Review: Pitch Perfect (2012)

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“John, a change of pace could not come soon enough here for the Barden Bellas. This is not a great way to start their season.”
– Gail

SYNOPSIS: Beca, a freshman at Barden University, is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school’s all-girls singing group. Injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus competition. – via IMDB

I was roped into watching this years ago and I wasn’t overly impressed with it, but since there are three of these things now and I was out of things to watch and I wanted something that required zero commitment from my side, I decided to give these a shot and see why people love them. Honestly, I still can’t see it.

Granted, I’ll give Fat Amy her due because stopping those twig bitches in their tracks was pretty sharp. Now, aside from that, all I could picture while watching this was Anna Camp as Sarah Newlin, telling Jason Jesus was alright with them boning. That is all that woman is ever going to be to me. The rest of the cast is alright in a totally bland and generic way, except Rebel Wilson who, of course, puts herself right out there – not necessarily with good lines or great jokes, but she just gets so into it you can sort of deal with having her around. Not all of the music in this movie was created equal, and some of it was really not that good. A lot of it was tired.

The humour wasn’t always to my taste, I found it just a bit icky, too, what with body and toilet humour, but I guess you can’t really expect more. There were also too many racist and sexist jokes thrown in here. I was totally let down by the lack of eye candy – for reals, the movie is just okay, but I didn’t even have something to look at and make it halfway okay. The story is completely generic and super bland, bringing nothing new to the table. It is ridiculously cheesy (and not the cool type) and incredibly predictable. Also, then there is Adam DeVine, and I don’t get why people like him. I find him to be annoying as hell.

Anyway, when all is said and done, Pitch Perfect isn’t really my scene and wasn’t that great. Oh well, I tried, and it totally ticked the boxes for me for a brainless, easy watch.

Review: American Satan (2017)

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“Okay, okay, fine. So, what else do you do?”
– Ricky Rollins

SYNOPSIS: A young rock band, half of its members from England and half from the U.S., drops out of college and moves to the Sunset Strip to chase their dreams. – via IMDB

So we were recommended this by a fellow metalhead friend, so naturally my husband and I were sold. We love metal, we love movies, we had hope. After watching the trailer, we thought that this was a pretty solid looking movie. So we hopped up for American Satan, and ultimately it was a really mixed bag for us.

While watching, my husband and I were a bit let down by the music. It’s just not our type of metal – which is not to say that this is bad, it just isn’t our cup of tea. I still commented that it reminded me of that angsty, screamo type stuff like Black Veil Brides/bands of that ilk. I then found out after that Biersack is the BVB lead o.O So, there was that. But anyway. Moving on from the music – the movie itself wasn’t too shabby. I mean, it escalated really quickly, from like “we’re in L.A. and we are going to do what we must to make it”, to “fuck yeah, lemme kill that dude and sell my soul to Satan for fame”.

Naturally, you can’t look too closely at the logic in a movie like this, even though the escalation was super rapid and super extreme. I did like watching how the band went from one thing to this huge beast, and it was interesting to see how it all plays out, how the band influences the masses, etc. Naturally what follows is the expected debauchery and insanity of a big rock band on tour. There are plot holes, for sure, but for the most part, just sit back and go with it.

So not all the acting was top notch or perfect in this, and there were times where it was a little cringy and awkward, but it still worked. I liked watching certain friendships, and I liked the fact that this movie didn’t look like some really cheap movie – which is good. A lot of times, movies like this won’t necessarily look like films that had money to play with. So it looks good and it doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t, and I liked the satire it presented on the music industry peppered throughout.

I was looking forward to this after hearing about it, and while it didn’t necessarily deliver all the goods, it wasn’t an awful watch. The music might not have been my jam, but it was nice to see a metal movie. It’s worth a look see, at the very least, if you are into metal.

Review: John Wick 3: Parabellum (2019)

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“Are services still off limit to me?”
– John Wick

SYNOPSIS: Super-assassin John Wick is on the run after killing a member of the international assassin’s guild, and with a $14 million price tag on his head – he is the target of hit men and women everywhere. – via IMDB

Okay, so this is something I have been looking forward to since John Wick 2, because I love the hell out of these movies. The first John Wick blew my mind, and I have been hooked ever since. We hopped off to see this on opening weekend and, naturally, had a good time.

