Category Archives: Movie Review

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: INSIDIOUS – THE LAST KEY (aka Insidious 4)

Writer/directors James Wan and Leigh Whannell are responsible for creating two key horror franchises in the past decade: the Saw series, and the Insidious series. While the Saw series I could honestly watch endlessly, where every new installment I graciously look forward to, the Insidious series unfortunately goes the opposite way, along the likes of the Paranormal Activity series, in that I kind of wish it were to stop now before it really really overstays its welcome. It’s not that INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY is horrible. No, it’s actually not bad for a January release and there are some general frightening moments, it more than likely that for me all the tension is taken out of the film, due to the fact that it is a prequel and I know certain characters will make it out alive so when they are in danger I really don’t give a shit.

What is this trend that we are getting into with horror movies? We have one or two original films, the sequel taking place after the first one, but then we get into prequel territory (sometimes right away with installment 2) because the filmmakers think the audience will give them several pats on the back if they completely connect to the original film in the end. While it was cool for Ouija 2, then shrug worthy with Annabelle 2, it has now become groan inducing. We get it, “ohhhhhhhhhh this shit is so cool it literally picks up where the first one starts!!!” Ummmm….to quote myself, “who fucking cares?” I don’t like prequels in general. Prequels take all the fun out of everything because there are literally no stakes; with the plot or the characters, etc.¬† We know what eventually happens to the characters. There is the one in ten film prequel journey that makes up for the lost tension, but it is very, very rare.

Ouija: Origin of Evil is one of those. Ouija 2 (but really a prequel) only worked because that it was so good it made the shitty first film look like Gigli. Annabelle kind of works because again, the first film was really shitty and the 2nd film is a minor improvement. Insidious The Last Key is not even close to an improvement over any of the previous films. In fact, after the first film, all the films deteriorate one after the other in terms of quality. Yes, we know that Lin Shaye is usually a good actress, and she was the highlight of the first movie and the only thing redeemable about #3, but in this one, to see her origin story, ehhhh…I didn’t really care. Her origin story is unfortunately relegated to the fact that her daddy is an abusive asshole and doesn’t believe in ghosts so he beats his daughter whenever she says she sees them or talks about her gift or whatever. Certainly writer Leigh Whannell could come up with something better than that.

The film does manage to come up with a couple of twists that I didn’t quite see coming although many of you probably could. And I did jump several times…although I am getting sick of that spirit villain that looks like the arch nemesis of the Powerpuff Girls. And another part of the movie I don’t like is that I just don’t care about The Further anymore. Although the Further came first, it is basically just a rich man’s Stranger Things’ Upside Down with rooms. And while the Upside Down in Stranger Things has established rules, it seems like anything can happen in The Further if it is a plot convenience to get the characters from point A to point B and then they think they are safe at point C. So to some up everything I’m saying in a nice little bow here, the movie is okay, not terrible, not great, I’m just sick of the prequel story nonsense, want a sequel and want more genuine scares.

I still do kind of like Lin Shaye’s sidekicks in the film, played by Angus Sampson and Leigh Whannell himself, they are given more to do here, but a lot of their jokes fall completely flat, their charm being the only thing that keeps them memorable. If they make a 5th movie, if the charm goes away, so does my affection for the characters. And the probably will make a 5th movie, seeing that this new one, in one weekend, made back 3 to 5 times it’s budget already. The only way I would care about a 5th movie, is if it is a sequel to part 2. I’m tired of the prequels. I know what Lin Shaye’s character can do, I now know how she started the Spectral Sightings business with her two sidekicks and now I know her origin story as a child. That is enough. Lin Shaye’s story is over, let’s go further into the dark side of The Further and bring about true nightmares again. We should all go by the wise recent words of Kylo Ren, “Let the past die, kill it if you have to.” Time to kill the prequels to Insidious and movie on to true sequels. Otherwise I will not longer go into The Further with the rest of you.

