Tag Archives: Movie Review

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: Netflix’s GERALD’S GAME

Many people that know me personally know that Stephen King is my favorite author. He should be, considering that I have read everything he has written, even non fiction. That being said, combined with my absolute love of the cinema, if a Stephen King adaptation hits the big screen, you know I am going to go over that piece with a fine tooth comb. This year has been the year for Stephen King adaptations, and I believe there is still one more to go on Netflix later this month with 1922. The Dark Tower was absolute shit, but IT was an absolute delight. GERALD’S GAME is more towards It than The Dark Tower, but there are a couple of things that truly slow down the film that turn it from being great, to just pretty good.

HOWEVER, that is not the director or screenwriters fault. It really is King’s, because this film is basically a page by page adaptation of the novel. And I do like the novel, although the one aspect keeping me from loving the novel, is the one aspect in here that keeps me from loving the Netflix movie. I am not not recommending it though. It is a really good watch and any avid Stephen King fan or horror fan in general I think will enjoy it. But the epilogue, while not killing the movie, certainly slows things down, and the epilogue deals with the one quick aspect earlier in the film that I didn’t particularly like, so I did not enjoy the epilogue. But director Mike Flanagan set out to make a adaptation of Gerald’s Game, and he went by the book, so I have to praise him for that.

I wish I could tell you the one aspect I didn’t like, but that gets into a little spoiler territory. So let me try and be vague while also explaining what I didn’t like about the novel or film. The epilogue deals with two characters in a court room basically. And one of these characters seems a little…how do I describe it….this character doesn’t seem to fit the film. Seems a little weird and odd. This aspect could’ve stayed in the film, but they could’ve made the character with the same kind of weirdness but his/her appearance more…normal? That’s all I’ll get into. It’s in the book as well, and the book could’ve kept the aspect without going a little too unbelievably weird looking. But I digress, this is King’s story and it is how he wanted to tell it.

If you haven’t even seen a preview for Gerald’s Game, I should probably give you a quick plot set up to see if you are even interested. A husband and wife go to this place to get away from it all and have really intense sexual role playing adventures. Gerald hand cuff his wife, arms up Jesus on the cross style to the bed frame, and he ends up having a heart attack and dying. With no one knowing that they are there she has to do anything to survive and get out of there, all while a man-eating dog, a possible stranger, and her own delusions try to get the better of her.

The great Carla Gugino stars as Gerald’s wife Jessie, and Bruce Greenwood co-stars as Gerald. It is basically a two person show with flashbacks into Jessie’s childhood that hints at why she is the way she is now. Gerald, even dead, doesn’t leave the picture as her delusions get the better of her and she imagines him still walking around and talking to her. It’s a great mind fuck of a picture, trying not to just overcome physical aspects but mental aspects as well to survive, and Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood are perfect casting here.

The is one WTF moment, very disturbing, and cringe worthy hard to read part of the novel, and the movie takes that part to a whole other level, which I loved (you’ll know it when you see it). Director Mike Flanagan is a great horror director in my eyes, having rescued Ouija by bringing a stellar sequel/prequel into the fold and I love his other stuff as well such as Oculus. Can’t wait to see what he brings us next.

Anyway, that’s basically all I can say without going into spoilers. This film is based on a novel by the mind of Stephen King so when you watch it you know what you are getting yourself into. And through no fault of the director or adaptation writer, it’s only a pretty good film, but not a great one. And it’s because of that one aspect I can’t reveal. It just seems so out of place in that movie and novel universe we were given during the film. I think you’ll know what I am talking about when you see it to. So if you’ve seen it and you are hungry for more King adaptations, you can’t go wrong watching this.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: Netflix’s NAKED

No, Netflix did not premiere a porno, this is Marlon’s Wayan’s new film called NAKED that premiered on Netflix about a month and a half ago. Why am I reviewing it now? Because Happy Death Day comes into theaters next week and I am kind of obsessed with those films about day/other specific amount of time redo’s. Films like Groundhog Day, Edge of Tomorrow, and Before I Fall, films where the main character gets to live a certain amount of time over and over and over and over again until they figure out what they did wrong and try to make things right. While the three films I mentioned above span basically entire 24 hours, this film gives its character only an hour and a half to figure out what he is doing wrong.