John Wick 3 is teeming with action. The movie picks up immediately after the conclusion of the last movie, and it never really slows down in between. There is an absolutely fantastic knife fight in the beginning that I had a really good time with. Later, we also have Halle Berry and her badass dogs knocking about, and it all works. Obviously this movie is beautiful to look at, they have all been. Story wise, it offers more than its predecessor, but again, it only hints and plays at things, it does not necessarily get into the nitty gritty.

A complaint I do have is that the villain John is set against in this. I feel that Zero was really flat. As a fighting opponent, it was great to watch the two of them go each other, but I was not really sold on anything the moment he opened his mouth. The humour fell flat and was cringy and verbal interactions between Zero and John just totally pulls you out of the experience every time. I also feel that Asia Kate Dillon’s Adjudicator was also a rather wasted character. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Broyles Lance Reddick featuring in this (again) and totally owning his screen time. Always delivering on the laugh. Al Winston is also back in full swing, and I really feel that Ian McShane is hands down the best actor that could have been chosen to play him.

Anyway, John Wick 3: Parabellum is a worthy addition to the franchise, what with fantastic action sequences, a good score, fun humour and visually pretty, it is well worth a look see.

Review: The Perfect Date (2019)

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SYNOPSIS: To save up for college, Brooks Rattigan creates an app where anyone can pay him to play the perfect stand-in boyfriend for any occasion. – via IMDB

Having an apathetic vibe about picking something to watch one weekend, I figured that The Perfect Date might be the perfect movie because it would require absolutely no investment on my behalf, and probably no need to think, either. The movie absolutely delivered on all fronts in that regard.

The movie totally does not come along and revolutionise the genre. Not even close. This doesn’t make it terrible, it just makes it… ordinary. It’s like… I don’t really have much to say about the movie. I know that sounds bad, but it is true. So this dude essentially sells dates to girls, and falls for the first girl he took out, the one who started the idea. Generic recipe follows of strife with friends and strife with the girl and then happy ending. There. Boom. That is the whole movie, and nothing more. There are no characters that shine above others, there is no conflict that you can really sink your teeth into, there is no meat, essentially, and because it fails to present you with something new, it has absolutely nothing that sets it above anything else, or make you remember it.

The Perfect Date is a simple, straightforward movie. Nothing we haven’t seen before, and that can be comfortable, although not thrilling. What the movie does have going for it is Noah Centineo, as he really is a chilled and charming lead, and slips on the character effortlessly. He is pretty much what keeps you watching. The movie is cheesy, at times boring, at all times predictable, but it is not the worst movie you will ever spend your time on. It is so generic that it won’t stick with you for very long at all, but won’t crush your soul while watching it. There are too many other movies that have done this story before, and done it way better (read: 10 Things I Hate About You).

Review: Easy A (2010)

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easy a movie poster“The rumours of my promiscuity have been greatly exaggerated.”
– Olive Penderghast

SYNOPSIS: A clean-cut high school student relies on the school’s rumor mill to advance her social and financial standing. – via IMDB

I am not really into comedies, but every now and then you get a good one. One that is sharp and witty and doesn’t take itself too seriously or try too hard. Easy A was that one for me. I thoroughly enjoy Emma Stone, so to watch a film where she is leading lady is excellent. Olive is smart and intelligent and has an incredibly good sense of humour and Emma Stone brings out those qualities really well. I must say though that I can see how she got so flat about the reputation she had garnered, though how/why the hell she let it get so out of hand is beyond me.

Amanda Bynes cracked me up, definitely the kind of person that I would stay hundreds of kilometres away from –  what a nutcase and a silly bitch (yep, gonna put it out there just like that). It is a feel good movie to watched an A student go on to be the town bicycle, if only by reputation, and take it to a certain extent.

The relationship between Olive and Woodchuck Todd was quite sweet, and that he was the one that stood by her no matter what is pretty awesome. The way she embraced her role as the scarlet woman was terrible, though she rocked it. Olive’s family was definitely entertaining for me, and the banter that went on between them was truly crazy and funny. Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci played the parents excellently.

I like Easy A, it was a fun movie that did not take the romance in it to extremes or make it the central point, only something that becomes evident later. Before that it is all about Olive and the silly mistakes that she makes that will take her to where she is. I definitely enjoyed this one, well worth a watch.

