkersTucker & Dale vs. EvilSafeWatchmen)

My score for Erased: 41.

Over the last week, I’ve watched Twisted, The Frozen Ground, Stolen, In the Name of the King and this. Twisted was the best of the group so if you’re looking for some decency, I’d go with that. As for Erased, erase it from your memory.

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