All posts by Zach A.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: AMERICAN ASSASSIN (releases September 15th)

When AMERICAN ASSASSIN comes out in about a month, I urge you to go and check it out in theaters. It a rip and roaring, non-stop action thrill ride whose pace never lets you go. It’s also a turn your brain off kind of sit back and eat popcorn type of good old fashioned entertainment. But it isn’t XXX Vin Diesel kind of cheesy. The film is a giant box packed to brim with tension and fantastic performances. Dylan O’Brian proves that he can ultimately get away from his Teen Wolf status, while Michael Keaton goes full on Michael Keaton at some points in the film where you wish he would just come back and do a sequel to Beetlejuice. A fun yet tense time at the movies.

Boy is the beginning of the film extremely hard to watch. If you’ve seen the previews, you know that Mitch Rapp (played by Dylan O’Brian is on vacation with his girlfriend when a bunch of terrorists come up on to the vacation beach resort and just start mowing down civilians with machine guns. And they do not cut away. It makes your heart pound knowing shit like this has happened in real life, and makes the audience sympathy with his character that much more interesting. He decides that he wants to get his revenge after seeing the main terrorist shoot his girlfriend down so for 12 months he prepares, extreme and non-stop. He gets the attention of the CIA and a special ops type of agent played by Sanaa Lathan, who recruits him and puts him under a man named Stan Hurley (Keaton) who trains the shit out of him for missions. When plutonium is stolen, Hurley and Rapp try to get to the bottom of it, finding out that a pupil (played by Taylor Kitsch) who was once under Hurley’s wing, is behind it all. And they have to stop it.

Yeah, the plot sounds generic with the whole stopping the bomb in time and stuff like that, but the journey is fantastic. The movie is long enough to have great action beats, character development, and fantastic thrills, without going Michael Bay overboard. And no, Bay doesn’t have anything to do with this film. Within the story there are a couple of twists that I didn’t see coming, and one of the twists is a nice “gotcha” moment that you think is going to go a cliched way that has been done before, but ends up going a different route.

I love that this moved never let up. It’s one of the action films you will actually remember, instead of the ones that have a great action scene at the beginning, too much flub and exposition in the middle, and then one of those anti-climatic endings that you can see from miles away. And I am loving Michael Keaton these past couple of years. He has gotten his career back and he is going full force masterful on us. First Spider-Man this year and now this. And there a couple of moments were Keaton goes full on bug-eyed, I don’t give a fuck Keaton moments from the 80s (like the original Batman, “You wanna get nuts?! Come on, let’s get nuts!) that had me laughing loud and hard.

American Assassin is the action movie of the early fall. I loved every minute of it and its one of those action pieces I could find on television one day and sit and watch all the way through again (I’m probably going to buy it anyway). What a roller coaster ride. Apparently, this was adapted from a long series of novels and if it does well we should be getting sequels. Please, see this, make it successful so we can get those sequels. But for now I’ll start reading the novels anyway. Please, see this in a month.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: ANNABELLE CREATION

Look, if you can go back and look at my Facebook review of Annabelle, I was not kind. I hated and still hate the first Annabelle movie. It isn’t even in the same league of The Conjuring 1 and 2, even though it is in the same universe. But thankfully, continuing the trend set by Ouija 2: Origin of Evil, ANNABELLE 2 is not only better, it is scary as shit, tells a good tale, and finally enters the same ballpark with the greatness of both Conjuring movies. So I guess now if I hate the first movie in a horror franchise I should always look forward to the second one huh? Everything about this is better, and probably the reason for that is the directors changed, the director of the first went on to do the shitty Wish Upon, but this new guy did the Lights Out movie, which I thought was good and scary for being PG-13, but this is Rated R, and brings everything great to the table.

Annabelle Creation, just like Ouija: Origin of Evil, is a prequel to Annabelle, showing how the doll and the evil spirit within it, first came to be. In fact, it ties itself directly with the first film at the end to make sure it can be nothing but sequels from here on out, which I like. By the way, it is also starting to be like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, teasing it’s upcoming releases, and it does a great one mid movie with The Nun, which I wasn’t at first, but am now looking forward to. Anyway, this movie is about a couple, the husband of which makes dolls. His daughter dies in an accident at a early age and they pray to whatever power to bring it back. Unfortunately a demon answers, and they manage to keep it in a closet at bay. Also unfortunately, they now run their home as a sort of orphanage, and a bus full of orphaned girls and a woman nun are staying there.

And you slowly find out the story, and scary shit happens. I’m not going to ruin the rest of the film or any of the scares, because the scares and good and well earned. Even though I didn’t jump (Kim did because she’s a wuss) I was drained by the time the film ended, being on edge for the entire thing. Also, for a scary movie, the acting was top notch. All the kids did fantastic, and the adults all brought their A game as well. Wish there was more Miranda Otto in the film, as she is a fine actress, but the reason she isn’t there is valid, and she is very powerful when needed to be.

I just wish that like Child’s Play, the doll would actually move and talk, and that we would get that those great practical effects here like they did with Chucky back in the day. And while the first movie didn’t do that, unfortunately this one doesn’t either, but now that I think about it, not seeing the doll move and talk is creepier than actually seeing it, so I forgive it for all its trespasses. There is some predictability in this, as what objects or beings they will be used for scares, but the way they eventually bring those things into play is patient and brilliant. They don’t bring it up and then two minutes later play their hand. They keep their cards close to the chest the entire time.

