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Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE (no spoilers)

Just when I think a genre is dead, done and possibly gone, comes another movie that gives a nice little delightful spin on it, giving a few more steady miles out of a car that has been sputtering on fumes for years. In this case, its the zombie film. During the time where Paul W.S. Anderson’s Resident Evil franchise was beating a dead horse with sequel upon sequel of tiresome zombie antics, Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead brought life back into the genre for a brief time, so did Shaun of the Dead, and so did AMC’s The Walking Dead and so on. The Walking Dead’s ratings have been slumping pretty bad these past couple of years, showing that maybe this way overdone set up has finally hit its peak (I missed the entire last season and haven’t watched any of this season, so I’m feeling the fatigue too. Now, while ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE didn’t pour a whole tank of gas into the genre car, it actually had me invested enough where I actually cared about some of its characters, looking forward to each step of the journey, and cared about the quality of songs.

Oh shit, that’s right, I forgot to mention HOW this movie reinvigorates the genre a little bit. This is actually a zombie Christmas musical. If you look really, really hard into this, its almost a complete re make of Shaun of the Dead, but with different characters and motivations, songs replacing Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg dialogue, and a school replacing the Winchester. Don’t worry, it’s not a total rip off, just some pretty noticeable similarities. They both play off the zombie genre to interesting results, and they both become semi-serious near the end of their run times. I am trying to do research on this movie, mainly trying to uncover how much this movie cost to make. Because during the whole thing, you can tell this was made on a next to nothing budget, and what is impressive about the whole thing is how much it works without any kind of money. Basically, the less it cost to make this thing, the more impressed I’m going to be when I find out.

But what clinches this movie in being the light delight that it is the songs themselves. The songs are 100% completely original, and two of them, Hollywood Ending and Soldier of War are so damn catchy they are still in my head a day later after viewing the movie. And you know my rule, not only one thing can make a movie, its got to be a combination of things. Thankfully, the songs aren’t the only things that work in the films favor. The movie has actual character development, and the movie does have a couple of minor shock/twists, where I didn’t see a couple of deaths coming where I actually got me a little sad we wouldn’t be seeing that character the rest of the movie anymore. Also in doing my research the cast actually sang the songs, it was a bit difficult because you can obviously tell in the movie that the songs were added post production and the actors are lip synching while dodging and diving zombies, but with the fact that they didn’t use other people’s voices I have to give them credit for. I do wish though that there was a zombie tale where a real human being didn’t end up being the tale’s ultimate bad guy/girl. Can’t just the threat of zombies be enough? (Now that I think about it, there wasn’t really an ultimate bad human in Shaun of the Dead, was there?) Thankfully though the bad guy/girl here plays it nice and just the right amount of over the top to be a little memorable, even if his/her evil song feels rushed and not quite so catchy.

The main star of the movie is obviously Anna played by Ella Hunt, who I haven’t seen in anything before this. She’s quite good, and I can see her going places if she picks the right projects in the future (this was definitely a good pick). Actually, all the acting all around is good. The only real complaint I have is that I wish this movie had quite a bigger budget going into production, because most of the zombie kills are extremely lacking, using fake blood CGI splurts and some of the hits happening off screen or away from the camera. And I understand you can only do so much with a next to nothing budget, so my complaint really isn’t warranted, especially when the make up to the zombies was actually better than it had any right to be. Imagine a movie like this with a $100 million budget. It could go to more locations, the song and dance numbers would be more epic and grand, maybe even making the story a little better than just being separated from parents and/or other friends and trying to get from location A to location B. But like I said, that isn’t the movies fault. I give credit where credit is due. They had a simple zombie story, turned it into a musical, and spent every penny of what they had with what they could afford. The films emotional beats worked, and when the movie went dark, it went dark. It is a crisp 92 minutes and doesn’t overstay its welcome. I’m glad that everyone in making this film ended up getting this a theatrical distribution, but I have a feeling it might’ve played a lot better if Netflix would’ve bought and premiered it on its streaming service, or if it premiered on another streaming service or went straight to VOD. There was only 5 other people in this large theater I was in and kind of felt sad for the movie. But after watching the two hour $150 million dollar shit fest that was Bumblebee, something simpler was just what I needed. I have a feeling this movie will catch on and become a cult classic in later years. It just needs time for people to discover it.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BUMBLEBEE aka Transformers 6 (comes out Dec 21st, but I’m spoiling it anyway)

