All posts by Zach A.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BETTER WATCH OUT (Video On Demand)

This is going to be a very short review because I can’t really review BETTER WATCH OUT without ruining the entire thing. In fact, the only part of the plot I can tell you about is the log line on almost every single movie website which is, “On a quiet suburban street, a babysitter must defend a twelve-year-old boy from intruders, only to discover it’s far from a normal home invasion.” I bet you NOT to watch the trailer to this movie if you have any interest to this at all. I’m going to recommend you either pay the $6 to rent it video on demand, or illegally download it, and just start watching. If I were to describe it based on comparing it to other horror/thrillers I would say it is The Cabin In The Woods of home invasion thrillers.

If you have seen one home invasion thriller you have seen them all. Except this one, this flips it on it’s head about a third of the way through the movie, and never lets up, leading to one sadistic, clever, and disturbing thrillers I’ve seen over the years. I actually bought the movie on iTunes for just three dollars more (I had credit that was about to expire), and I have already watched it twice, and loved it just as much both times.

I can’t really describe the acting without giving anything away either. I’ll just say that it mostly has kid actors in it (the boy and girl from The Visit, and Peter Pan from the recent Hugh Jackman version of Pan) and they are all freaking terrific. Patrick Warburton and Virginia Madsen are in it too and even though their roles are really small they are good in this too.

There is everything in this thriller/horror film, genuine jump scares, genuine creepiness, genuine insanity. It’s a quick 85 minute film too, and it doesn’t let up at all. If I had one complaint, and I have to be vague here, but I would have liked the movie to have planted more motivation to one of the characters earlier in the film to make some insane things that happen be a little more believable.

That’s all I can say. In fact, that is my review. I loved this movie, and I can’t fathom why it wasn’t released in theaters between Halloween and Christmas (it’s more of a Christmas film in the vein of Krampus). And other critics can’t fathom it either, it is sitting on a well deserved 88% on Rotten Tomatoes right now. If you like horror films and thrillers, go watch this immediately. It is one unique wild ride.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: FLATLINERS (2017)

What is the point of doing a FLATLINERS reboot if you aren’t going to have Kiefer Sutherland play his original to help the new kids out? Instead, you are basically Ghostbusters where he’s there, plays a completely different character, and doesn’t help out in the slightest, relegating to a obligatory nostalgia cameo? Also, why the hell would you *MINOR SPOILER ALERT* kill off a character mid way thru the film for shock value, when that character was the least deserving to be killed off? *END MINOR SPOILER ALERT* While it doesn’t deserve to be 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, because the film isn’t terrible, but it isn’t good, I couldn’t help but think the entire film, “I would rather watch the shittiest episode of Grey’s Anatomy than watch this again.”

Flatliners is basically a REMAKE, not a REBOOT, of the 90s film. It’s about a group of medical students who kill themselves deliberately for several minutes to experience the afterlife and then wake themselves up. When they wake themselves up they have huge moments of clarity, brain rewiring, intelligence, and are horny as fuck. They also start to see disturbing visions that may or may not be linked to a shady past. Several cheap jumps scares and horror film cliches later, you have yourself a plain Jane of a movie, where you would rather just pop in the original, which at least had some integrity, where it didn’t treat the audience as if they were idiots and weren’t trying to make a straight up horror film.

The one thing that this film tries to bring into the fold and have an “ace up their sleeve” is the *minor spoiler alert* killing of one of the main characters half way thru the film. I am not going to reveal who it is here. Suffice to say, I thought the movie did it for plain shock value, and not to advance the plot in anyway. The character they should’ve killed off first, has the big climatic battle with their demons at the end, should’ve switched with this other character, and narratively it would’ve made a whole hell of a lot more sense. It is hard to explain without getting into spoilers, but both of these characters have sort of the same predicament, and I did really care about the character who it was happening to at the end, because this character had absolutely no character development. The other one did, and I felt completely cheated out of a well rounded story line, because this one actor/actress is hotter than the other.

If you’ve seen the original *MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE 90s FILM*, what is happening to them is that their past misdeeds come back to haunt them in a hallucinating/demonic fashion, and they have to find the people/things they did wrong and ask for forgiveness not only from them, but from themselves. In the original, none of the characters die, and one of the main ones at the end has to do something unique and thought provoking to get rid of his/her demons. Well basically, the same thing happens here, except they do the cliche horror shit of killing off characters, where it wasn’t warranted in the slightest. I guess that wanted to be different, but if you are doing a remake, isn’t it basically just a copycat but with better effects? *END MAJOR SPOILERS FROM FIRST FILM*

It would’ve been better if Kiefer played his character from the original and was involved in the plot to help them. He’s just here as a doctor that could use a hair cut. He looks like Jack Bauer is in hiding from the Russians at the end of 24: Live Another Day. Involving him could’ve brought something cool to the film, and actually have him advance the plot more naturally, then the kids just randomly figuring shit out themselves. Also, the situations here that they need forgiveness from are kind of dumb compared to the ones in the original. I didn’t really care here at all. The acting here is okay, Ellen Page, Diego Luna, and Kiersey Clemons doing adequate with the only questionable acting coming from James Norton and Nina Dorbrev. Norton wasn’t all out terrible, but a couple of scenes I couldn’t help but think, “Hmm, they could’ve used another take on this one.” And at this point I just think that Nina Dorbrev is just a pretty face who I eventually would like to see nude. Was she even that good on Vampire Diaries?? Someone who watches that show please explain her appeal other than her looks.