Rank of Insidious Movies:

  1. Insidious
  2. Insidious Chapter 2
  3. Insidious Chapter 3
  4. Insidious The Last Key

Timeline wise how to watch them:

Insidious Chapter 3

Insidious The Last Key

Insidious

Insidious Chapter 2

(stupid right?)

 

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE POST

I had so much fun doing my Worst List rhymes,

I’ll do it again, but instead ring this films’ chimes,

THE POST is incredible, there is no doubt about that,

Assume at this point, Spielberg can direct at the drop of a hat,

But little did I know it would be his best since Munich,

He has had some films where he was wearing his ‘meh’ tunic,

For this one, all his incredible talent shows up on the screen,

His signature moves, his crystal clear movie magic sheen,

This true story is set during the Nixon/Vietnam era in 1971,

The Pentagon Papers about to set the world to stun,

The New York Times technically printed about it first,

But the government tried to stop it, politics at its worst,

Enter The Washington Post, who ended up with the papers as well,

Head honchos Kay Graham and Ben Bradlee, needing a story to tell,

They defied all odds because the freedom of the press was at stake,

1st Amendment rights had to be protected, shake the world awake,

This film is so well made, the story spectacularly told,

Tom Hands and Meryl Streep brought in to add to the mold,

Their acting here is top notch, some of the best in their careers,

They deserve to be nominated, deserving of all the critic’s cheers,

The supporting actors were great here too, everyone on the ball,

Standout being Bob Odenkirk, who you know from Better Call Saul,

But the real stars here are Spielberg and the fantastic script,

The dialogue fast and edgy, all quip and nothing clipped,

Spielberg’s camera shots are a sight to behold,

When he did his famous ‘circle shot’, I was perfectly sold,

That this is easily one of the years’ ten best, a movie for our time,

Donald Trump will hate this film, and with that I’m more than fine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: HANDSOME – A NETFLIX MYSTERY MOVIE

Well, that is the absolute last time I finish and publish my Worst of List before it hits 12:01 am on 1/1/whateverthefuck. Because if I could go and re do it, HANDSOME: A NETFLIX MYSTERY MOVIE would be close to the top of my worst of 2017 list and maybe even given mother! a run for its money. This film is probably the worst thing Netflix Original Programming has ever put out. I have seen worse things on Netflix, however they didn’t produce the worse stuff that I’ve seen, just some old “catalogue straight to video along time ago movies” that Netflix probably got cheap to put on their platform. This film ultimately just baffles me. It baffles me how Jeff Garlin, a comedian I love on The Goldbergs and Curb Your Enthusiasm, co-wrote, directed, and starred in this piece of shit. It baffles me how I was bored on a short hour and 21 minute run time. It baffles me how the movie isn’t even a mystery at all because of some stupid thing the movie does right before it goes to opening credits. It’s the most baffling piece of shit film of 2017 (not 2018).

The film, in its very first scene before the official credits roll, has one of the actors of the film introduce himself, and he says that he plays the killer in the movie. What I thought of as a nice little rouse and what may have been a joke to lure the audience off track…turns out…nope. That guy is the killer, he’s telling the truth. Was it supposed to be funny? The point of a fucking mystery/detective movie is for the audience to guess who, what, where, when, and why. If you reveal it at the beginning, you are showing the audience all of your cards, so why do you expect them to care about the rest of the film. Usually when a film reveals the killer, it still may offer some nice twists and turns and ultimately gives you a reason why they didn’t keep the killer a mystery. Not here. There isn’t anything else offered. No twists, turns, or laughs.

