Category Archives: Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: HAPPY DEATH DAY

HAPPY DEATH DAY is so damn enjoyable, I can completely forgive the movie for having me easily guess who the killer is months ago in the trailers. Yes, it is not that hard to figure out who the killer is and why. But this was a perfect little Friday the 13th treat and a cool, fun Halloween flick. Granted it is just another twist on the Groundhog Day formula, but honestly, I could watch movies with the Groundhog Day formula everyday. It’s a cool premise, living each day over and over until you get it right. You just want to yell at the screen with all the solutions the main character isn’t thinking of how they can escape repeating their day. This is the first one to use the slasher horror formula mixed to this one, and even with the PG-13 rating, the movie hit my dumb sweet spot.

If this movie was Rated R and maybe a tad longer (it is a nice brisk 96 minutes), I think this movie could’ve been a masterpiece, but instead it is just a really really enjoyable multiple watch film that won’t win any awards and will just be watched every Halloween by you personally. The movie especially wouldn’t have worked without newcomer Jessica Rothe. She is fantastic in this and her chemistry with everyone else is exhilaratingly fresh. So is the Andie McDowell to her in this movie played by Israel Broussard. He has some very good scenes with Rothe and even though he is in it a lot, I wish he was in it more.

But man does this PG-13 really prohibit this film from discovering its full potential. I wanted some cool blood splattering kills every time they kill our heroine, but there is not that much blood and there is mostly jump cuts. I did however jump a couple of times due to a few good well timed cheap jump scares. Speaking of heroine, usually when a character has a relive a day over and over again, that character is a despicable son of a bitch. But Jessica Rothe’s Tree Gelbman is honestly not that bad of a person, or at least we don’t see her being that much of a bitch. If they had, it might’ve made her arc more convincing. Thank the stars that Jessica Rothe is so dam likable that I forgave this really quickly.

I don’t want to give much away, but the movie is very enjoyable. Although very predictable, the journey and our lead makes up for everything else. It’s a little bit scary, a little bit freaky, pretty funny, and the time will just roll by. It’s a very sweet Halloween treat that I wouldn’t miss. If you do miss it, at least give it a rental shot when it eventually hits formats for your home. Oh, another thing, I thought the Universal logo for this was pretty clever before the movie started. I liked this so much, I’m sure I will watch it again, and again, and again, and again. Just make sure you turn your brain off at the door.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: MARSHALL

Man would I love to have seen a long biopic on Thurgood MARSHALL, the first African-American supreme court justice. Having a tight script, with the incredible lead in this film, Chadwick Boseman, cast in it still, that would be one helluva picture. What we get here is really just a court case a little earlier before that where Marshall doesn’t have much of a voice in that trial, just controls things behind the scenes. Which was just a tad disappointing. HOWEVER, the movie is still pretty good for what it was trying to do. It was trying to cater to a mass audience, and mass audience don’t pay too much attention to biopics anymore, but court room case drama’s, still have a mass appeal, so they tried to combine a huge message with a pretty predictable court case. It works, but in the long line of films like this, I’m afraid will be lost in the shuffle.

I can’t hark too bad on this movie, because it is enjoyable even though the court case is 250% predictable. And you can’t blame me for liking a movie where I wasn’t annoyed by Olaf’s (Josh Gad) performance for once, but this film could’ve been so much more. I think Chadwick Boseman is an actor who’s not a force to be reckoned with. I think he is starting to show potential as one of the greats along with Leonardo DiCaprio, Denzel Washington, Sidney Poitier, Gary Oldman, etc. He is fantastic in this. But I keep going back to in my mind what this film could’ve been. I love a good biopic, and all the right pieces could’ve made Marshall something truly special. It’s serviceable, not a bad movie by any means, I’m just a tad disappointed.