Review: Pet Sematary (2019)

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“It was a myth. Kids used to dare each other to go into the woods at night. They knew the power of that place. They feared it. Those woods belong to something else.”
– Jud Crandall

SYNOPSIS: Dr. Louis Creed and his wife, Rachel, relocate from Boston to rural Maine with their two young children. The couple soon discover a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near their new home. – via IMDB

After having a lot of fun at the cinemas recently, and completely forgetting that Pet Sematary was even still a thing, I saw the posters up for this and obviously decided I needed to see it. So, while I was maybe not expecting it to be It, or even The Mist (if we are looking purely at the more horror based side of King’s adapted works), I thought it would be a watchable movie, maybe not great, but entertaining. Plus, you know, I will watch Jason Clarke in just about anything.

Well, let me state it simply and succinctly: Pet Sematary sucked. I wasted time and money tripping out for it. And I took my husband, he is always keen on a horror. Then there was this, and it was just… rushed, sloppy, messy, and features a different story from the book. I felt that the movie was going downhill slowly pretty much from the minute that family arrives at the new house, and completely lost faith in the story as a whole by the time the wrong kid died. I mean, that is a driving point of the book! I know, I know, what lunacy is this, comparing a book and a movie? But honestly, you would think the basics would be the same. Also, I am capable of appreciating it for what it is and ignoring the book, but I really didn’t like this.

Anyway. Even the music was just meh in this. The movie was heavy handed trying for scares and failing miserably. The story doesn’t resonate at all and the characters are all flat caricatures. If there is one thing that Stephen King excels at, it is writing characters. This movie did not highlight that in the slightest. As much as I love Jason Clarke, this movie sucked. I wish it had been an okay movie, but it is not even that. I had serious regrets. I could have gone to see another movie. Any other movie.

Pet Sematary  isn’t very long at all, but it is absolutely chaotic – and not in the good way. Scenes jump all over the show, the content is heavy handed, there is nothing creepy or scary about it, and that whole child progression they are marketing on the posters? You see it once.  Skip this. Completely.

Review: Shazam (2019)

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“Billy Batson, I choose you as champion.”
– The Wizard

SYNOPSIS: We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s case, by shouting out one word – SHAZAM. – this streetwise fourteen-year-old foster kid can turn into the grown-up superhero Shazam. – via IMDB

I caught this on opening weekend and have just been faffing around about publishing. This wasn’t really on my radar until Zachary Levi was cast in it, and then I was sold. I mean really? Chuck Bartowski? Beyond sold! Then it was forgotten until a few months ago and I saw the trailer, and it looked like plenty of fun. When it was released, it was legitimately the first movie in months I was willing to go to the cinema to see. Glad I did.

Shazam certainly is a lot of fun, and I enjoyed it. It is not the greatest movie of all time, but it is an easy watch. Zachary Levi and Jack Dylan Grazer have fantastic chemistry, and you can certainly tell that Levi is having a total ball. Asher Angel, too, is quite sweet as the young Billy Batson. I really liked how Victor and Rosa try to make a difference in these kids’ lives, and they seem to be such genuine, sweet people.

The third act of the movie is just a little bit too cheesy for my taste. It got a little bit too much and was a bit cringy, but not so much that it spoils the movie. I also feel that Mark Strong’s villain was very flat and generic and not really developed as much as he could have been. Also, some of the humour was most certainly geared at kids, but that isn’t really a problem because I think this is a great movie for kids.

Anyway, while Shazam has some issues, it is still amusing, and was certainly worth a watch.

Review: Us (2019)

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“Once upon a time, there was a girl and the girl had a shadow. The two were connected, tethered together.”
 – Red

SYNOPSIS: A family’s serene beach vacation turns to chaos when their doppelgängers appear and begin to terrorize them. – via IMDB

I tried to read as little on this as possible prior to seeing it because I really love going into movies blind sometimes, just go with the flow. I am glad I did for this one, because I didn’t have any actual concept about what we were about to watch, and it was a weird one to watch unfold. I was interested to see where Jordan Peele would go after Get Out.

I don’t want to say too much because of spoilers and such. Tonally, the movie is a little all over the show. There is a lot of confusion, and there is a section before we get into the third act that just feels like the movie was falling apart – the creepy factor was gone, and nothing was happening, but no explanations were given up, and you don’t really get involved with these people. Because they are just people who turned up in a house and suddenly had doppelgängers chasing them, you don’t root for them more than you would the average horror movie character.

Anyway, just as you think that is going on, the third act brings the movie right back up, and I really liked how it all came together. While watching Us, you cannot shake this unsettling feeling that it brings on you, and it lingers after. The score worked hand in hand with this to leave you disconcerted. The performances were quite good, Lupita Nyong’o nailing her role, and delivering a solid performance for a seriously strange story.