To not waste your time and get you to go to a theater with a loud system, I am going to cut my review a little short (actually it is already a little long isn’t it?). If you want a scary time at the movies, look no further. Annabelle Creation is another rare sequel/prequel that is much much much much much better than the original. It provides plenty of thrills that aren’t cheap with a good serviceable story that ties everything together. This + Child’s Play will prevent you from ever buying dolls again.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BRIGSBY BEAR

I know, I know, you probably haven’t heard of this movie either. But I might make you interested after I tell you I loved this movie. And the fact that it is technically a Lonely Island production. Don’t know what Lonely Island is? Sheesh, well okay they are those guys from SNL including Andy Samberg, that made all those Digital Shorts and had those funny songs. They also made the movies Hot Rod ¬†and Popstar Never Stop Never Stopping. Do I have your attention now? Well, as a movie itself, the movie is one of the better PG-13 comedies I have seen in a very long time. The story is a little dark, funny, touching, heartbreaking, all at the same time. I was totally engrossed.

The plot is actually really neat. This 30 year old man, is living with his Mom and Dad in this underground desert bunker. This man watching countless episodes and hours of this television show his parents give him old VHS copies of called Brigsby Bear, a Star Trek like cosmic leaching teaching hourlong tv show that this man is obsessed with. He has been told that there is toxic gas everywhere on Earth and they are the only people left. The FBI then bust in on the compound and reveal the truth. This man was obducted when he was very young from people and this Brigsby Bear television show was just something the father went off and made in this abandoned studio every week, just for this man to succumb to life lessons and stay in the bunker. So now this man, played by Kyle Mooney, is thrust into the lives of his real family, and has to figure life out. He feels completely out of his place, until he realizes that his true purpose it to expose the world to Brigsby Bear and to make his own movie to wrap up all of Brigsby’s adventures.

Sounds kind of fucked up right? Well it is, but the story feels real, it makes sense, is a little dark and sad, but also very funny. I normally don’t really like Kyle Mooney and the weird shit that he has done on SNL but this makes me turn my opinion around. If only he could make this magic on SNL, he’d completely win me over one day. This I think is Mark Hamill’s (he plays the fake dad) only live action performance before The Last Jedi, and man does he make me confident in bringing back Luke Skywalker, because even though he has very little screentime, he is really good here. He is in more the movie than you think, he provides all the voices to the television show, which as we know since he does the animated Joker, is nothing short of magical.

Kyle Mooney’s character trying to adjust to real life and making his Brigsby Bear movie is intriguing and engrossing. He’s funny when he needs to be, dumb when he needs to be, and he also has a couple of heartbreaking scenes where he is a true actor when he needs to be. There are a lot more famous actors in this too. Greg Kinnear plays a detective sympathetic to Mooney’s plight. Claire Danes plays Mooney’s therapist. Samberg has a cameo. And Mickeala Watkins and Matt Walsh play his real parents. And they are all very good. Kyle Mooney mainly tries to make a good relationship with a sister he never knew he has, played by The House’s Ryan Simkin’s, and she is good too and you can really feel their, siblingship per say, blossom.

This movie is really good, and you can see it right now at the Angelika or Cinemark West Plano. Kyle Mooney was actually at the Angelika theater the other night and Bigfanboy.com I believe they had coverage of the event. I’m surprised this isn’t a Netflix original, but maybe it might find its audience there. It is a cult classic movie in the making and will pick it up when it comes out, because I will be a Lonely Island completist, and I really loved this movie a lot. One of the better comedies of the summer and the best PG-13 one in a long time.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK

If you are reading this, and around the Dallas area, I think THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK is playing at Cinemark West Plano. But I would highly suggest waiting for Netflix, Redbox, what have you on this one. The only reason why this movie deserves a watch is because it is one of the few movies with a twist that I have never seen coming, and because that twist made the movie better. Without the twist, I don’t think I would’ve recommended this movie. Well, still maybe, because the performances, especially from Jeff Bridges, are top notch, it is just that the movie is really really generic and by the books, until the 2nd half, where everything finally gets interesting. So yeah this is a perfect Netflix rental, and you should check it out, once, whenever it hits a cheaper platform.

If you haven’t heard of this movie, it also stars Kate Beckingsale, Pierce Brosnan, Cythia Nixon, Callum Turner, and Kiersey Clemmons. It is about a young man, obviously, who really likes his best friend Mimi, but she just sees him as a friend. So this new apartment tenant, played by Jeff Bridges, strikes a friendship with the young man, and tells him in order to get her, he has to basically make her believe that he can go on fine without her. He is out one night with his friend when he spies his father, played by Brosnan, basically cheating on his mom with a younger woman, played by Beckinsale. He then confronts Beckinsale, and uh…yeah you can probably see a few things coming.

But not the twist! If you can guess the twist, good job, I commend you! It totally got me, and turned the film that I thought would have a generic, predictable, ending with feelings and acceptance in the rain, turned into another story, one much more satisfying. Critics have been complaining, that the young man, played by Callum Turner, is a jerk and unlikable. I found this to be totally disagreeable. While I find that his was the only performance that was a little stiff, I certainly didn’t find him to be a jerk at all, just confused. The best parts of the movie are him and Jeff Bridges having their life confirming conversations. Mainly because Jeff Bridges is just awesome to listen to anytime or anywhere. Their friendship feels very genuine.

And Kate Beckinsale is hot. I don’t care if it’s the worst Underworld film in the world, I will watch her in anything. She is gorgeous. But this is a review, and that is just my own biased opinion. But yes, Netflix this one, or maybe a dollar theater. You may be sitting through this movie and halfway through wondering what the hell I am talking about, you may be bored and not wondering when everything unexpected kicks in. This is one of the only movies I will say to give it time other than maybe Blade Runner. But don’t spend your hard earned box office bucks. It is a perfect rental for a date night or maybe with the family. For once, the M. Night Shayamalan twist, is actually the redeeming quality for the story, and not the entire story, or a compliment to the story. If you know what I’m even talking about. I’ll just shut up now.