Fool me four times, shame on you. Fool me five times…I mean, what did I really expect from BUMBLEBEE? aka Transformers 6? aka prequel to the first movie? I expected something different. For starters, there is a new screenplay writer (writing the upcoming Birds of Prey movie, which gets me really fucking worried now), Michael Bay didn’t direct it (but he has a producer credit, so I still should’ve seen this shit fest coming), it’s a prequel so we don’t have to continue the story from the last one, the Transformers designs are more like they were in the 80s cartoon, it has talented actress in Hailee Steinfeld, and a couple of other things going for it. Nope. Bumblebee is still the same movie. And just like every preceding Transformers movie, it is now the worst of them all. I still like the very first Transformers movie with Shia LeBeouf. It still gives me nostalgia and memberberry goosebumps when I remember seeing these awesome action sequences for the first time (when Bay hadn’t sold out quite yet) and Shia LeBeouf still carried the movie before he turned into the hippie psycho we all know and fear now. But Revenge of the Fallen and so on and so forth have all been the same film. And Bumblebee doesn’t do itself any favors with tricking the audience. You think you are going to get something different with a lighter, more family friendly tone, and heartfelt story, and in actuality you get just a soft reboot/remake of the first movie. You get basically almost the exact same origin movie, yet with worse dialogue than the original, uninspiring action (even when Bay’s action got tiresome there was still some cool shots, this has zilch), terrible, terrible fucking acting, AND THE EXACT SAME GOD DAMN ENDING AS ALL THE OTHERS.

Yeah so, the only few differences with this movie, is that it takes place in the 80s, and it’s Hailee Steinfeld instead of Shia, and we sort of get to see the fall of Cybertron, and the Transformer designs look more like they did in the 80s cartoon. That’s about it. So think for yourself, if this takes place in the 80s, and the war on Earth doesn’t start for another twenty years, and this is supposed to be canon with the rest of the other movies, what story do they have to tell that would make sense with the rest of it? Basically only two Decepticons try and track Bumblebee for the entire film, and their mission is to find him, but then send ANOTHER GOD DAMN SIGNAL FROM ANOTHER GOD DAMN TOWER to the other Decepticons, alerting them that the Autobots new base is on Earth. So all the tension is completely drained from this film, because we know they don’t, because we know the real war doesn’t start until Shia LeBeouf comes into play. And if you watch the others, the ending is the same, there is some tower, with some beam, that Bumblebee and the main protagonist have to destroy to prevent whatever comes next. It is so tiring, they couldn’t have found anything else to do? Why have a storyline that features humans at all? Why couldn’t they have made a movie focusing on the fall of Cybertron or maybe some battles and crusades through space before they actually found Earth? Do we really need to add us, human beings, into the mix just to have the story related to dumb minded casual moviegoers? I guess the answer is yes.

John Cena gives the worst performance of the year by anyone in any movie. He is so God damn terrible in this. Every line delivery is over the top and unrealistic and he seems like he thinks he is in a comedy. Every time he showed up on screen, I was wincing and clenching my teeth every time he opened his mouth. It was that bad. In fact, every human character is stupey, stupey, dumb, dumb, or really just inept except for Haille Steinfeld. This movie makes our government and military looks super, super, dumb, and it is very insulting. And I get that this movie is supposed to be more family friendly in tone but this goes down to the level of cheap straight to video family tone. The dialogue is so bad it feels like a new born baby wrote it. And none of the choices in the movie, made by character, Autobot, or Decepticon, make any damn sense. The Decepticon’s have Bumblebee’s location before they land on Earth, yet they land on the other side of the country and then have a long road ahead of them? And even if that were the case, and they know Bumblebee is there, why didn’t they try and just start the signal to alert all the other Decepticons right away and get them to destroy Earth instead of waiting until it was plot convenient to do so and have all these entities trying to stop them? When Bumblebee lands on Earth for the first time, he happens to land right in the fucking middle of John Cena and his army playing a friendly combat simulation of paintball. You know why he lands right in the middle of them? Contrived plot fucking convenience.

