Category Archives: Movie Review

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: IT COMES AT NIGHT

So my friend Kimberly Finke and I usually see all horror movies that come out together. I think I’ve mentioned her “ass out to pass out” in an earlier review, where you can tell instantly how she feels about a certain movie. Well, today, we came up with a new term for how we feel about, not only horror movies, but any film honestly. If we don’t like a film, and almost every other critic does, especially with anything over 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, we are going to say we were “bewitched” by that certain movie. We are getting that term, because last year’s The Witch got solid, solid…SOLID reviews, and Kim and I didn’t care for it at all and wonder why everyone else did. Well, unfortunately, we both were “bewitched” by IT COMES AT NIGHT.

And it’s not like we weren’t warned. We weren’t expecting some zombie horror film where all questions were answered and everything tied up in a bow. We knew going it that it was a slow burning, tense, paranoia little family thriller that happened to contain a fast spreading disease that would kill you, and that it was only 95 minutes long. Well, at 95 minutes, the movie felt too long. I was bored through most of it. But don’t get me wrong, it is a well made film. The acting is incredible, the cinematography and direction is way above average, and the fact that it didn’t explain where the outside world is and where this disease came from was pretty eerie, cool, and commendable. But the movie just didn’t click with either of us.

It mainly didn’t click for me not because of some of the boredom, but because of the ending. If I had to compare the ending to something, I would compare it to the end of Masters of None Season 2, where it just goes in and out of fading out, and then just ends. Not to say there isn’t explanation, because there kind of is, but after a huge tense and crippling climax, to just do that felt like a kind of cheat out other than making the movie five minutes longer and dissecting it just a little bit more. When the end credits rolled, I shrugged and got out of my seat. I didn’t really care for any of the characters to care about their fates or care what happens to the world around them.

Which leads us to another problem. The acting might be incredible, and I might not care about the who, what, where, when, and why of the disease, but I would like to care about the characters. And I just didn’t. There wasn’t enough character development. They tried to make some at the very beginning with a semi gruesome funeral, but it just doesn’t work. The movie is more thriller than scary, which might not have been the way to go. If you think there are going to be a bunch of zombies running around (which the trailer completely leads you into thinking that is the case) you are going to be very, very disappointed. But I heard that was the case beforehand. So I was ready for it and accepting, I was just bored.

Joel Edgerton proves again that he is a underrated acting force to be reckoned with, and Riley Keough here is completely wasted. Edgerton was maybe the only character a “kind of” cared about. And that “kind of” is being very generous. When a 95 minute movie is slow, that’s not really boating well. But hey, if you are a creepy, horror, thriller fan, you might actually like it. In fact, most critics are. This seems to be the weekend of disagreeing with critics and the general population for me, except for Megan Leavey. Agree with most that that is excellent. I don’t think it’s my mood, because I was really looking forward to this film, the most of any film this weekend, and my expectations I don’t think were too high. Just sometimes, it just isn’t in the cards, and we end up being “bewitched” by things. Don’t let me review sway you into seeing it or not. Go with your own opinion. But in the end, I ended up with blue balls, and didn’t “come” at all. *drops mic*

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: MY COUSIN RACHEL

The thing I liked the most about MY COUSIN RACHEL is that it relies solely on its ambiguity to engage its audience. If you are looking for definitive answers whether Rachel is a evil and conniving bitch or not, look elsewhere, because the ending makes you think for yourself. If you are disappointed by a no answers (a la Damon Lindelof) type of movie, then stay far away. However if you want to piece the clues together, even after you walk out of the theater, you might find this as a nice one time watch interesting little mystery with some very good performances.

This movie comes with a sense of dread, paranoia, jealousy, hatred, romance, and dark mystery. Did Rachel poison and drive her former lover mad and then is doing the same thing to his cousin? For what end? Money, power? Or is she really just all that innocent and both men really are losing their minds? I loved this mind game that the movie brought. I kept switching my opinion one scene after another, so the unpredictability is off the charts good. Rachel Weisz and Sam Caflin play off each other extremely well, with Weisz’s charm (but is there a darkness under it) and Caflin’s gullibilty (or is he right) moving the narrative forward while also confusing the shit out of the audience.

