Tag Archives: Movie Review

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: DEATH NOTE (2017) (Netflix American Version)

Yeah, so I know about DEATH NOTE, but I don’t know much about Death Note, if you get my drift, so I don’t know if my review is very valid. I know it is a manga series and a very beloved 2006 Japanese live action thriller, but I have never read the series, nor seen the original film. I just know that it was controversial in that it basically white washed it for the American Version and that they guy that did You’re Next, The Guest and the recent reboot of Blair Witch did it, so I decided to give it a go and check it out. I also know that it starred Willem Dafoe for motion capturing and voice Ryuk, and that guy from Fault of Our Stars/Paper Towns/Home Again played the main character and the older girl from The Nice Guys plays his girlfriend. What was my ultimate opinion? Eh.

It was okay, not having seen or read any of the other original stuff. I bet if I was caught up with all of that I probably would have hated this version though, like I have heard from so many others. The plot if you don’t know, deals with a kid that inherits a book that when you write the name of someone and think of their face while writing it in the book, they will die. You can also write how they die and shit and that shit will happen to them as you write it. There are other rules for the book as well, but it is too much to get into. Just know that when I was hearing all these rules, I knew that a bunch of them together would bring out some kind of Rube Goldberg twist ending, and I was correct in my assumption.

Some of the kills (mainly the first decapitation) are pretty early and graphic and cool. And the main way that Light Turner tries to use the book in a semi-decent way was a good idea. I just thought that narratively everything was too quick and it didn’t come together that well, especially in a mere 100 minutes. I think the movie might’ve been more fleshed out if it were 30 minutes longer. The movie also ends really abruptly, which I thought was kind of weird and also kind of a cheat. The acting is good all around, especially with Dafoe’s work and Margaret Qualley, Nat Wolff, Shea Wingham, and especially the guy that plays L, who is a detective on the trail of Light Turner. (who was one of those unfortunate people in the movie GET OUT). It’s just that there was really no fleshing out of any character motivations, development, and everything was rushed to all hell. It felt like I was watching a short film.

But I’m sure if I read the manga or saw the original Japanese live action films I would love the series and give this American version the finger. All I can say about not having seen anything else and just this American version is that you could do better things with your time, but it might make a decent background watch.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BETTER WATCH OUT (Video On Demand)

This is going to be a very short review because I can’t really review BETTER WATCH OUT without ruining the entire thing. In fact, the only part of the plot I can tell you about is the log line on almost every single movie website which is, “On a quiet suburban street, a babysitter must defend a twelve-year-old boy from intruders, only to discover it’s far from a normal home invasion.” I bet you NOT to watch the trailer to this movie if you have any interest to this at all. I’m going to recommend you either pay the $6 to rent it video on demand, or illegally download it, and just start watching. If I were to describe it based on comparing it to other horror/thrillers I would say it is The Cabin In The Woods of home invasion thrillers.

If you have seen one home invasion thriller you have seen them all. Except this one, this flips it on it’s head about a third of the way through the movie, and never lets up, leading to one sadistic, clever, and disturbing thrillers I’ve seen over the years. I actually bought the movie on iTunes for just three dollars more (I had credit that was about to expire), and I have already watched it twice, and loved it just as much both times.

I can’t really describe the acting without giving anything away either. I’ll just say that it mostly has kid actors in it (the boy and girl from The Visit, and Peter Pan from the recent Hugh Jackman version of Pan) and they are all freaking terrific. Patrick Warburton and Virginia Madsen are in it too and even though their roles are really small they are good in this too.

There is everything in this thriller/horror film, genuine jump scares, genuine creepiness, genuine insanity. It’s a quick 85 minute film too, and it doesn’t let up at all. If I had one complaint, and I have to be vague here, but I would have liked the movie to have planted more motivation to one of the characters earlier in the film to make some insane things that happen be a little more believable.

That’s all I can say. In fact, that is my review. I loved this movie, and I can’t fathom why it wasn’t released in theaters between Halloween and Christmas (it’s more of a Christmas film in the vein of Krampus). And other critics can’t fathom it either, it is sitting on a well deserved 88% on Rotten Tomatoes right now. If you like horror films and thrillers, go watch this immediately. It is one unique wild ride.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: FLATLINERS (2017)

What is the point of doing a FLATLINERS reboot if you aren’t going to have Kiefer Sutherland play his original to help the new kids out? Instead, you are basically Ghostbusters where he’s there, plays a completely different character, and doesn’t help out in the slightest, relegating to a obligatory nostalgia cameo? Also, why the hell would you *MINOR SPOILER ALERT* kill off a character mid way thru the film for shock value, when that character was the least deserving to be killed off? *END MINOR SPOILER ALERT* While it doesn’t deserve to be 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, because the film isn’t terrible, but it isn’t good, I couldn’t help but think the entire film, “I would rather watch the shittiest episode of Grey’s Anatomy than watch this again.”

Flatliners is basically a REMAKE, not a REBOOT, of the 90s film. It’s about a group of medical students who kill themselves deliberately for several minutes to experience the afterlife and then wake themselves up. When they wake themselves up they have huge moments of clarity, brain rewiring, intelligence, and are horny as fuck. They also start to see disturbing visions that may or may not be linked to a shady past. Several cheap jumps scares and horror film cliches later, you have yourself a plain Jane of a movie, where you would rather just pop in the original, which at least had some integrity, where it didn’t treat the audience as if they were idiots and weren’t trying to make a straight up horror film.