Everything in this movie is convenience, convenience, and convenience. Nothing develops realistically or naturally. Every choice is forced, or several lines of bad dialogue are written to explain why they can’t do this and this now, or what they can’t alert so and so right away. The Decepticons have literally 10 fucking times in the movie to make sure that Bumblebee is dead yet they don’t fucking do it for scripts sake. It is mind numbing and infuriatingly bizarre. And I had another “are you fucking kidding me?” moment in this film, and the whole time I knew this moment was going to happen, but praying it wasn’t so. They introduce Hailee Steinfeld’s character as someone who was a really good pool diver, possibly even Olympic qualifying. She quit because of her dad, and one point in the middle of the movie, Bumblebee pushes her to try and show off in front of some bullies but she can’t do it. So at the very end, where the tower and signal is for the Decepticons to signal the other and destroy Earth, there just happens to be a damn near by, and that damn gets destroyed, and she dives in from a very high point to try and save Bumblebee from possibly “drowning”. Even though he is a large mechanical entity and she wouldn’t be able to bring him to the surface anyway, the movie just puts on this inspiration music and has her do her swan dive to show that she’s developed as a character. Pffft. Also, at one point John Cena wants to see what is going on in a military building he is stationed at, and he tells his group of people that there is a door in his way, and they just blow it up. Why the fuck couldn’t they have just opened it? Also, they wasted actress Hailee Steinfeld in this, she’s the only half way decent thing in this movie, but this young woman has been nominated for an Academy Award (remake of True Grit) and was excellent in The Edge of Seventeen. This and everything else in between has been a slap in the face to her talents. Her and her manager need to learn to say no. Also, the director, Travis Knight, who has been nominated for two Academy Awards for The Boxtrolls and the fantastic Kubo and The Two Strings, should have known better than to take this as his first go around into live action.

Also, Bumblebee with the rest of the Autobots are supposed to be these war specialists, military types that try and fight for the good of their planet. So why does when Bumblebee land on Earth he goes fully mentally challenged and acts like he is a toddler with no clue of what is going on? I mean come on. This Autobot is blasting Decepticons with accuracy at the beginning of the film, giving orders and talking to Optimus Prime, yet when he lands on Earth, he doesn’t understand what hiding is or how to blend in when told. And then he destroys a house because he acts like an animal and doesn’t know to obey orders from Haille Steinfelds character and just stay put? All of the screenplay writing in this film is fucking insulting to me not just as a movie goer, but as a huge film buff that at once wanted to be one, and this shit still gets made. And some of you idiots will still go and out and see this and love it, because you have nothing better to do, and don’t expect more out of movies. If you think I’m talking about you, congrats, you are the reason we still get shitty movies and still get shitty prequel/sequel shit like this. It is time to raise the bar. Hopefully some of you will become the wiser, and this film won’t make any money. But no, it will, and we will get a Bumblebee 2 with Haley Steinfeld coming back even though at the end of the film it would make no fucking sense of why she was coming back and why Bumblebee would come out of hiding between her and LeBeouf. Just more dialogue and plot conveniences written to make that prequel/sequel dollar. In actuality, this should be the final nail in the coffin for the Transformer franchise. They need to roll out right into their graves.

Rank of Transformers Films:

1. Transformers
2 – 6. The exact same pieces of shit, each one stinkier than the last.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE POSSESSION OF HANNAH GRACE (I’m going to spoil the shit out of this piece of shit)