And the reason why the film is called Naked is because the main character wakes up naked in an elevator of a hotel every time he starts his hour and a half over. The main character is supposed to get married that day and he has to do everything possible to make it to his wedding while also figuring out why exactly this is happening to him. And while usually what is wrong and why people are reliving these amounts of times usually has to do with that these characters need to fix themselves as people in general, usually the journey and all the possible scenarios make the film at least somewhat enjoyable even if all the cliches are as present as a dead pixel on a television screen.

The reason why I’m recommending this film mostly is that this is Marlon Wayan’s best film since the original Scary Movie. Marlon Wayan’s has talent, but instead of really trying to harness in on it, he makes stupid spoof movies like the Paranormal bullshit and the Fifty Shades crap riffs he’s made recently. This movie actually shows some of the earlier comic talent he showed in the side to late 90s. Now don’t get me wrong, this movie isn’t a comedic masterpiece by any means, it is just a really good 90 minutes to pass the time on Netflix.

It’s enjoyable in the journey, to figure out why he is naked in the elevator, and even when the conclusion is very predictable and cliched as all get out, all the scenarios that make his relive that hour and a half over and over and over again are unique and humorous and I found myself laughing probably more than I should. Saying this is a cute Marlon Wayan’s film would almost seem impossible and hard to believe, but it really is. The reason it probably works so well is that Marlon only came up with the story and didn’t write the screenplay. Maybe he should do it more often. Like I said, this movie isn’t fantastic, just a little cute way to pass the time. You could do much worse on Netflix.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US

Who knew that a sex scene could ruin an entire movie? I guess unless you are a movie like Showgirls which is basically one dumb giant sex scene. But alas, a sex scene and everything that comes after it completely ruins anything THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US gives its audience in the survivalrific (I know that’s not a word) first two thirds of the film. Then the film goes all Lord of the Rings on us with about 10 different endings in a 20 minute epilogue that should’ve been only 5 to 7 minutes long. We all know that Idris Elba and Kate Winslet can act the pants off anything, but not even they can save the absolutely horrific dialogue and character motivation it gives in the last third of the movie. For me, the mountain to climb was the screenplay, and I only got about half way up before I just said, “fuck it” and turned around.

I was about to blame the screenplay writer (which I guess I still can, because technically he/she could’ve changed the material) when I saw that the movie is based on the novel, and doing a tiny bit more research, the exact same stuff that happens in the movie happens in the novel, so it isn’t entirely the screenplay writers fault. The movie is about two people, one on the way to her wedding, and the other on the way to operate on a 10 year old boy’s brain tumor, try to beat the storm and get a private charter plane through a terrible winter storm, end up crashing on top of a mountain, and having to survive.

Good set up and 50% good execution (especially the survival techniques), I just didn’t believe that the emotions that transpired between these two individuals in peril was believable or earned. Their friendship between the two of them is very, very well acted and believable. But when the sex scene occurs, everything, including logic, good dialogue, and common sense, is thrown into the wind.

If the movie went a different route, where they still fell in love through the whole ordeal but didn’t necessarily do the nasty or even kiss, I might’ve believed it more. But the sex scene in question is just very awkward and unearned of my emotions. Sorry if I’m spoiling that there is a sex scene in the film but you could’ve probably spotted that something was going to happen based on the trailers which spoil the entire film. I won’t hint at whether they survive or not or tell you anything else about the film other than the fact that the most believable character development in the film was the dog.

And even the dog surviving as long as it does makes no sense, wouldn’t his paws have been frost bitten by a certain amount of time? Whatever, that logic is thrown to the wind as well. Also, when Kate Winslet goes through the ice (this is shown in the trailers) into the cold water below, I started laughing and thinking about Titanic, and how the tables have turned on Rose, which the filmmakers probably didn’t want you associating¬†with this film like that.

But it isn’t just the sex scene that ruins the movie, the sex scene is just the catalyst. Everything that happens after it is sort of unbelievable and goes on wayyyy too long. There are a ton of scenes the movie could’ve ended on but instead it goes for the really bad dialogue, sappy, oh woe my heart is thee, sappy, anti-climatic ending. The last third of the film completely made me giving the film a worthwhile climb to a worthwhile recommendation. If you are a girl that just got broken up with her boyfriend/girlfriend and you have a pint of ice cream and need to just cry, this film is for you. Otherwise, find another, better summit to scale.

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.