The one thing that this film tries to bring into the fold and have an “ace up their sleeve” is the *minor spoiler alert* killing of one of the main characters half way thru the film. I am not going to reveal who it is here. Suffice to say, I thought the movie did it for plain shock value, and not to advance the plot in anyway. The character they should’ve killed off first, has the big climatic battle with their demons at the end, should’ve switched with this other character, and narratively it would’ve made a whole hell of a lot more sense. It is hard to explain without getting into spoilers, but both of these characters have sort of the same predicament, and I did really care about the character who it was happening to at the end, because this character had absolutely no character development. The other one did, and I felt completely cheated out of a well rounded story line, because this one actor/actress is hotter than the other.

If you’ve seen the original *MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE 90s FILM*, what is happening to them is that their past misdeeds come back to haunt them in a hallucinating/demonic fashion, and they have to find the people/things they did wrong and ask for forgiveness not only from them, but from themselves. In the original, none of the characters die, and one of the main ones at the end has to do something unique and thought provoking to get rid of his/her demons. Well basically, the same thing happens here, except they do the cliche horror shit of killing off characters, where it wasn’t warranted in the slightest. I guess that wanted to be different, but if you are doing a remake, isn’t it basically just a copycat but with better effects? *END MAJOR SPOILERS FROM FIRST FILM*

It would’ve been better if Kiefer played his character from the original and was involved in the plot to help them. He’s just here as a doctor that could use a hair cut. He looks like Jack Bauer is in hiding from the Russians at the end of 24: Live Another Day. Involving him could’ve brought something cool to the film, and actually have him advance the plot more naturally, then the kids just randomly figuring shit out themselves. Also, the situations here that they need forgiveness from are kind of dumb compared to the ones in the original. I didn’t really care here at all. The acting here is okay, Ellen Page, Diego Luna, and Kiersey Clemons doing adequate with the only questionable acting coming from James Norton and Nina Dorbrev. Norton wasn’t all out terrible, but a couple of scenes I couldn’t help but think, “Hmm, they could’ve used another take on this one.” And at this point I just think that Nina Dorbrev is just a pretty face who I eventually would like to see nude. Was she even that good on Vampire Diaries?? Someone who watches that show please explain her appeal other than her looks.

But yeah, Flatliners is a quick rental or a Netflix watch, nothing more. It’s not terrible, but it is the plain Jane of horror films of 2017. If you want to watch something better, search for the original, which has a lot more integrity, heart, and a decent directing job from Joel Schumacher, who would later do the terrible Batman & Robin. This is a straight up remake, with just better effects, and some character killing, and completely not worth your movie theater money. This film wasn’t DOA, but you can’t feel its pulse at all, just paralyzingly pale.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: AMERICAN MADE

Yes, we know Tom Cruise is a fucking psychopath with that Scientology bullshit and all the crap he has done in the past to have been extremely off putting in his public life since 2005. But ladies and gentlemen, you cannot deny that he is one hell of an actor that you can rely each and every movie on. The guys brings his A+ game to every film that he does. Every single film. Even the fucking new Mummy movie. He feels like he wants to be there, he does his own stunts, he is just an incredible actor. And he in incredible in my favorite movie of the weekend by far, AMERICAN MADE. In fact, I am willing to bet that the movie wouldn’t have worked as well as it did without Cruise.

Well, I sort of take that back, because the story in this is one hell of an awesome tale, an extremely entertaining two hours. It plays off the whole narration way of telling movies, where we have the main character speaking almost the entire film, a la Wolf of Wall Street, Goodfellas, Casino, and it completely works. I love narration movies. I’m a sucker for them as much as I’m a sucker for repeat a certain amount of time/day movies (yes, I can’t wait for Happy Death Day). Sorry off topic. The movie is about a pilot named Barry Seal, who worked for the CIA, and after smuggling drugs for the Medellin Cartel on the side, became an informant for the DEA. This guy got away with so much shit it was astonishing how much of the story was actually true.

The movie is fast paced, and quick, even for two hours. The time flies by with how much electricity this film shocks into your theater going experience. The direction is perfect, loved the aerial plane shots. The supporting acting is also perfect, with Domnahall Gleeson showing that he is destined to eventually become a star. I also loved that the film didn’t give us a Tom Cruise Hollywood ending and took a chance (even though I realize they were just retelling what really happened but you never know, I just expect a Tom Cruise kind of ending when I see a Tom Cruise movie).

But yeah, it is a shame a lot of you will not see this because you think Tom Cruise is crazy and hate his guts. But it isn’t like he is a murderer, or child molestor, or forcefully packs fudge, or something truly unforgivable. He is just in a hokey religion that is a little obsessed with control. This is where you need to separate the actor, his personal life, and his craft. If you do that, you are more likely to have a better time with this. Because this film deserves to be seen. It is that well made, and makes for a great time at the movies. Cruise to your local theater and give this a chance. I beg you. I won’t beg you by jumping on a couch but I will normal human being non Vishnu beg you.