THE POSSESSION OF HANNAH GRACE is one of the worst mainstream horror movies ever released to human beings. The worst I’ve seen since Rob Zombie’s Halloween II. And I’d probably have to watch both again to determine the real winner of the worst horror film I’ve ever seen, but I’m not going to subject myself to that torture. This movie is fucking terrible. But the only reason I went is because I have a horror movie friend named Kim that I see these kinds of films with (because none of our close friends really like horror films that much or find them interesting) and sometimes I’m seeking out bad films to just completely rip apart in a review like this. Kim and I usually point out the really dumb shit during horror films, but usually they are A. Really short comments like “really?” B. Those comments are few and far between as we don’t really find that much horrendous shit to talk about that often (these are mainstream horror films professionally made, not those horror films you’ve never heard of whose only copies really exist on digital or a few rare copies still left on VHS where you could just point out one bad thing after the other) and C. We don’t want to disturb those around us actually really wanting to see the movie. We usually only talk a lot if there if there is no one in the theater. With Hannah Grace, there was hardly anyone in the theater, where we were seated we were completely secluded from those who were, and there was enough shit minute by minute to completely pick apart and laugh over. We had a hell of a time hating this movie. And before you ask, no, it’s not a so bad its good movie. It’s a really really really really fucking terrible film that is fun to watch just once to completely shit all over it. But that’s it. Only once. You’d have to kill me before I would ever watch this film again.

The film has an interesting concept and premise: basically the story of what could happen AFTER an exorcism that you’ve seen in a thousand other movies. What if the exorcism didn’t work? What happens to those involved in the exorcism? What happens to the body? Haven’t seen anything tackle those questions before this movie. However, Hannah Grace takes all those interesting questions and concepts and completely fucks everything up. It executes everything wrong on every cinematic narrative, acting, and technical level countless times. I have a feeling that the script, originally titled ‘Cadaver’, was a lot better, and this end result that was rushed into theaters was complete studio interference and fuckery, the likes of which I have never ever seen before. The whole movie could’ve been one cool little mystery, with the whole exorcism plot reveal kept away until the very end as a giant “OH SHIT” twist. Instead, the very first, completely, dumb, stupid, unoriginal scene in the movie, reveals the entire exorcism. It is one of the slowest and stupidest exorcism scenes I’ve seen in any exorcism film that I’ve had to tolerate on my 32 year here on Earth. I have a feeling that the exorcism scene was actually shot for, and took place as a flashback near the very end of the film. But being the little bitch that studios can be exclaimed, “No, fuck you, we need to market it as an exorcism film. People don’t like or go to films anymore where they have to piece together shit before the big reveal, they only go to films where they know what is going on at each and every frame of the movie. Put the exorcism scene at the very beginning to force feed theatergoers and change the title to the worst possible generic piece of shit title available that will explain the whole premise of the movie on the poster.” At one point in the movie a homeless guy tries to get into the morgue, and if it were the original film that was released, audiences would’ve asked, “is Shay Mitchell going crazy and this is all in her head, or is it just some crazy weirdo that likes to fuck dead bodies, or is there really something sinister afoot” But no, right when he shows up, you know it’s the possessed dead girls father, because of the first piece of shit unnecessary scene, and when he reveals himself, it is shot in the way for audiences to suddenly gasp and scream out, “Oh My God!” but when that shot finally does come, it just feels like over dramatic trash.

Let me back up a second. The films premise is that it’s about a girl that used to be a cop, that now works in a hospital morgue overnight because some traumatic thing happened to her while she was still a cop (duh!). She gets a burned, mutilated cadaver on one of her watches. Once the body is delivered to her overnight, she starts to see and experience strange shit, like a bunch of flies coming off the body, and her examination equipment keeps faulting when she tries to take photos and identify the subject. Also what appears to be a homeless guy is obsessively trying to get into the morgue. Then employees of the morgue/hospital keep getting killed off one by one by what appears to be a mutilated corpse that may or may not be possessed. Is all this stuff really happening on the girl’s (that used to be a cop) watch, or is it all inside her head? Nope, that first scene completely negates that question I’m sure the original version of the script tried to ask. The first seen happens, and the entire film is pretty much ruined. Any tension or mystery the film once had is absolutely butchered, delivering a boring, dull, mess of a story that tries to use cheap jump scares (they don’t work) with terrible, fucking God damn terrible, CGI. Also, either the studio or production ran out of money for the movie, because the finale’s pacing and editing is some of the worst I’ve ever seen. Two characters are talking about how to expose the possessed body into the incinerator (because the movie reveals that’s the only way to dispose of a body after an exorcism, because if you don’t, the body, still with the demon apparently inside, will start killing people until it claims enough lives to resurrect itself, a la 1999’s The Mummy) and then cuts them off talking about it and then they are suddenly there. No tense scenes with them taking the body to the morgue with the demon inside trying to stop them or anything. It just cuts to them with the body at the incinerator and then two seconds later the body kills one of the characters. It is just confusing and stupid all mixed up into one colossal piece of shit climax.

