Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Houses October Built 2 Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: The pointless continuation of characters seeking an extreme horror experience.

Review: Right to the point: do NOT waste your time or money on this trash. I went easy on the first installment since I appreciated the originality within the premise. This time around, however, we simply get a complete recreation of the first film except dumber, making less sense, and removing all stakes involved. I mean, it's quite baffling how anyone would think such stupidity would work. We've seen plenty of unnecessary sequels over the years, but this is, maybe, the first instance where the story simply says everyone is back to life after dying the first time around. If you can just bring dead characters back to life how the hell am I supposed to be invested in the events the second time around? Why would I ever consider any character in danger? This is moronic on a totally different level.

So, yeaaah, remember how the characters all appeared to die or were in the process of dying? Well, none of it was real and they're all alive. Hooray. Better yet, none of them are bothered whatsoever and carry on like nothing ever happened. Good one. Oh, sure, they try to address this outlandish series of events by the end, but, c'mon, this is fucking retarded. The only character that was bothered by the events was the chick of the group, and they later imply this film and the previous one were just about fucking with her. Whaaaat? Why? No one would be this mindlessly cruel to a friend for no reason. And if everything was orchestrated, then how does this dumb, underground movement of omniscient psychos fit into this plot line? Argh. The story beats are exactly the fucking same as the first movie. Once more, half the movie is just filler advertising for real life attractions across the USA. This is unforgivable to do twice over. The twist at the end is painful to behold, makes no fucking sense, and is an insult to the audience. Everyone is just doing this shit for money...or something. UGH. Give me a break. And are these psychos supernatural or what? How does that one jackass hold on to a RV for a whole trip? Oh whatever, dude.

I could go on all day with how idiotic this film is and why it has no reason to exist, but I'll spare you the details. Needless to say, this movie is pure garbage from start to finish. It's just a rehash of part one except lamer and removing any sense of tension. Seriously, if any writer will resurrect characters casually, why would an audience worry about their well-being? This might not be the worst sequel around, yet, it's sheer pointlessness puts it into the shitacular category--we're are talking on par with entries from the horrendous "Witchcraft" franchise (which I really don't want to EVER review). Obviously, avoid this shit this Halloween and stick with the numerous other films I've covered over the years.

Notable Moment: I guess when we see a Kobayashi cameo for no real reason. Since he's been kicked out of the Nathan's hot dog eating contest, the guy needs to keep busy somehow I suppose.

Final Rating: 3/10

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: When giant robots begin to attack cities all over the world, it's up to Sky Captain to save the day!

Review: This is a hard movie to review since it was basically made for an audience that doesn't exist. The visuals are certainly a draw for those that appreciate filmmaking itself, however, the story is a simplistic action-adventure intended to imitate Golden Age comics, radio shows, and film serials. Most people, myself included, are nowhere near old enough to have experienced any of those things firsthand during their zenith. Don't get me wrong, not having the working knowledge doesn't mean you can't enjoy "Sky Captain," it just means the average moviegoer was never going to see the initial appeal.

The good: the "futuristic" version of the 1930s was a cool concept. In fact, it would have been awesome had they simply set the film in modern times but implied the 1930s aesthetics never ended. Nevertheless, the visual designs were spot-on representations of how media of this era would depict sci-fi--from the clunky robots to the ray gun to the nosy reporter. I especially loved how radio waves are shown to be almost magical in the way that computers could do pretty much anything in '80s fiction. While I didn't think the actors were the best picks for their roles, they were basically fair representations of the time; I guess it's mostly Jude Law that should have been replaced with someone less pretty boy and more square-jawed every man. The usage of a mad genius with an over the top, take over the world scheme was also perfect. It's hard to properly express the positives since the filmmakers captured the era's visuals, its tone, its characters, and the sensibilities so damn accurately; the ultimate tribute.

The bad: First off, that title is terrible and a mouthful. Yeah, it has that cornball vibe to it that you could imagine on a comic book cover, but movies with ridiculous titles are notorious for bombing. I understand that it was going to be nearly impossible to create a movie like this without CGI, yet, did it need to be this extreme of a degree? There are ways this could have been accomplished with practical effects--easily masked effects due to the sepia coloring. The most important detractor is the basic and hallow story which lacks any true twists or turns--we just jump from adventure setting to adventure setting. There were also lots of stupid little things that bothered me like calling World War I, well, World War I. No one called it that until much later when there was actual context to refer to it as the first world war. Or something as stupid as CONSTANTLY cutting to Penny's camera to show the audience how many shots she had left. We get it! And the joke was dumb from the start. I don't know, this just a sense of boredom within the film itself.

Overall, "Sky Captain" is actually a pretty good movie and especially enjoyable if you have an appreciation for the era the filmmakers are recreating. Unfortunately, the casual audience viewer isn't going to understand the point and will likely be unimpressed by the generic story line. Sure this movie is probably 75% style to 25% substance, but I wouldn't sell it that short. There are still flaws present, however, those can be overlooked readily. I think what would have really made this an experience would be if the filmmakers spent more time building up the mystery and added a twist or two rather than playing it completely by the book. Yes, you want to be faithful, but at least know the audience you're trying to reach. With that said, I can see this growing significantly more popular in the future once the right audience discovers it.

Notable Moment: When Gwyneth Paltrow gets knocked the fuck out! About damn time someone shut her up.

Final Rating: 6.5/10

Thursday, September 21, 2017

They Wait Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: A mother must rescue her son from the clutches of evil spirits during Ghost Month.

Review: "They Wait" is somewhat reminiscent of an East meets West production, however, it's more of a Western take on a traditional, Chinese ghost tale. Unfortunately, the general premise is severely lacking in depth, and the story is flimsy and loaded with cliches. In one respect, the filmmakers are trying to tell a captivating mystery while simultaneously presenting this undying mother/son bond...both of which come off as weak. This doesn't mean the film is inherently bad as much as it's simply mediocre in every single regard. There is nothing unique whatsoever, and the characters are presented as complete idiots often times. For example, we are to believe that a woman living in Shanghai and married to a Chinese guy for years doesn't know what Ghost Month is?!

To put things succinctly, this film plays out like "Stir of Echoes" set in Chinatown. There is a wannabe, creepy ghost running around that wants her murder solved, yet, figures the best way of doing this is to capture the soul of the main chick's son. I get that they wanted stakes--what with Ghost Month's ending resulting in the kid dying--but, come on, this isn't a sympathetic ghost. On top of that, the cheap levels of production don't offer up anything interesting in the way of a ghost world or demons. In fact, the events of the story wrap up fairly quickly with little action or scares along the way. Of course, the realization that many of the background characters are evil and covering up a murder is beyond predictable. There is simply this vibe of pointlessness to the movie. It's not that the filmmakers really screwed things up as much as they couldn't do anything worthwhile. The ghost is not even scary looking when she could have been played up more.

Overall, "They Wait" is a missed opportunity. The primary mystery is generic and by the books, and the resolution is achieved too easily. The difficulty of rescuing the son should have been the film's top priority and took the time to depict a true world of ghosts. Maybe playing it safe with a Kayako-clone might have had a better impact as well. However, my biggest gripe with the film is the cliches. A random old guy who knows everything, family members who can see ghosts but don't realize it, ghosts that can't just be upfront with what they want, lazy writing with family members covering up the sins of the past, etc. It's just one, big cliche-fest. I can't really recommend something like this despite my appreciation for the effort.

Notable Moment: The whopping two scenes with Michael Biehn. Dude, what the fuck are you doing? How do you go from Reese and Hicks to this?!

Final Rating: 5/10