Usually these movies set in that old timey era bore me in places, but after this film was over I was left sitting in my seat saying, “wow, that was fast,” and then trying to figure out the movie afterward. I wouldn’t buy this and consider it really just a one time watch, but I definitely recommend it purely because of its unpredictability and the acting. I wouldn’t liked the film to be a little longer and see Caflin’s character plans for revenge against the woman who possibly murdered his guardians gain a little bit more meat to its bones. Instead, she arrives, he is flabbergasted, and it feels like a snap of the fingers where he is instantly in love with her. Eventually I believed it, but right away I was questioning the screenwriters and director’s rush of emotions. I guess they didn’t want the film to get boring?

Definitely a good Netflix watch when it eventually hits that platform. Don’t bend over backwards to see it. It isn’t the be all end all period pieces of be all end all period pieces. It is a little better than average paranoid period piece tiny thriller. The way the film makes you think and the performances keep it from being mediocre and less than mediocre. And isn’t a movie that makes you think at least somewhat commendable?

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE MUMMY (2017)

You know, sometimes doing film reviews don’t work out in your favor. I had this whole first paragraph for my THE MUMMY  review prepared by telling you a true story. This friend, when I was growing up, picked up one of his dog’s giant shits, let it sit in the sun for a couple of days, wrapped it in gauze, and called it a “gross, smelly mummy.” Then I was going to compare that experience to this movie by calling it a “mummified piece of shit.” There was more to it, but the review was absolutely going to work in my favor. I went into the theater expecting the movie to be DOA, because I was never excited by the trailers, the Rotten Tomato score is awful (somewhere in the 20s), and I still love the 1999 one with Brendan Fraser (the rest of them sucked). But alas, the movie is honestly not bad at all. I was entertained by it, Tom Cruise still brought his A-game, even though he was terribly miscast, the effects were good, I chuckled several times, and I liked the way they set up the Dark Universe and look forward to seeing more films, especially if Crowe’s Dr. Jekyll comes along for the ride.

I think critics were expecting too much. I think they were expecting the Dark Universe films to be well…darker? And while this is much darker than the 1999 Mummy film, it still has that “tone.” In fact, there is one scene in the film, if you spot very carefully, that makes me think that those Mummy films exist in this Dark Universe canon (you’ll see, and if you don’t see, there are plenty of articles already spoiling what that connection is). Maybe the critics didn’t want that ‘tone’ again? But if you get too dark, then people start complaining Batman V Superman style and you get royally stomped on in that regard. So where is that line? Where is the line where you can be dark, but also fun and adventurous and have a great time at the movies? I thought this movie honestly traveled that line very well. There were parts that made me jump, and parts that were intense, but also parts that were fun and exciting. So…again, what is the line that audiences and critics are expecting?

I agree with the critics on a couple of things. The movie does almost start out as an exact storytelling remake of the 1999 film, but then gets into it’s own thing by the plane crash that you see in the trailers. Tom Cruise didn’t need to be in this movie at all. He is in his 50s and is playing a character that seemed to be written in his early to mid 30s. And there are a couple of scenes where a dead character is talking to Cruise a la a giant rip off of An American Werewolf in London. But other than those three complaints, the film really isn’t that bad. In fact, the hour and 45 minutes went like that *snaps fingers.* I was incredibly entertained, the action was well shot and fun, Sofia Boutella makes a better Mummy than Arnold Vosloo did in the 1999 version, Tom Cruise still brought his acting A game, I liked the humor, and a whole bunch of other little things.

