Rapid Review: 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

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“People are strange creatures. You can’t always convince them that safety is in their best interest.”
– Howard

SYNOPSIS: After getting in a car accident, a woman is held in a shelter with two men, who claim the outside world is affected by a widespread chemical attack. – via IMDB

10 cloverfield lane

GRADE 8Alright, so we all know I wasn’t particularly sold on Cloverfield, much as I had  hoped I would be. When I saw 10 Cloverfield Lane, I wondered if they had anything to do with each other, and then saw that it was some type of sequel/prequel, but not, and no found footage, and it seems that it interested people. Naturally, that piqued my interest and I got off my butt and watched this. Finally. Let me tell you, it was totally worth the wait. John Goodman was perfectly menacing and creepy, and was certainly a strange, twisted character. Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher Jr are both also really good here. The cast is essentially just the three of them, and they each carried their weight just so, making the dynamics worth a watch. 10 Cloverfield Lane will also keep you guessing throughout the film – is Howard cray cray? Is Michelle being held captive or is there really some attack going on out there? How exactly does Emmett fit in? Who is right? Who is wrong? Who do you trust? Come on, the questions go on and on. I went in hoping that this would be alright, and it was much better than expected. There was never one dull moment for me, and the tension in the bunker was ongoing, and never really let up. I don’t really want to say too much about this movie, because I really don’t want to spoil it. All I know is that the movie was put together really well – it was shot well, the performances were solid, the guessing games were mad, and the sense of confusion was real, because knowing what is going on is incredibly obscured throughout the film. The most important thing to know is that 10 Cloverfield Lane is entertaining, that it is done really well, and is worth looking into.

Rapid Review: Final Destination 3 (2006)

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“Ok, what if, for example, the last in line were to make the utilitarian choice. Kill themselves. Well, wow, that’s pretty much gonna ruin any plan Death’s put in motion. And even better, I think that’s gonna save, five skipped lives. Any takers?”
– Ian McKinley

SYNOPSIS: A clairvoyant high school senior has a premonition of a fatal roller coaster accident at an amusement park that involves her and her friends. Her vision prevents her and her friends deaths, but the unseen forces of darkness once again set out to kill the survivors that were supposed to die in the freak accident. – via IMDB

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GRADE 6.5Another film down! This was the last of the actual decent ones, if you ask me. The next installment is absolutely terrible! But this one? Still had things going. Yeah, still some cheesy effects, but not as bad as some of the others. Also, this one, while following the recipe, just felt a little different. I don’t know if that just boils down to it looking better overall. Let’s go with that. Final Destination 3 had some brilliantly gross and creative deaths in it, and I know one that particularly stands out is the tanning bed debacle, because really, that was some sick stuff right there. Eeeeew. Also, the nail gun death was also pretty nasty, and worked. Come on, we all know we watch these movies for some strange, complicated deaths and all, sketchy effects aside. You know, typical of a horror movie I can’t really complain of things that would be important in a normal movie. Example? How Wendy and Kevin weren’t friends to start with, and then after both losing their partners, they get really tight. I get that nothing brings people together faster than tragedy, but there was no way that it was built up, put together cleanly, just suddenly happened. But that is a typical horror film for you, logic is not the most important thing, the gore and death and fear is (though really, if you worked on it more, the fear would seep in better and linger longer, but then it is no longer a popcorn flick because it has substance). I also wasn’t a big fan of the concept of the photos showing how everyone was going to die. Sure, it was different from the others, and sure, it didn’t show exactly how they were going to go, but instead of the clues being hidden in other places, they were smack bang right there in the photos, and only there. Anyway, it was another fun watch, maybe not as good as the last two,  but not bad.