Especially because while Thurgood Marshall’s voice is heard behind the scenes and he controls what happens in this court case, you don’t really see him in action as a lawyer all that much, instead Josh Gad, as a lawyer that doesn’t do cases like these, takes Marshall’s words and has to use his voice to defend a black man accused of raping a white woman and then trying to kill her. Why couldn’t we have seen a lengthier court case where we heard Thurgood Marshall doing the defending the entire time? We could still kept in the great messages about racial injustice in here, because the message is loud, clear, and good, but why have a court case where Marshall doesn’t do much? Did we even need Josh Gad’s character (even though he’s good in this?)

There is a reason for Josh Gad’s character, he is Jewish, and I guess his story arc is acceptable, considering that he’s defending a black man in tough times and he is also Jewish himself faces discrimination. It just felt like Josh Gad’s character was in there to be a kind white voice in this picture, when we really didn’t need one. Marshall needs to be front and center, with no side bar (did you like my lawyer joke there?). And the court case is extremely predictable beyond our wildest imagination. I knew what happened before the facts were even put on the table. And when the revelation comes, the film kind of tries to say “gotcha” even though it is more like, “uh, yeah, no you didn’t…at all.”

I just realized I’m harking on this movie too much. It is enjoyable, and a very decent watch if only for the performances. Kate Hudson is better here than she has been in quite a long time, and Dan Stevens plays an excellent sleazy lawyer on the prosecution. What makes the movie is Chadwick Boseman (he’s Black Panther and Jackie Robinson if you didn’t know that already). He is incredible in this and is worth the price of admission alone. But the movie will make you crave for a biopic. If one is made, bring Boseman along for the ride and I’ll gladly join it.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: PROFESSOR MARSTON AND THE WONDER WOMEN

I really was looking forward to this movie. I mean, the real life story of the origin of Wonder Woman combined with themes of sexuality, identity, and freedom? Sounds like a winning combo right? Then why is this movie so tame (especially considering its R rating)? Not lame, this movie is anything but, but it is extremely tame in its storytelling, which made the film uneven, tiresome, and missed the mark on an emotional climax for me. The film doesn’t really truly pick up until the last third where Wonder Woman is actually being created. It also picks up on the themes mentioned above, but due to the chop-chop-choppiness of the first two thirds, I didn’t walk out of the theater feeling as I should, which should have been wonderful. Instead, I was weathered to the point of not caring.

PROFESSOR MARSTON AND THE WONDER WOMEN could’ve been one of those movies that truly defined that era between the 20’s to the 40’s where you had to hold yourself to a certain standard even if that truly wasn’t who you were. You had to hide or be banished. You couldn’t express yourself as freely as you do today (well, we could argue how freely you can express yourself in the Butthurt era of today, but I digress). This movie asked those questions and then asks how you deal with them when those that deem themselves normal find out and lash out. But the movie never answers them. There are some quick snippets of people being disgusted, mad, loathing, you name it, at the Marston clan, but those snippets are faster than a locomotive.

If you haven’t seen a trailer, it is mainly about a professor, his wife, and the college student that they hire as a sort of intern, and eventually all three of them invest themselves in each other emotionally and physically as a threesome of a couple. It all eventually, in a very naturalistic way, leads to the creation of Wonder Woman. But that is a footnote compared to what it is truly about. What it’s about is how are they to live in this world where the rest of it would balk and shame behavior like this? What does it mean to truly love another human being and can you love more than one person? Like I said, all of these question are fantastic to ask. But instead of looking your in the eye, answering them with a fierce determination, and telling you how it is, no holds barred, no censorship what so ever, the movie looks down at the floor, shuffles its feet and mumbles something that is almost unintelligible.

Carol is a movie with similar themes that is much, much, much better at answering those questions. In fact there are a ton of movies that answer those questions with pride and fearlessness. This movie kind of shies away from them with a costume and behind a curtain, and only peeks out very quickly once in a while but then hides again. The acting from Luke Evans (always thought he was underrated), Rebecca Hall, and Bella Heathecote are all good here, even though some of the dialogue is a little iffy. Their chemistry works in spades and it is really the only thing that is holding the movie together. That and the cool things inspired in real life that went into the pages of Wonder Woman, like the lie detector being invented that was an inspiration to the golden lasso of truth, or the dominatrix type imagery and symbolism in the comic book.

