All posts by Zach A.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: CHUCK

No, I’m not reviewing the once great television series starring Zachary Levi, I’m reviewing the movie (which you can only see at Cinemark West Plano right now), CHUCK, starring Ray Donovan’s Liev Schreiber about boxer Chuck Wepner, who was the inspiration for Sylvester Stallone writing Rocky which won a shit load of rewards. Chuck was a okay boxer, known mainly for almost going a full 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali back in 1975 (we get to see this fight, which is one of the highlights of the film). As far as sports biographical pics go, it is harmless, not being great, but definitely not being bad, too long, or boring either. If you are a sports biographical pic, and you are neither great nor bad, you kind of get lost in the crowd.

Which is what will happen with this film for me. I’d say in a couple of years I will hardly remember it other than I thought it was a good one time watch with a stellar performance by Schreiber. I have a feeling though an extra 30 minutes that seemed to be missing from this film could’ve gone either way. It could’ve made it too long and boring and not added much to the film, or it could’ve made the film more in-depth, better, with more amounts of character development. I don’t know unless I see this 30 minutes. Not to say the film was edited badly, but the movie is only an hour and 40 minutes, which for a biographical pic, is quite short.

I would’ve honestly liked to see Wepner actually fight the bear (yes, he fights a bear in a ring as a publicity stunt claiming to be true, looked it up and it was) but I guess it would’ve been really bad CGI and PETA would’ve been pissed. But looking over Wepner’s career, the movie hardly ever goes into the thick of it. Instead we are mostly treated to his downfall (with drugs of course) after he takes Rocky filming all those awards too seriously and starts to use that as a crutch when talking to people. I would’ve also liked to see his relationship with his second wife Linda develop a little bit more than it did (played by the underused but always wonderful Naomi Watts). I also forgot to mention this: Jim Gaffigan has a small role as one of Wepner’s friends, and what a role it is. You can hardly recognize Gaffigan at all in his zany role. If there is another reason to maybe check out the film one day, it is Gaffigan as well.

There is unfortunately nothing new with downfall pictures anymore. I think if the film would’ve focused a little more on Wepner’s success in boxing mixed with the downfall, it would’ve been a more memorable picture. Maybe a little boring, but a little more accurate and meaty.  Also the guy that plays Stallone in the film is excellent and I’m wondering why they didn’t show Wepner sueing Stallone like he did in real life, that would’ve been interesting. Instead, the film will get lost with all the other boxing/sports biographical pics you have already seen. And if you miss this one, you don’t really miss anything other than a decent one time watch that you will forget mere months or years later. I feel a little bad but I can’t deny that the boxing pic, with the exception of Creed a couple of years ago (and some of Bleed For This), is dead. I recommend, but not enough to go out and seek.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews presents ALIEN: COVENANT

Well, that was a fucking fun ride. I LOVED ALIEN: COVENANT. Completely blows Prometheus out of the water. And that’s really funny because it is more of a Prometheus sequel than it is a true Alien prequel. Of course you actually get Xenomorphs again in this movie but the mythology, theology, and over all sci-fi integrity that Prometheus brought is front and center in this film. I am not going to lie, I am an unabashed Prometheus fan. People didn’t like it because it asked more questions than it answered, it was weird, they didn’t like the Engineers, there were no Xenomorphs. But I saw a more complicated film that tried to do something new that people hadn’t seen before than to just explain what the fuck a “space jockey” was. But Alien: Covenant is for both Prometheus fans and it is also trying to win back the people that didn’t like Prometheus very much. And I think it exceeds on all levels.

Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t even touch Alien or Aliens in terms of quality and being a masterpiece. But it does get closer than anything that came before it. So yes, the best Alien film since 1986’s Aliens. I’m not afraid to say that. If you are expecting a click, click, click action bonanza you are going to be extremely disappointed. You get more of the slow burn that the first Alien film gives. Lots of exposition, and a slow crawl toward the nightmare you know is before you. And when things do get going, they never let up until the end. The action is pretty stellar and the special effects are fantastic. Well most of them are. If I do have one complaint is that some of the shots of the aliens in action could’ve used a little more polish. But the worlds, ships, and environment are so real and awe-inspiring to look at since the world of Avatar.

But Zach, is it scary? Well, there are some very gross and disturbing parts. It gives you probably the most graphic gore infested Alien film to date. But I wouldn’t say it is scary. More tense and action oriented, with a dreadful and sinister vibe. Not like horror jump scares left and right. Which is okay. Cheap jump scares don’t work anymore. Dread is always the perfect recipe. Ridley’s Scott’s direction in this is near pitch perfect. I am very glad he came back to the genre that he started and is treating his series like Michael Bay does with Transformers, but instead of keeping dropping his baby like Bay does, he actually nurses and cares for it. All the shots here are wonderful to look at and the set design is fantastic. And if you are looking for answers to Prometheus, while it still asks a couple of questions we will get with the inevitable third film, you get some huge answers the last film asked, and those answers are delicious and satisfying.

The acting is better here too. Michael Fassbender shines in everything he is in and here is no exception. He is perfect playing an android and seems to be really into his role. The film has a couple of smarter characters in this than the last one two. Danny McBride, Katherine Waterson, and Billy Crudup are fine here, but they are no Fassbender and definitely no Sigourney Weaver. McBride is actually really quite impressive here, considering that he is playing a little something more serious than the usual assholes and obnoxious characters he plays. Waterson is one of the better female characters to date, showing a more impressive strong female character that has some smarts as well as brawn. But like I said, this is the Fassbender show.