Let’s start nit picking at this film a little bit. Like really nit pick. I’m going to slowly reveal how dumb and stupid this movie is shot by shot, set by set. And while we are on the subject of sets, this “morgue” is the most unbelievable morgue at any hospital in any film ever. It’s completely made of high rise concrete, so sleek looking, it looks as if the entire film takes place in the future. The motion sensor lights go out every minute if you aren’t moving within the facility and when an ambulance drops off a dead body, the sound system blares out annoyingly, enough to try and cheap jump scare you every time, that someone is outside waiting to drop off. I guarantee you that no God damn morgue in the entire world works like that. It only works in the context of what the movie is trying to do to you, which is trying to forcefully cheap jump scare you. It doesn’t care about believability, it only cares that you jumped out of your seats a little and put your hand to your heart, trying to catch your breath. Worst unrealistic morgue in any film ever. I already talked about the unnecessary exorcism scene that didn’t need to be in the movie at all or if it did, should’ve been at the end in flashbacks. What else? Oh, let’s get into Shay Mitchell. First off, I haven’t seen any episode of Pretty Little Liars, but she sucks acting wise in this movie. And her former career is the most unbelievable career in the history of cinema, completely stealing the throne from Denise Richards being a chemist/scientist in The World Is Not Enough. There is no way Shay Mitchell would be believable as a former cop. She’s just too good looking/fucking hot and can’t act to save her life. If you are going to hire somebody that good looking for the cop role, at least make sure she can act. When they showed her in her flashbacks as a cop, police hat and all, I started laughing my ass off. That brings me to another thing, the movie tries to add a character arc for her in the film and that arc is fucking stupid. It didn’t need it. Basically the reason Shay Mitchell’s character in the film isn’t a cop anymore is because she was either fired or she quit after an incident where she didn’t shoot a running suspect after a traffic stop. The suspect ended up pulling out a gun and shot and killed her partner. And the reason why the film didn’t end up needing this whole backstory is because the whole mystery that I’m guessing the original script/film was supposed to have is ruined by the first exorcism scene in the film. The notion of whether she is stressed out because of those demons or is really lying and is on drugs, and whether everything could be happening entirely in her head, is fucking negated by the fact that we already know everything is really happening because the movie told us so. If the first scene didn’t exist, the backstory of the character, while still dumb and stupid (she literally goes on morning runs to “run” away from her inner demons from that one fateful night), might’ve worked on a narrative standpoint. But with the first scene, the backstory is laughable and ridiculously unwarranted. And the payoff to her redemption was dumb and hilariously executed as well.

This film is also filled with a bunch of other unnecessary shots and sequences. The film near the beginning sets up that Shay Mitchell’s ex cop character likes to make rubber band balls, all for there to be a scene later where she’s sitting on the fucking toilet and the possessed body of Hannah Grace rolls the ball under the stall, to suddenly grab her wrist, giving the audience a shitty cheap jump scare. Near the beginning of the film, to show that the character has “inner demons she is trying to run from,” it shows her on morning runs, breathing hard. That’s not the unnecessary scene. It’s when they have to have a 7 second obligatory shower shot, with Shay Mitchell showing enough side boob but the shower curtain covering her nipple because she probably has a no nudity contract clause. There was absolutely no reason to see her in the shower. None. I don’t mind (I REALLY don’t mind) seeing girl nudity in a movie every now and then, but usually with me, and now especially in general with the #MeToo nowadays, the nudity has to have a point within the story. This has no point. I guarantee you it wasn’t in the script and either the director or some executive at the studio was a fucking pervert, and wanted to see Shay Mitchell half nude privately, so they added a 7 second shower shot just so he could get his jollies. I can’t believe Ms. Mitchell didn’t object to that scene wholeheartedly.

