Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: Prior to his death, a man sends his whiny, bitch wife letters to help her move on with her meaningless life.
Review: Goddamn was this a painful experience. In fact, this was one of the most insufferable films I've ever had to endure. Oh my fucking goodness. Don't get me wrong, there are much worse films I've reviewed, however, plenty of those were captivating in their own special way. Here, the story is torturous, boring, cliched, and the characters are unlikable with shit dialogue and delivery. Plus, the tone is way off, and there is zero emotional resonance to any scene whatsoever. This is so badly written and directed that it almost comes off as a parody of chick flicks and how stupid and unoriginal they tend to be.
I had intended to review maybe 3 other chick flicks in this time period leading up to Valentine's Day, but it took me FOREVER to get through the two hour slog of this running time. I lost track of how many times I turned this shit off simply because I couldn't take it anymore. Multiple times I considered abandoning the movie altogether. Hell, it took me 3 days just to reach the title screen!
Okay, so the heart of the story problems lie with the self-absorbed, bratty, little bitch lead character, Holly, played horrifically by Hilary Swank. This is what I meant by parody in the fact that Holly is so unlikable naturally that it's shocking the writers thought the audience would support her. She doesn't deserve her husband, she's such a big baby, even admits at one point that she was mad she wasn't the center of attention, she is a tease and a ho, is inconsistently sad and emo, and, above all else, in dire need of getting her ass kicked. Why would all these pretty boys throw themselves at her? Because the writers said so. Fuck, I'd go gay for Gerard Butler if he sings me "All I Ask of You." Badly acted and pitifully presented, Ms. Swank's performance and character remove any engagement with the story.
But what really makes this viewing experience so excruciating? It's a combination of the editing mixed with nonsensical story progression. We get multiple useless scenes, characters who add nothing to the plot, and laughable plot revelations that ultimately offer nothing to entertain the audience. However, what really puts the icing on the cake is the complete lack of emotional impact with anything. The husband dying is brushed over for whatever reason, and Holly never appears truly sad over the loss--just sad that she's alone. Where are the dramatic moments in this story? Holly breaking down at the end was laughable, and that was probably the big moment meant to hit the audience. Nope. Had me rolling my eyes and continually checking to see how much time was left. Finally, the way in which all the events wrap up, and Holly gets her last stupid letter, were lame and leave the viewer feeling cheated.
As always, I understand I was not the target demographic, but I can appreciate a good story and characters one way or another. Here, the characters have no depth, charm, or entertainment value. Worst of all, you do not feel the damn romance at all! There is absolutely no chemistry between Holly and any of her love interests. The retarded notes that drive the story forward aren't even interesting nor do they help reveal the past in a meaningful way. Realistically, this film lacks substance from the get-go yet is made worse by a lack of tone, vision, and emotional impact. The scenes feel loosely strung together with little tonal consistency as well. If your wife, girlfriend, lover, mistress, real doll, chick you're watching through the window decides to put this on...just run or fall asleep.
P.S. I hate this movie.
Notable Moment: When Lisa Kudrow's character gets utterly destroyed and then spirals into a tirade about how she deserves the best man. Bitch, the only thing you deserve is to die bitter and alone.
Final Rating: 3.5/10
Thursday, February 8, 2018
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: An extremely loose story surrounding the real-life Winchester mansion and its supposed haunting.
Review: "Winchester" is about as meh as meh can possibly come. This is a generic haunted house movie with no original ideas or scares despite drawing inspiration from an actual location. While the set designs are nice, and there was plenty of potential, the film feels too modernized instead of utilizing the 1906 setting. What should have been a classic ghost story turns into an absolute mess with predictable plot twists and contrivances that stretch any sense of plausibility. I mean, they actually defeat the evil ghost by shooting it. Yeah. So there's that.
The actual house offers countless ideas for a horror movie; it's hard to believe no one has ever tried to do the story justice in some shape or form. You might think they'd deliver here but you'd be wrong. For the most part, the house is just a prop and background dressing when it should feel like a character unto itself. Hell, even garbage like "The Haunting" remake understood this concept. Nah, screw that, we need to make room for a possessed kid character. Oh how I love little kid characters in horror movies! And goddamn is that kid ugly--like Chucky actually did become human in a Good Guy Doll. The rest of the characters are nearly as bland and cliched. BIG SHOCK...that one character lurking in the background not interacting with anything or anyone is actually a ghost! Can't be! No way! In fairness, at least the revelation was a good jump scare. Well, jump scares are all this movie has to offer really. There are maybe two scenes that could be scary in their own way, but the rest are just BOO at the screen. And two of these scenes are about a roller skate going by the screen. Yeaahhhh...a roller skate. I guess it's better than a cat.
