Category Archives: Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE GLASS CASTLE

I am very torn with THE GLASS CASTLE. Mind you, I have not read the true life novel so I have nothing to compare it to. On the one hand, the acting is incredible, with Brie Larson showing us again why she won that Oscar for room, and we are still scratching our heads why Woody Harrelson has never won an Oscar. On the other hand, going into this with just one theatrical trailer in my head, I felt cheated. I thought that it’s about a woman dealing with her high on life/weird aspects on living parents where she eventually has to accept them for their unconventional ways, but instead I’m treated to two wildly irresponsible parents, one who can’t see the bigger picture and is lazy, and the other drunk and can’t provide for his children. The acting is so good that it made me completely dislike the parents to the point where I don’t think I could’ve forgiven them if they were mine, where the inevitable ending didn’t feel earned at all.

But then on a third invisible hand, I felt that if I read the book, I might like it more, where it might reveal more redeemable acts from the parents and dive deeper into the whole family’s insane journey. Because of this drunk and irresponsible parents aspect, the movie felt generic and I got a little bored. No offense to the real Jeannette Walls, who obviously had to go through this in real life. Like I said, I bet the book is better, and we all know that the book sometimes translates horribly into a motion picture. So thinking that the book is better, this critic right here went to the Internet to read big summaries so I would have something to compare this movie too. After reading these summaries, I know that the book is better, because the movie leaves a lot out, that if put in, could’ve been a more tight and well rounded flick.

I also went in blind with this regarding the reviews. So when I got home from seeing it, I went on Rotten Tomatoes and wasn’t surprised to find it at a low 47% and it says that most critics feel that there was a “fundamentally misguided approach to the material.” Those are the perfect words with how I feel about the movie. This film is great with the acting, but ultimately I can’t recommend it because it didn’t take the right approach with the material provided in the book. Everything felt cliched, generic, with an unearned ending trying to tug at your heart strings empty handed.

Which is a shame, because if they would’ve adapted the book correctly, from what I read, this could’ve completely went and swept up a couple of awards during Oscar season. Jennifer Lawrence was attached to play Jeannette at first, but maybe she realized what was really going on and that is why she dropped out. The direction is fine, some beautiful landscape shots and cinematography, but ultimately it is the script that completely falters the entire product. If you are a huge Brie Larson and/or Woody Harrelson fan, I would recommend just to check this out for the acting. Naomi Watts also does a fine job as well, even though I didn’t like her character. The only acting flub is Max Greenfield, who cannot get out of acting like Schmidt on New Girl to save his life. All I saw was Schmidt instead of a well rounded character.

This is definitely not a Glass Castle, it is more like a glass condo, with a shitload of cracks in it.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: GOOD TIME

I have completely forgiven Robert Pattinson for Twilight. In GOOD TIME, he is nearly unrecognizable (personality wise), going deep into a very flawed character with many layers and peeling them back inch by inch. He is completely riveting and if I were part of the Academy I would push him into getting an Oscar nomination at the end of the year. You could study this performance in film classes in college. Masterful. But how is the movie? Thankfully, the movie is just as fantastic, with a breath neck pace story that gets more and more desperate as it goes with a bittersweet ending you wouldn’t expect. Good Time isn’t just one of the best films of the year, it is one I could revisit over and over again. An insane one night ride into depravity and darkness that grabs hold and won’t let you go.

What is so good about this film is that it takes a very unlikable protagonist, where you want him to get caught, but at the same time, hopes that he doesn’t, just so you can see more of the insane journey he goes on. The film is about two brothers, one played by Pattinson, the other played by one of the Safdie brother directors. The Safdie character is a little mentally challenged and Patterson is just trying to take care of him. The brothers rob a bank where the job is botched and Pattinson’s brother is caught and taken to jail while he escapes. Then in one twelve hour night time period, Patterson tries to get his brother out of jail while also trying to keep himself from going to jail as well. I don’t really want to spoil the rest of the journey, because it is unique and sometimes bonkers, but it involves a Sprite bottle filled with acid that belongs to a guy named Ray, an Adventureland setting, a hospital break out, high-rise apartment antics, creepy underage kissing, and mistaken identities.