Also, the entire movie sets up an ending that didn’t happen and they ask a question which answer doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Several characters in the film ask why doesn’t the possessed body of Hannah Grace just kill her, why is it only attacking these other people and not her when she’s been alone almost the entire movie with plenty of time to do it. The movie should’ve explained it in one of two ways. The first way could’ve been that she was the only one killed that had “inner demons” inside of her. But the movie never confirms this theory. Once character that it kills has a scene right before he is killed, telling Shay Mitchell’s character he used to have a bunch of problems, but then his child was born, so he stopped all that shit (Him getting killed right afterward was a cheap shot by the script, it made me actually feel because I have a young child and it made me wonder what would be going on in his brain if he didn’t get to see me anymore, I fucking hated the movie for that rushed forced crap). Anyway, that showed that I guess he didn’t have any inner demons anymore, but there wasn’t a line of dialogue or anything for the others. I guess that nurse played by Stana Katic gets killed because it shows that she has dealt with her demons by being a mentor to Shay Mitchell’s character. But that doesn’t explain the death of Hannah Grace’s father or the two security guards. Are we just to assume they didn’t have inner demons? Very poor ass script decisions. If you are going to set up rules, you have to go all the way or you don’t go at all.

Anyway, to get to the ending that didn’t happen. It sets up the whole time that if someone is possessed by a demon, they will probably have a bright blue neon type shade as their eye color, and not have their normal eye color. I was guessing that the demon was keeping her alive, so that way when the demon finally stitches up the body after killing so many people to resurrect it’s damaged skin (I know, fucking stupid right?), that it would touch Shay Mitchell and she would end up being possessed at that final stupid obligatory sequel scene right before it cuts to end credits. Nope, it didn’t take that ending either (although ten bucks says it is on the deleted scenes). And what is so frustrating is that everything was set up for that schlock of an ending. So I don’t know whether to actually praise the movie for not doing that, or be mad that it didn’t just go full schlock on itself. The possessed body of Hannah Grace fully takes care of fixing up the body, and grabs on to Shay Mitchell’s head right before she finally gets it into the incinerator, in what looked like a soul swapping little maneuver. So she actually ends up getting the body into the incinerator (without the help of anyone, even her ex boyfriend cop offers to help her but she says no because the script stupidly calls for that solo journey ending bullshit thing) and then we see her some time after, her demons behind her, running just to work out, taking yet ANOTHER FUCKING SHOWER FOR ANOTHER STUPID SHOWER SHOT, and then after the shower she stares in the mirror. Her left eye framed right in the middle of the screen, her wet hair covering the eye. Switch too even a more close up of her face and her eye. Then a god damn fly lands on her bathroom mirror (flies are a recurring theme in this movie, and in more than one case, always scavenging on the open eye of Hannah Grace), and then Shay Mitchell squashes the fly with one finger, end credits. Don’t set up shit unless you are going to follow through. Don’t do schlock unless you are going to go full schlock.

I’m sorry the review is so long. I think I am done. I’m sure I’ll think of other complaints (one of the God damn security guards looks like a grown up version of a Garbage Pail Kid), but I won’t bother editing this thing. I’m done with this movie. I wish I was a billionaire. Because if I was, I would buy the right to this movie before it hit home video. I would then delete/destroy every copy I could find, just to make sure that people like you reading my review are never subjected to this utter and complete piece of shit. I AM OFFICIALLY DONE WITH THE DEMON, EXORCISM, POSSESSION MOVIES!!! The final nail in the coffin as been hit for me. There is no lower that any film could possibly achieve after this. It’s one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen in my life. Definitely bottom ten. Please do yourself a favor and actually listen to me this time. Do not give this film any more money.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE FAVOURITE (no spoilers)