Rapid Review: Live Free or Die Hard (2007)

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“You know what you get for being a hero? Nothin’. You get shot at. You get a little pat on the back, blah, blah, blah, attaboy. You get divorced. Your wife can’t remember your last name. Your kids don’t want to talk to you. You get to eat a lot of meals by yourself. Trust me, kid, nobody wants to be that guy.”
– John McClane

SYNOPSIS: John McClane and a young hacker join forces to take down master cyber-terrorist Thomas Gabriel in Washington D.C. – via IMDB

live free or die hard

GRADE 7This one was actually much better than I thought it was going to be. It was also smarter than I expected, but it had some immense flaws. However, and I am about to get crucified for this I am sure, this is the best sequel I have seen of the lot. It was quite modern, and Bruce Willis manages to entertain us, even having moved along in the years. I maintain, McClane has the most ungrateful brats, really. I mean I know he must have screwed up and he is a bit cuckoo and all that, but he has always tried to do his best for his family, though it evidently didn’t work well. Though it would seem that is par for course for law enforcement. Anyway, even Justin Long wasn’t too bad here, and I didn’t feel like rolling my eyes whenever he got on screen. Mary Elizabeth Winstead had her moments where you could just tell she was totally McClane’s daughter. Watching everyone panic about the world economy crashing was quite interesting, too, because I cannot think that that would be a fun day ever. Timothy Olyphant’s Thomas Gabriel was also a more interesting villain, but fell short of the mark at times. The story was engaging and the action was exactly what you would expect from a Die Hard film – slightly ludicrous but quite gratifying. One particular scene involving a jet and a truck on the highway was too ridiculous, so I can’t really say I was willing to suspend belief that much, even though the entire plot is quite silly. The scene is question was just over the line for me. I think the biggest thing is turning your brain off when you are watching this, otherwise the nitpicking will completely ruin the viewing experience. Unless you are watching with someone you can rip the plotholes with, I think that could be fantastic. I don’t quite understand why this movie gets so much flak – it is fun, it is entertaining, the story isn’t bad, there are some solid performances here, and it looks good. This is certainly one that I would watch again sometime, though I am certainly in no hurry to do so.

Review: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

“History prefers legends to men.”

This was something that I had wanted to go and see in theatre but never got around to, and I am thinking it might have been for the best. Last night, after studying, I figured it would be nice to chill out and watch something. I am always on this mission after I see an awesome movie (my last being The Amazing Spider-Man), like the quest to see another great one is highly tangible. Very seldom, however, do you find that next elusive one.

So it began. It did not look like a particularly low or a high budget movie, but it was watchable. I found the acting to be particularly stiff. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who played Mary Todd Lincoln, for instance, should have stuck to multicoloured hair and a blasé attitude. The role was very unbecoming for her, and her acting abilities certainly did not escalate in my eyes. It frustrated me that there was no real character growth, and the story was a little bit scattered, and the plot was just ridiculous. Nothing one could not follow, just not something you would like to. The amount of CGI in the movie was also insane.

The thing that got under my skin the most? The way all vampire lore and mythology was completely desecrated, but at least not yet to the point of glitz, glam and sparklies. I guess if you are not particularly clued up on it, it will be fine to watch. But it all got to me. Daywalkers, sunglasses and sunscreen, the inability to kill one another… oh my, the worst is how they are turned! No blood exchanged, nothing as intricate as that!

I felt that this could seriously have been executed better. I have yet to read Seth Grahame-Smith’s book (I decided to only read it after the movie, I wanted to see this as a first time viewer). The concept was interesting (to me, anyhow). I liked the idea of an excellent president by day, advocating for freedom, fighting war, yet turning into the slayer of evil by night. That they didn’t quite get to gel properly. They did, however, get Benjamin Walker to look quite Abe-like as he aged. I understand that this was supposed to be slightly comedic, but I missed that mostly due to other disastrous elements.

I loved how the action scenes were done, particularly the fight sequences. I thought it was excellent how they took Abraham Lincoln into battle, and captured the essence of the cloak billowing fiercely and axe shining and moving as though an extension of him. That was selectively done and it was done well. In those scenes you can distinctly see the input of Timur Bekmambetov (who directed Wanted). For instance, the fight scene between Lincoln and the undead when he went to save his oldest school friend, Will, was an impressive one to watch, although I would love to know how you do handbrake turns in a carriage!

I would score Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter 4.5/10. The movie was a bit of a let down, considering the poster’s speak of greatness, the artwork was well done, and the previews looked decent. The story was dreadful, the acting atrocious, there was no real chemistry between any of them… I don’t know, it just didn’t impress me, and was really not worth checking out at all. I really could have utilized this movie’s time on something far more productive.