But yeah, Flatliners is a quick rental or a Netflix watch, nothing more. It’s not terrible, but it is the plain Jane of horror films of 2017. If you want to watch something better, search for the original, which has a lot more integrity, heart, and a decent directing job from Joel Schumacher, who would later do the terrible Batman & Robin. This is a straight up remake, with just better effects, and some character killing, and completely not worth your movie theater money. This film wasn’t DOA, but you can’t feel its pulse at all, just paralyzingly pale.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: AMERICAN MADE

Yes, we know Tom Cruise is a fucking psychopath with that Scientology bullshit and all the crap he has done in the past to have been extremely off putting in his public life since 2005. But ladies and gentlemen, you cannot deny that he is one hell of an actor that you can rely each and every movie on. The guys brings his A+ game to every film that he does. Every single film. Even the fucking new Mummy movie. He feels like he wants to be there, he does his own stunts, he is just an incredible actor. And he in incredible in my favorite movie of the weekend by far, AMERICAN MADE. In fact, I am willing to bet that the movie wouldn’t have worked as well as it did without Cruise.

Well, I sort of take that back, because the story in this is one hell of an awesome tale, an extremely entertaining two hours. It plays off the whole narration way of telling movies, where we have the main character speaking almost the entire film, a la Wolf of Wall Street, Goodfellas, Casino, and it completely works. I love narration movies. I’m a sucker for them as much as I’m a sucker for repeat a certain amount of time/day movies (yes, I can’t wait for Happy Death Day). Sorry off topic. The movie is about a pilot named Barry Seal, who worked for the CIA, and after smuggling drugs for the Medellin Cartel on the side, became an informant for the DEA. This guy got away with so much shit it was astonishing how much of the story was actually true.

The movie is fast paced, and quick, even for two hours. The time flies by with how much electricity this film shocks into your theater going experience. The direction is perfect, loved the aerial plane shots. The supporting acting is also perfect, with Domnahall Gleeson showing that he is destined to eventually become a star. I also loved that the film didn’t give us a Tom Cruise Hollywood ending and took a chance (even though I realize they were just retelling what really happened but you never know, I just expect a Tom Cruise kind of ending when I see a Tom Cruise movie).

But yeah, it is a shame a lot of you will not see this because you think Tom Cruise is crazy and hate his guts. But it isn’t like he is a murderer, or child molestor, or forcefully packs fudge, or something truly unforgivable. He is just in a hokey religion that is a little obsessed with control. This is where you need to separate the actor, his personal life, and his craft. If you do that, you are more likely to have a better time with this. Because this film deserves to be seen. It is that well made, and makes for a great time at the movies. Cruise to your local theater and give this a chance. I beg you. I won’t beg you by jumping on a couch but I will normal human being non Vishnu beg you.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BATTLE OF THE SEXES

Emma Stone will for sure get a Oscar nomination for BATTLE OF THE SEXES. She is quite brilliant in it. However, something about the movie was off for me where I quite can’t recommend it as the best version of the Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs tennis match that was so much more than a match. It was probably because the movie tried to focus on another big issue in King’s life than the actual match and what it meant for women around the world, where it feels like two separate movies crammed into one. This power struggle of storytelling gets in the way of showing a little more of Bobby Rigg’s life up to the match and relegates a lot of his antics to montages that should’ve been their own longer scenes. I was really hoping to love this movie and proclaim it a masterpiece, instead, it’s watchable, but I know it could’ve been so much better.

Why could’ve there have been a separate film about the life of Billie Jean King, her struggles with homosexuality, her life after the world found out, could’ve made a great biopic film. With maybe a couple of minutes with this sliced into it. Heck, they could’ve focused on events surrounding this tennis match for this film, and hire Emma Stone again to do a complete biopic tale of King. But the fact that they try to do two movies in one, just makes everything feel…well bloated. The focus on getting ready for the actual tennis match, and the match itself starts in the last 30 minutes of the movie, and the movie is two hours long.

Not that there was anything wrong with the Billie Jean King discovering her sexuality part. It was handled well and acted with perfection, I just thought tonally it was in the wrong movie and should’ve been on its own. I think that because of this storyline being in there it kind of gave the shaft to Steve Carrell and his portrayal of Bobby Riggs. I went into the movie wanting to know more about Riggs, and had questions, and I left the theater with not one question answered. I thought the movie would give equal time to both players, but nope, I felt Carrell wasn’t in the movie all that much. He was even short changed in the epilogue I thought as well. So I thought the something missing from this movie, was Bobby Riggs, even though the Battle of the Sexes match was supposed to be 50% about him.

You could argue that discovering her homosexuality fit in the storyline with women’s lib and the pursuit of equality. I thought the scenes of her basically quitting the tennis league because they were paying men more than they were woman completely belonged and worked in this film, When it which to her realizing she was a lesbian, it just felt tonally off. Like I was watching a biopic of just her, and not of the tennis match that defined a generation and not digging into the persona of Bobby Riggs. Also, the final match wasn’t shot too terribly exciting. Instead of doing some great sports shots directors have been known to get in these films, I felt bored and that I was just watching it on television. Nothing inspiring.

So in essence, two decent short films, but combining them, a feature with a lot of narrative problems. Incredible acting, directing, and the film had that great 70s feel where it feels like it was shot on film. It’s a decent one time Netflix watch, but not the film that it should’ve been. It should’ve been one of the films for feminism to watch, study, and celebrate. Instead, it will be lost in the queue, with other films more than deservedly being remembered for it in its place.