Plus, I really like the way they handled Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (if you think that is a spoiler, come on). You know that CGI crap from Stephen Sommers Van Helsing movie? Nowhere to be seen here. Hyde comes out more like the novels made him, more human like with a menacing behavior and a little more strength, with it very much being a change in performance required by Russell Crowe. Really loved what they did with that. And the little nods to future films were cool (by the way don’t stay after the credits, nothing there).

So will you like it just because I think the critics were wrong and I liked it? Of course not. You might hate it as much as them and think I am completely out of my fucking mind. I am just giving you my opinion. I had a fun time, think it is a fun adventure that families could share together, and think there are worse films to see at the theater right now than this. Does it get close to the masterpiece that is Wonder Woman? Hell no. Is it better than Guardians Vol. 2? Those are two different films, but again, hell no. This movie isn’t the freshest batch of popcorn you could have at the theater right now. It is more like day old popcorn, that you just douse and douse with a whole bunch of butter to enjoy at the moment, nothing more and nothing less.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: MEGAN LEAVEY

Wow, this movie was so much better than I expected. And you know why I expected it to be a “meh” kind of movie? Because the fucking marketing for this film is completely wrong. Let me guess, you think that most of the 2 hour run time is due to Megan Leavey trying to adopt her Marine war bomb sniffing dog and trying to overcome many obstacles to do it? WRONG. Spoiler alert: That’s the last 15 minutes of the film. This is more of a war movie than any of the trailers and TV spots are letting on. Some people have asked why the fuck this movie isn’t called A Dog’s Purpose, because it makes more sense other than that other Lifetime nonsense crap that came out in January. It’s because the movie is really about Megan Leavey. Sure the dog is in there a lot too, but it’s about Leavey’s personal journey to connect with another soul (that soul being the dog) and to find her place in life in an atmosphere that is almost too dark to see through.

And it’s a very, very good film. Not a masterpiece per say, there are better war films out there, but at my screening last night, there probably wasn’t a dry eye (out of happiness) in the theater, and that’s saying something. Kate Mara gives her best performance here since House of Cards, honestly this may be her best performance in anything to date because a lot of people consider her wooden, but she is anything but that here. The film is actually very entertaining for its subject matter, the pacing is near perfect, and the story flows fluidly from point A to B to C. At the beginning she is a troubled young adult, goes through Marine training and dog training, and comes out after an injury only to find out she connected with her bomb sniffing dogs soul. It’s actually quite touching, and it probably wouldn’t have worked with Mara or the dog.

Draco Malfoy…oh excuse me, Tom Felton shows up as a Marine that is an expert already in the field of dog bomb sniffing, and he is getting a good job trying to make a general audience forget he ever said the word “POTTER!” with such hatred. Common is pretty good as the overall leader of the dog bomb sniffing unit of the Marines, and Ramon Rodriguez shows up as a fellow Marine/love interest, and maybe the only part of the story that could’ve been cut out and had not made much of a difference. It would’ve been better if they had just been really good friends and not lovers. Also, I wonder if that part was shoe horned in to make the film longer, as it didn’t need to be. I’m going to look further into it, but if that did indeed happen, then I guess putting it in the film was okay.

I’m just looking at a picture of Megan Leavey right now, and holy shit does she look like Kate Mara, so the casting director did pretty well with her job for this movie.  The movie also does a pretty good job with the overall tension of finding bombs and whether or not someone has a bomb on them or not. I have not felt that kind of tension since The Hurt Locker (still the better film) and I commend the movie for making me be on the edge of my seat during those scenes.

Overall, there are many movies like this one. Whether they work or not is another story. There are some that have worked, and many, MANY, that have not. I think the marketing of this film is ultimately going to hurt the audience that sees it, but Megan Leavey is one of those films that completely works during it’s two hour run time. I was entertained more than I thought I’d be, and was way more engaged with the emotional bond between Leavey and Rex than I thought I would be. While PG-13 this is I would consider a very good older family film. But probably not for kids under 10 years old. Highly recommend, it is better than it looks in previews. I guarantee it.