The Safdie brothers have done another film that I have heard of but never seen, that got rave reviews called Heaven Knows What, and I think I might have to check it out, because this film is stupendous. The direction is flawless, and I love their tight shots on faces to show expression and emotion, completely building their trust in their actors to help build their characters and then thus building the story. Their story and direction takes complete and intense wild ass turns. The bank robbery is simple yet nail biting. The many times that Pattinson is almost caught by the police, I lost count I was so nervous. Everything about this film is mesmerizing and perfect.

And I can’t get away with not mentioning the haunting score by¬†Oneohtrix Point Never. As The Dude would say “It really ties the story together.” Just like in Dunkirk, the score here is a beat by beat race the clock melodramatic masterpiece, rushing when it needs to, and taking its time to let all the events unfolded sink in. I loved Good Time, unfortunately modern audience will have a hard time trying to see it seeing it is a very independent film and might not get a huge wide release. But if you find it in a town, in a theater near you, or even if you have to wait for video, check it out, it is an amazing ride, and a performance by Robert Pattinson I think he might even have a hard time ever beating.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD

THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD doesn’t come out till next Friday, August 18th, but I got to see it yesterday and I have to say that it was a nice, funny and fun, pleasant, late summer surprise. Earlier in Ryan Reynold’s career he was mostly hit and miss. Waiting, The Proposal, Safe House, Van Wilder, and Smokin’ Aces being his hits, and then everything else plus Green Lantern being huge misses. After Deadpool, I have a feeling he is being a little careful about picking his projects. Yeah, I wasn’t a fan of Life but he was good for the little time he was in it. And now there is this film, which is like Smokin’ Aces mixed with Midnight Run mixed with about any buddy cop movie you have ever seen. And it works. It’s heavy on violence and language, but it is also light and very funny. August is sometimes considered a dumping ground for end of Summer movies, but sometimes we get a nice little treat snuck in there, and this is it.

The joke with Samuel L. Jackson being in every movie ever made is almost no longer a joke. How many movies has he been in this year alone? But you have to praise a movie that has Samuel L. Jackson say “motherfucker” more than any other movie he has ever been in combined. Make no mistake, the film uses its R rating to its advantage, throwing most of the punches except for nudity (which the film did not need). Obviously, the plot is simple to make way for the laughs. Samuel L. Jackson is a hit man that has some very damning evidence again a former Russian country president that is currently on trial for his wicked ways. So far all of the witnesses for this trial have been killed or discredited. They make a deal with Samuel L. Jackson that if he testifies they will free his wife, played by Salma Hayek (who steals every scene she’s in here). All Interpol has to do is get Jackson to the trial…with a bunch of bad guys/assassins/what have you in between them to stop them at any costs. Enter Ryan Reynolds as a former elite bodyguard trying to comeback from disgrace for a botched protection job a few years earlier…and hilarity, non stop action, and “motherfuckers” ensue.

This film is almost two hours, and some probably could’ve been shaved off, but I liked that the film took its time. We get to know the characters throughout the whole movie and they aren’t one dimensional and are well rounded. The way Ryan Reynolds enters the picture to protect Jackson is hilarious while still being a bit cliched obvious. But like I’ve said in some past reviews, sometimes it isn’t about the plot or destination. It is about the journey. And it is one hell of a journey. The director of this has certainly come back into my good graces, having previously directed the abysmal Expendables 3, with good hard hitting action, good direction, and earned laughs. Now while some of the action effects are a bit shaky, particularly towards the end, all is forgiven as it doesn’t lose the fun at the same time.

I could watch Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds argue in a room for two hours. Without them, the movie wouldn’t have been near that good. Selma Hayek hasn’t been this funny since Dogma. And for some reason Gary Oldman is in this (paycheck) but even with a limited amount to do (he is locked up the entire time) he still brings his A game. If you are looking for a complicated plot with this film, don’t, as you’ll be highly disappointed. It is very simple and very cliched. It has almost every action cliche in the book and uses the age old foreshadowing with dialogue and what not. But it doesn’t lose any fun. If you are looking for a “buddy cop hitman assassin bodyguard action packed road trip movie” to bask in at the end of summer, you can do no wrong going to see this.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE DARK TOWER

**warning no spoilers will be given, but I have read all 8 books**

Let’s pretend this book adaptation is a fictional cake replica making contest. In front of Sony executives is two tables, one already has a beautiful, majestic, gorgeous, 8 tiered tower Dark Black Wedding Cake . The other table is empty but next to it is a kitchen filled with every single ingredient you need to try and replicate that cake to the best of your abilities. You have about a decade to replicate this cake. And go! Instead of even going into the kitchen, the Sony executives walk up to the empty table, take their dicks out, and flop them menacingly on the table, and shout, “Here is your cake assholes!” That, ladies and gentlemen, is THE DARK TOWER film adaptation.