The rest of the movie is unremarkable and not so wonderful. Nothing special about any of the camera shots, way of storytelling, the screenplay is choppy (this film should’ve been about 30 minutes longer to flesh everything out), it seems as though a film student could’ve made this. Nothing remarkable whatsoever. Did they rush this to time it to the same year release as Wonder Woman? If they spent a little more time, take that R rating to heart, and show the true hardships of living a life of lies during that time, this could have been something really special. It could’ve been a true companion piece to the fantastic film we saw earlier this year. Instead, just like a superhero having a secret identity, this will get lost in the crowd.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: CULT OF CHUCKY (aka Child’s Play 7) (video on demand, Netflix, buy/rent)

I make no apologizes when I say that the Child’s Play/Chucky series is my second all time favorite horror/Halloween franchise (Scream is a first with Final Destination being third). The original Child’s Play still holds up as the second best horror film ever made for me (right behind scream and right in front of the original Final Destination), and I get surprised how much into it I get even though I’ve seen it about a dozen times. Now the sequels is where we get tricky. Child’s Play 2 is…okay with some great moments (mostly at the climatic factory), Child’s Play 3 is dumb as fuck taking place at a military complex, Bride of Chucky is not bad considering Katherine Heigl is in it, and Seed of Chucky only works if you don’t take the movie seriously. But I still love him, and with 4 out of 7 decent films, that ain’t bad. Plus, I love the idea of a doll coming alive to terrorize people. That notion has always been intriguing.

But, for Curse of Chucky, aka Child’s Play 6, creator Don Mancini decided to go back to what made Chucky great, being fucking serious and scary with a few humorous moments. It worked. Curse of Chucky was the best film since the original. And now we have CULT OF CHUCKY, aka Child’s Play 7, and when it came out, I was just praying that Don Mancini kept it up and wouldn’t go back to the antics that Bride started and Seed completely absorbed. Thank God he didn’t. Cult of Chucky has some of the best kills in the entire series, and is now the best film since the original for me. The story is good, the twists are good, the kills as I’ve said are amazing, the acting is actually very fucking decent for a straight to video title, and heck the atmosphere is creepy as fuck.

Nica, one of the only survivors from Curse of Chucky, is in a mental ward in this one, having been convinced she was the one that murdered her entire family, not a living doll. Soon though, another Chucky doll is sent to the hospital to help in her therapy. But then soon enough, people start dying. Is Chucky back? Or could this possibly still be all in Nica’s head? Or is something even more sinister afoot? Meanwhile, Andy (the original kid from the first three Child’s Play films and a small cameo in Curse, now as an adult), can’t seem to have a normal life, when he sees that Nica is in trouble in the local paper, he rushes to try and help save her.

If I say anything more, or reveal any more plot points, I should be shot. There are more twists in this than any Chucky film, and the twists are quite good. The film also adds to the mythology in that universe, so much so that I have no idea what the hell they are going to do if there is a Chucky 8. The ending is absolutely brilliant and bonkers.

Fiona Dourif is honestly the best actress that any of the Chucky movies has had to offer. I have no idea why, maybe because her father is an actor and always brings his A-game to the voice of Chucky. If there are any reason to watch these movies, it is just to hear Brad Dourif’s voice as Chucky. Anyone else’s or a sly copycat just couldn’t cut it. As long as he is here for the voice and Mancini is here to write I will be along for the right.

Quick note, if you watch the version on Netflix, you don’t get the unrated version and you don’t get the cool little after credits scene. I highly recommend you find some way to watch the unrated. The kills deserve the unrated version and for fan of Child’s Play 2, you’ll really want to check out the after credits scene. I was going to spoil a couple of the kills in this, but I think I’ll end my review here. With Chucky movies, there is no middle ground, you are either on or off the fence. You are either disgusted, knowing you will never ever watch a Chucky movie, or you know you will have a killer time.