In places, Us is nothing unique, but on the other hand, it is a different beast altogether. I thought the story was refreshing, but there were places where the movie was let down due to pacing and is certainly uneven at tomes, and the humour also didn’t work for me (sparingly used, but comes across as unnatural). Overall, I thought it was well worth a trip to the cinema. I can’t say much about a lot of things, because I hate spoilers, but so far I have enjoyed Peele’s work, and I am interested to see where he goes next.

Beware, the trailer is pretty much the whole movie bar the twist :/

Review: The Dirt (2019)

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“So here’s my theory, okay? If we want to knock people on their asses, then we’ve gotta give them a show. The punks, they’re doing the minimalist thing, so let’s take it in the exact opposite direction. I’m talking, I’m talking a stadium show in the clubs, man.”
– Nikki Sixx

SYNOPSIS: The story of how Mötley Crüe came to be one of the most notorious rock ‘n roll groups in history. – via IMDB

So, I know I might not be a Mötley Crüe fan or anything like that, but I still wanted to see how this would go. I believe options to do this film have been turned down for years, and that some big names have been pushed aside. So to know that it had finally happened, I was interested to see what the final product would be. And, how is that? Flat. Really, truly, honestly, flat.

The movie spends two hours essentially revelling in the debauchery that was Mötley Crüe’s heyday. And I mean that. Instead of taking any time to make these characters into real people, to look at all the nasty that was done in the past, to use it as an inspiration or anything like that, it is instead just an ode to how crazy these guys were (and not a particularly grand one, either). It also doesn’t help that the cast isn’t very engaging. Douglas Booth doesn’t possess the oomph to play the lead for this, or to be a horrific heroin junkie. I think the two that annoyed me the least were Colson Baker, and Iwan Rheon as Mick Mars. Okay let’s not even play – the performances all round were just a little sketchy.

The movie does nothing to sell me on Crüe, still, so nothing has changed. I also thought it cold and callous how some major issues were glossed over (that awful car accident, Skylar’s death, etc). There was pretty much no remorse from these guys, and that would be fine. except that this movie glorifies the band and their antics, but no lessons are learned. I believe this is based on the book (and not The Heroin Diaries, which I have been meaning to get to for years), and I might have to rather check that out if I am hoping for anything remotely resembling substance.

So, when all is said and done, The Dirt doesn’t deliver the goods in any way. There is nothing worth seeing here – essentially it is like watching Tremaine give us a better produced Jackass – all the outrage, wrapped up into the semblance of a movie. There was potential here, and it didn’t deliver. The Dirt is shallow and completely and utterly forgettable.

Review: Abducted in Plain Sight (2017)

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SYNOPSIS: The twisting, turning, stranger-than-fiction true story of the Brobergs, a naive, church-going Idaho family that fell under the spell of a sociopathic neighbor with designs on their twelve-year-old daughter. – via IMDB

WTF?? No, really, wtf????? I cannot write a legitimate review. I just have questions. Questions like who the fuck:

  • Lets some manky dude sleep in the bed with their daughter for months?
  • Gave the kids back to these obviously negligent parents?
  • Starts banging the man that abducted their 12 year old (whom the abductor then marries and refuses to return her back home)?
  • Lets a man get away with this to harm their own daughter more and other girls because of wanking someone off?
  • Returns an abducted child to the man who abducted her in the first place?
  • Takes forever and six days to report their daughter missing?

So after all of this, all I can say that while this is not a great documentary, it is one of the most insane you will ever see. I have so many issues with what I have watched, and have no way to review this other than WHAT THE FUCK?! So much crap going on everywhere. This is no Bundy tapes, or Paradise Lost or anything like that. But it is a crazy viewing experience. My husband thought I was watching one thing, and then when it got to the bit on Berchtold manipulating Jan with aliens, he thought it was another show completely and that I was indulging my inner Fox Mulder. Har har.

And I know it’s bad, but there is also the legitimacy issue. As in, the only people in this whole documentary are the family, and one stray FBI agent. No reporters. No cops. No psychologists, teachers, friends, agents, anything. So no, that doesn’t lend much to truth in my mind. I’m not saying it didn’t happen (obviously shit went down), I’m just saying it’s a bit sketchy. Maybe I am just fussy? Need more critical examination? Don’t know. It was just… too bizarre.

Anyway. WHAT THE FUCK?!