I love this film. I already want to see it again. If you like it depends on how much you love the Alien franchise and how much you liked Prometheus. It’s a direct Prometheus follow up while also trying to lean it’s way more toward the Alien mythos and atmosphere. The perfect combination in my eyes. I see it traveling straight more toward an Alien environment in the third one, with some last minute insights wrapping everything up leading us to the events of the first film. I thought this was a really great film with a lot of cool ideas, awesome action, beautiful cinematography, relentless gore, and just a whole lot of fun. Also, love the mixture between the score of Prometheus and Alien. Just a really cool melting pot of a movie.

 

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: SNATCHED

So I saw Amy Schumer’s right boob today…not sure how I feel about that… I do know how I feel about the movie SNATCHED. It is fucking terrible. One of the year’s worst. I chuckled, MAYBE, once. It wasn’t funny, especially when about 30 minutes of the 90 minute runtime is Amy Schumer again talking about her vagina and other vagina jokes that I’ve heard before, none of them clever. And when you have a comedic genius Goldie Hawn in your cast, and you barely use her, and not in the way you are supposed to, it’s slapping a lot of film enthusiasts in the face. This woman was in Private Benjamin, and you have her playing an unfunny mother that just complains throughout the whole movie and doesn’t really do anything comedic. This film is an absolute crime to watch, and one of the worst comedies to come out in a very long time.

You know what another crime is? Having a cameo that looks like it might’ve been written for Hawn’s real life partner Kurt Russell and instead hire Law and Order SVU’s Christopher Meloni. Would’ve been perfect with Russell, but are you really surprised considering the rest of the movie sucks as well? Amy Schumer has not been funny since Trainwreck. That is the last time I thought her genius that she does have in her still somewhere shined with her talents. Thank God she didn’t write this, otherwise I would maybe say that her career is over. No, the blame of all of this goes to the screenwriter that single-handedly ruined the new Ghostbusters, Kate Dippold. The Heat sucked, Ghostbusters sucked, and this sucked. As in baseball, she’s out, and should never come back.

Everything in this film is predictable, down to getting kidnapped, escaping, getting help…it’s just all boring and has been done countless times before. It’s just vagina jokes galore, and Amy Schumer just whining for two hours. Goldie Hawn is just wasted here. She’s made some classics and is a classic comedian (Overboard anyone?), but this is just bad, considering that she hasn’t done a movie since The Banger Sisters. Not her fault that she is a two dimensional character, she was just written that way, and you can tell she is struggling trying to make something of the material.

This is going to be a really short review because there is really nothing to talk about artistic wise here. The writing sucks, the direction is basically point, shoot, and cut, and there is nothing unique about this movie at all. The jokes all fall flat, they even make Ike Barenholtz unfunny. It’s just a very very very bad comedy. If you need to see something funny, snatch something else at your local video store, you’re better off.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE WALL

I’m conflicted. I really really really really liked this movie. Except for the ending. But I have to recognize that the ending was bold, out of the norm, inventive, and very “not Hollywood.” If I had to compare it to another ending, I would compare it to the little seen 2010 film Buried starring Ryan Reynolds. I know people that were absolutely pissed off by the ending. I thought the ending made sense. Here, it made sense too, but I guess I was more reluctant to like it because it involves our military and I cared more about the characters here behind a wall way more than I did Ryan Reynolds in a box. People in the military are going to hate the ending of this film. In fact, I walked out of the theater with a vet that absolutely was so pissed off at the ending his face was red. So yeah, if you are military, you might want to cut the film off before the ending arrives.

I’m not going to spoil the ending here and I’m not going to talk about it anymore, so let’s talk about what made this film a little awesome. The plot and performances mainly. Basically if you had to compare this film to others, it’s Phone Booth meets (insert war film here). A U.S. Sniper (John Cena) and his spotter (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) are on a mission responding to a report that contractors were killed while building a pipeline in Iraq. When they get there, they are trapped by an Iraqi sniper, wanting to talk and play games. All they have is this one wall for protection, radio shot out by the sniper, and have no idea where the sniper is.

My past review I commented on how The Dinner was way too long, that it should’ve been a quick 90 minute little tension bot boiler, not two hour. Well the run time of this film was what made it great. It is a quick 90 minutes, and makes the film tight and in control. Within those 90 minutes, are two fantastic performances, both from wrestler (the next best one since Dwayne Johnson) John Cena and Kick Ass’s Aaron-Taylor Johnson. Especiall Johnson, who has given us a one two punch with his performances in this and his award winner performance in Nocturnal Animals. 50% of this film is relied on their performances and they both give 110% of themselves into this flick. You can feel their desperation, their panic, their worries; it reaches out of the screen and onto you, hoping that they will make it out of there alive.

The Kiefer Sutherland sniper part is voice by Laith Nakli, and although he does not even compare to Kiefer Sutherland’s tremendous scary voice in Phone Booth, the trick that his character has up his sleeve is not only smart and brilliant, but diabolical. For 90 minutes I was on the edge of my seat. I love a good sniper film, and this is the best since Phone Booth, Jarhead and Enemy at the Gates.

Unfortunately there is not much more to say about this film without getting into heavy spoilers and ruining all the tricks this movie has up it’s sleeve. If any people in the military read my review and see this movie, I would love to know your thoughts on it, particularly the strategy and inventiveness behind it. Also, I would like to know your anger with the ending. This movie would be a masterpiece if the ending didn’t upset me so much. But maybe that was the whole point of it, to grab at my heartstrings? If so, good job, but I’m still a little mad at you. This movie is borderline masterpiece with just a dash of frustration, but 100% recommendable in seeing this at a point in your life.