I have read all 8 Stephen King novels that have The Dark Tower in the title or relates directly to it. I have read every single Stephen King novel in existence, all the ones that indirectly reference The Dark Tower in some way. So you may say there was no way to please me, especially since I know every nook and cranny of Stephen King’s fictional universe. That isn’t necessarily true. There are plenty of books that are very nice companions with their movies: Jurassic Park, The Lord of the Rings, Angels & Demons to name a few. Even the worst adaptations, like Percy Jackson, every single Twilight film, etc. have some light in the shitty mess of a darkness that plagues my mind to no end. With The Dark Tower film, there isn’t even a shred of light, it is completely devoid of soul.

And I even had half my mind set away to view the movie as a film lover who had never read any of the novels, let alone a Stephen King book, and even then I thought the film had no soul. The film is a 95 minute circle jerk where too many powers at be were arguing on what the adaptation should contain and should not contain. Should we cater to an audience who has never read any of the books or should this book be fan service? Even though I think The Dark Tower series is unfilmable and should just be a movie in a constant readers mind, I do feel that there was a way to do both. Nope, all that is tossed completely out the window for a new story that completely strips away most elements of the novels and takes only a handful of service thing to speak to a general audience in general terms.

Thinking like everyone else, this should’ve been a HBO or Showtime series, doing each book in a 8 to 10 episode arc, for seven to eight seasons, and then walk away. You can’t do The Dark Tower in 95 minutes. It is impossible. Even as a movie for a general audience, the film is soulless and rushed. There is no character development, no time to develop relationships. The journey is too compact, with no time to breathe. They say that this new film is supposed to be a sequel to the books (don’t worry, I don’t reveal much here just speak in briskly in code), with Roland possessing the Horn of Eld at the beginning of the film. Okay, that’s fine…WHERE IS THE FUCKING HORN? Oh, is that a horn on Roland’s backpack? Okay…thanks for barely showing it to us…

The only thing that is good about the film is the casting. Idris Elba (even though Roland is supposed to be white in the books, because his race is a plot point in later novels with a character that was not introduced here, but like Johnny Storm in rebooted Fantastic Four, I could honestly care less) is a good (could’ve been great if they dialogue was not shitty) Roland, Matthew McConahalright alright alright was a pretty good Men In Black (would’ve been great with a better screenplay) and the kid that plays Jake Chambers was good as well. ¬†They aren’t even much of characters though, because like I said, the compacted 95 minutes lets no time for the movie to find any kind of footing. The acting is the best thing about the film, everything else is complete and utter garbage.

The film feels like a cheap Sci-Fi Channel made for television movie. The effects suck, the production design sucks, the direction and action sucks, just a big bowl of What The Fuck soup. I could nitpick the differences between series and film adaptations all day (such as the portal doors being too futuristic and not just a cool little wooden door in the middle of nowhere) but I’m not going to do that here because my review would be novel size long. But there is one thing that I want to talk about, because it effects my dislike for the film the most. The fact that they take the center of attention of the story away from Roland and put it on Jake Chambers. The Dark Tower is and was always supposed to be Roland’s story with supporting characters helping him along the way. Taking it away from him (Idris doesn’t even show up until 15 minutes into the film) is a crime beyond all imagination. They could’ve still told their new awful story with Jake still being a side character, but nope, general audience are likely to connect with a kid and not Roland (not true if you’ve read the books.)

Why am I still writing? What I really should be doing is starting to re read all 8 novels and form my own perfect movie in my mind and forget this abomination ever exists. I pray that Stephen King’s IT adaptation is better (the R rating and 2 hr 15 minutes runtime helps, and the fact that it is only part 1 of 2; Dark Tower is a shitty PG-13) but now I’m going to enter IT being cautiously optimistic after this apocalypse. This is literally a shit cake, with barely some sprinkles of fan service on top, where the sprinkles ultimately get sucked into the shit frosting, never to be seen again. The Dark Tower is one of the worst films of the year and the worst adaptation of Stephen King’s work, even Maximum Overdrive. Good riddance.