Of course the writers decided to make Sarah Winchester some kind of benevolent medium trying to help ghosts move on to the afterlife. And, due to next level shenanigans, the main guy, Eric, can see ghosts after being shot by his wife who also conveniently haunts the mansion. There is a plot point about how Eric was dead for 3 minutes and this just really fucking annoyed me. Dead for 3 minutes...as in clinical death? This wasn't even a phenomenon in those days. And who the hell was there to monitor this time of death and resuscitation? What, did they call 9-1-1 in 1900?! Yeah, just let me whip out my telegraph, big boy. Did the paramedics show up too?! In fact, how the hell did Eric even survive this situation since they never explain it? This plot point is not befitting of the era whatsoever since that level of emergency care ain't happenin' in those days. After this, Eric somehow salvages the bullet, that didn't splinter thankfully, and creates a ghost-love infused bullet that is later used to "kill" the evil ghost. By the way, the evil ghost sure was thinking progressive since he went apeshit and blamed the gun manufacturer for his brothers being killed in the Civil War. HAH! Yeaaah, okaaaay. What kind of stupid shit is this? Yeah, an anti-gun plot point in the fucking 1880s. Sure. Plus, I love how he just goes off to heaven, hell, or Kayako-land after being shot by a magic bullet. Oh, and he caused the 1906 earthquake?! Whaaat? Man, fuck this movie.
What a waste. They would have been better off making a found-footage film about punks breaking into the Winchester house as zany antics unfold. Or, if you want to just make up bullshit, and say "based on actual events," then just set the plot immediately after Sarah Winchester died. Have people taking care of the estate and realizing it really was haunted. Have characters actually get lost in the mansion--show us this maze! Make the house feel alive. Have real tension and scares instead of roller skates and little kids. Forget dumb plot twists...just stick to a story of people getting in way over their heads. This could have easily been a memorably scary movie but, instead, is mediocre at every turn with a laughable twist dragged down by contrivances galore. This type of trash is made for the rental market only. Save your money.
Notable Moment: Those stupid roller skate jump scares. Once was dumb enough, but to do it twice was embarrassingly bad. And was this supposed to have some significance to the ghost? Hell if I know.
Final Rating: 4.5/10
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Before the dark times, before the Disney Empire.
So...in the past three months I've only put out two movie reviews. That is pitiful! At first it was just a combination of being tired from work and laziness. And it didn't help when I began a series to review but lost interest halfway in (as was the case for "Home Alone"). However, when I watched that abomination, "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," it pretty much killed my interest altogether. Seeing my favorite franchise--a movie series that shaped my writing style and thinking since I was a kid--so thoroughly ruined and destroyed...it was hard to take. Not to mention, the overwhelming incompetence in the writing and agenda-driven storytelling made me indescribably angry. Believe me, I could have written a helluva lot more in my review listing the nearly endless problems with TLJ. This single movie nearly brought my love of film to an end. Then I remembered to stop being a little bitch and have decided to carry on. I will try to get back to my usual quantity of reviews from here on out.
Connected to more reviews is that I've signed up for a service called MoviePass. Now, don't take this as any kind of endorsement. I'm just stating that the current deal is too good for me to ignore and will probably result in a lot more of my reviews incorporating new releases. As it stands, I pay $10 a month to see a movie a day. That's a ridiculous deal to me. There aren't that many good movies out to fully utilize the deal, however, it'll provide me the chance to watch things I'd typically skip over at the theatrical level. Even if they bump up the price to $20-30, it's still worth it; anything beyond that price I'd cancel though.
With February coming up, I'll see what chick flicks I can scrounge up this time around. I've mostly filled the movie void with playing PS4 so I'll have to switch gears. Good thing I'm just about done with beating "Final Fantasy VII" for the first time in over a decade. Still as incredible as the first time though! Also, I need to start thinking about a good lineup for May's Asian horror month. I haven't reviewed nearly enough Asian movies lately. As always, if anyone has a suggestion, feel free to send it to me!