The film is about a detective that tries to make sense of his life and those around him while trying to solve crimes. A chopped up woman corpse ends up in the front yard of a celebrity, and he’s on the case. It sounds generic right? Well it is. The film tries to go for awkward, weird, dead-pan comedy, and it just doesn’t work. I didn’t laugh once. Did Jeff Garlin feel like this was funny when he was writing this? He must’ve been the only one, I don’t even think Netflix read the script, just green lit it because they got original programming from the guy that is always fantastic on The Goldbergs and Curb Your Enthusiasm. I mean they basically follow the go to book of detective comedy that has been done too many times before. Detectives having sex with suspects jokes, cops are fat jokes, red herring jokes, cops boss being mean but really being sexually attracted to them jokes, the works. None of it works, and even though I have a stop button on my controller, I decided to stick it to the end to write this review.

What disappoints me is that I saw several ways the mystery could go to make it a little bit interesting and I could partially forgive the stupid comedy. But it doesn’t take any. It takes that scene from the very beginning of the actor that says he is the killer in the movie, and makes it so, rendering the whole experience absolutely pointless. The direction is boring point and shoot drivel. The acting sucks, with Natasha Lyonne as Jeff Garlin’s partner not giving a shit anymore. Only Garlin’s next door neighbor Christine Woods brings any type of humanity to the film. Usually I write about six paragraphs per movie review, but I’m so fed up with this movie that I’m stopping right about…now.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: MAYHEM

So I watched a film the other day that was released really limited in November, hence no theatres were showing it nearby, hence didn’t get around to it till now thats its out on home disc. MAYHEM is basically Office Space meets¬† Battle Royale meets The Walking Dead meets The Belko Experiment, which is funny because it stars Steven Yeun, who played Glenn on The Walking Dead. It’s about a virus that spreads throughout this office complex that causes the employees there to act out their wildest impules…which namely means violence and beating and killing the utter shit out of each other. It’s a pretty cool, violent, entertaining as hell, funny, and a tight 90 minutes you are likely to even enjoy on repeat viewings. It rings in the new year with a bloody bang.

Steven Yeun stars as a elite executive who works in this law office complex, and he is fired for something he didn’t do. Right before security is about to boot his ass out, a quarantine by the government hits the building, and he has 8 hours before the cure can be fully pumped into the buildings systems and take effect on people to go all the way up to the top and place revenge on the people that were sending him to the unemployment line. The plot isn’t complicated for this film, and it isn’t meant to be complicated. It sets everything up to make a plausible and fun way to watch people beat and kill each other in interesting fashion.

The villains are cookie cutter here, but in a good way. They are introduced quickly and efficiently with only one real personality: for the audience to hate them so much that you cannot wait for them to be butchered and maimed for the masses. The movie even takes some cool approaches, having part of the film be what Molly’s Game is the entire time, being a narrator “show and tell” type of experience. Yeun is almost in every frame, he tells the audience how it is in the building and who does what, and you feel for him, so by the time he goes bug nuts crazy for revenge, you want him to have it and it puts a smile on your face when you get it.

Steven Yeun has never been better. He had acting chops on The Walking Dead, but this film really tests his range, and he passes with flying colors. The true though standout in this film though, an actress that is going to have a huge career based off of this and The Babysitter (check it out on Netflix, it is great and she is the best part of it), would be Samara Waving (niece of Hugo Weaving, who plays Agent Smith in The Matrix films). She steals every scene she is in. She plays a client that Steven Yeun has to reject from keeping her house after the inability to pay. When her and Yeun join forces is when the movie really picks up and is utterly fantastic. She has that range of crazy that you would think she couldn’t up the ante of it in each and every following scene, but she does it effortlessly. She’s worth the price of a rental alone.

The whole movie is worth the price of a rental. The kills are awesome and the revenge is a great cold dish. It’s even worth the $8 buy I got for it on a daily deal on Amazon. I would totally watch this film again and again. It is just bloody fun, even more so than The Belko Experiment was. I think these films are made because everybody in a office setting has probably imagined beating the shit out of one of their annoying co-workers. This movie lets you escape reality without committing a utterly horrible and terrible crime. We can enjoy it while breathing a sigh of relief that we get to avoid utter mayhem in real life.