This review of Oscar darling, THE FAVOURITE, is going to be short and sweet, because I really want to write a long review bashing one of the worst horror films I have ever seen in my life. Disclaimer: Period pieces such as this I have always found just being ‘okay’ and not really my cup of tea. I thought Pride & Prejudice was okay, I thought Marie Antoinette sucked, I thought the updated version of The Beguiled sucked, I thought The Duchess was okay, The Young Victoria was okay and so on and so forth. I just fail at connecting with them on any level. It’s not that they’re bad films at all, I can see why this one is getting a lot of Oscar buzz, but I just don’t see that praise within myself. I find myself…bored. And I was looking forward to this. When I saw the preview, it looked like a modern take on those kinds of movies, kind of like Marie Antoinette was. But Marie Antoinette really sucked, but we can blame hack job writer/director Sofia Coppola for that (she’s only made one great film, Lost In Translation, and the rest of her movies are borderline unwatchable). Thankfully, she had nothing to do with this one. The trailer also featured some laugh out loud moments and what appeared to be great performances from Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone. And when I saw the movie, I thought a couple of things were neat, I really loved the performances, but the rest of the movie was just, kind of meh. But that probably has to do with my expectations. When I hear a film is Oscar worthy, they go really high, and sometimes it is just too much of a feat for certain movies to overcome.

See, I thought this film was going to be like Rachel Weisz vs. Emma Stone, vying for their affections to the Queen, played by Olivia Coleman. I thought it was going to be more of a…I guess kind of a serious semi-parody on those kind of period piece films. Kind of hard to explain, but I don’t mean an out and out parody a la Airplane or Scary Movie, but something that pokes fun at the genre but also taking it seriously, a la Scream. It turns out it was and it wasn’t. The movie is around 2 hours long, and I think the Weisz vs. Stone stuff really doesn’t start until an hour in. And I thought it was just going to be the whole one person escalates the situation and then the other does something to try and get back at that person but just makes it worse and go on until it all escalates into one huge monster of an explosion type ordeal, something that only the best dark comedies get right. This is definitely more of a drama than it is a dark comedy, and that’s where I think it failed for me. I wanted it to embrace the dark comedy aspect and stick with it. And then the movie just kind of ends and I didn’t necessary like where everything ended up.

But I do understand the ending. The whole message of the movie is “what is winning and what is the cost of it?” Who truly wins in a debacle? And my wife Diane, who saw the movie and really should be giving you her review because I think she liked it a little more than I did, (she agrees with me it is only a one time watch) gave me her version of who won, etc, and she was right on the money. And it made me appreciate the ending a little better, I just don’t think I personally liked it, and imagined the movie going down a bleaker and over-the-top kind of path. If it is anything I agree with the movie in its Oscar Buzz, it is the acting. Olivia Colman has a great shot at winning the Best Actress Oscar, her Queen character is extraordinary obnoxious and you love to hate her, and Weisz and Stone for supporting. Especially Stone, she plays an awesomely wicked little brat. But the true MVP in this film, in my opinion, is Nicholas Hoult as Harley, a person in government trying to ultimately win the Queen’s ear in his politics. Whenever he was on screen, I laughed out loud quite a bit. In the end, I wish the whole movie was about his character and his point of view. If they had him a little more in the film, I could’ve seen a supporting actor nod all the way. If there is one reason to just watch this film once, it is him all the way. (If you don’t know who Nicholas Hoult is, he is the younger Beast in the X-Men movies, that crazy lovely day dude in Mad Max Fury Road, and the lead in Warm Bodies…he also used to fuck Jennifer Lawrence.)

Anyways, this is the third major American released film by Yorgos Lanthimos. I didn’t care for The Lobster all that much, and I basically hated The Killing of a Sacred Deer. This is definitely his best film of the three and I have a feeling he is going to make something some day that I love (also just found out that he didn’t write this one, like he did the other two, and that’s probably a contributing factor). I did like some of his stylistic choices in this film, such as a fish eye lens in some scenes, and the whole film was shot like a camera was at someone’s waist pointing up the whole time, but on the whole I think I was asking too much from the film to satisfy my entertainment fix. It didn’t reach the value I had set for it. I was entertained at times (it had a good sexual joke or two as well), but I was also very bored through long stretches of the film. I wanted more dark comedy, I wanted more Weisz Vs. Stone scenarios, I wanted a more grand ending. These were just my wants, and it didn’t deliver, but only on my level. If you like period pieces, you will probably love this film. It is Oscar worthy completely in some aspects, but when it comes to me personally, I’m glad that I saw it once, but it will never be one I watch over and over again; it will never be one of my favorites.