Tag Archives: Movie Reviews

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: STRONGER

STRONGER features a different side to the Boston Marathon bombing than was featured in the film Patriot’s Day. Instead of the event and the hunting of the bombers, we have the inspiring story of Jeff Bauman, a man that was right by one of the bombs, ended up losing both of his legs in the blast. Here, he is portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaul in another powerful performance that begs the question, “why in the hell hasn’t Gyllenhaul won an Oscar yet?” HE is honestly going to be the new Leo DiCaprio in about 10 to 15 years, where he’ll end up winning one for a performance that is still strong, but less than his previous work.

The movie itself is very decent, although for me there was a little something missing, and I can’t quite figure out what it is. Maybe it is the fact that I didn’t like Jeff Bauman for most of the film, considering him very lazy and too privileged, and only after losing almost everything other than his legs he starts to get his ass into gear. I thought that the story of his ex girlfriend Erin, played fantastically by Tatiana Maslany, was the more inspiring story, on how long she had to put up with his ass acting the way he was. Maybe I was a little bored throughout the movie, and it was just that the story didn’t uplift me as it was probably supposed to.

So although it is a good movie, very good in fact, I wish it was more. But if it was, I have a feeling the movie wouldn’t be as real, as I’m told that the real Jeff Bauman saw the movie and said it was pretty damn accurate. I am glad that the real Bauman turned his life together after being involved in that terrible tragedy. Just wanting to live the next day after that takes courage in and of itself. I don’t think that anything missing was any of the screenplay or direction by David Gordon Green’s fault, I just think it would make a more interesting hour documentary than a 2 hour character study.

But it is like I’m saying the movie is bad, which I’m not. Most of you will find that missing something in it and love the heck out of this film. Everything about the movie is top notch. I would probably revisit this on Netflix but it isn’t something I would buy or something I would watch over and over again. I honestly think that out of the two Boston Marathon bombing films, that Patriot’s Day is still the more harrowing of the two. It’s the performances here that does take the movie out of mediocrity, as Jake Gyllenhaul can basically spit on anything and make it about 20% better.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: JEEPERS CREEPERS 3

Well, I don’t know what to tell ya. I have no idea how the hell you are going to see this movie or when you are going to see it, considering it was just in theaters for one night and that night was last night, but I’m going to review it anyway, so that when it eventually pops up in that $5 Blu-Ray bin, or is available to rent from a streaming service, or available as part of your Netflix subscription, that you might want to leave the first and second films as a good distant memory, and pretend JEEPERS CREEPERS 3 never even existed.

When you have a third film in any kind of franchise, you usually have to go all out, even in horror, where you know there are several sequels yet to come. Scream 3, Dream Warriors, Child’s Play 3, Friday the 13th part 3, Saw III, Paranormal Activity 3, even though we know there are still more sequels to come, the films double down on its hand just in case there isn’t. There are certain rules, one must abide by in order to successful create a sequel to a horror film, and continue the franchise. It still has to follow horror film rules in general. Jeepers Creepers 3 breaks every single one of these rules, and then some.

I think we should go over some if not all of these rules shall we? Should make for an interesting and different review:

Horror Rule Number 1: Never, ever, show your monster in the daylight.

And that is all that Jeepers Creepers 3 does. I don’t remember the Creeper at night until the very, very end of the film. There is a reason for this which breaks one of the horror rules mentioned below, and this could’ve been completely unavoidable is this whole plot was scrapped, but they went with it, so the creeper is only shown during the day. What’s the problem with this? 99% of the time if your monster is shown during the day, it isn’t scary. The 1% of the time goes to IT and the original Halloween, because with IT the kids being out at night wouldn’t have made a whole bunch of sense (wait until they are adults, it will just be midnight scary madness then) and Halloween works because we needed to see Michael Myers stalk these babysitters on the way home from school. But the Creeper, being almost completely at night in the first two films, is in complete daylight here, and isn’t scary at all, and unfortunately very comical.

Horror Rule Number 2: DO NOT EVER make a third film where the story takes place between two others.

You can go all the way before, or you can go all the way after. If you go all the way before,  or if for some reason you fuck up this rule like Jeepers Creepers 3 does, you have to reveal vital information on the monster/situation at hand. Final Destination 5 went all the way before, and it’s plot twist worked. Paranormal Activity 3 went back to when the terror started for the sisters, and it worked because it gave us new information. Jeepers Creepers 3 takes place in between films 1 and 2, which is why it is set mostly during the day. The movie seems like it is about to give us new info (like the original of the creature and how to really kill it), but it never does, it just hints at it and instead it gives us a very stupid cliffhanger that promises all will be revealed in #4 when the timeline finally goes back to after part 2. Stupid. Because of this story, we get the creeper in full daylight, making him not frightening at all. Plus, if you have the film between two others, you know that the menace likely survives, so all your would be tension goes straight out the window.

3. Horror Rule Number 3: Keep it simple, stupid.

Controversial writer/director Victor Salva, who helmed the other two, tries to put in way too many characters, and hints at way too much lore about the Creeper that is ultimately never revealed, making everything too confusing for the audience to care. With horror films, unless you are a film like Saw. Keep it simple, even when you actually have a plot, keep it simple. Scare your audience, not confuse the shit out of the them with too much crap put in. There are so many characters in this, none of them had any development whatsoever. And there are backstories hinted at, that are never truly revealed, which is a big no no here. I don’t care if you think there is going to be a #4, reveal what you hint at or promise. Or at least reveal most of it, and then it would be okay to keep a few things for later. Prometheus had that problem of asking too many questions and not answering them. Jeepers Creepers 3 literally tells Prometheus to hold it’s beer.

You can tell this film was cheaply made, in my eyes it is not even worth a Netflix release. This is straight up Sharknado, Sci-Fi channel only territory. Part of the fact is probably that Victor Salva had a small as fuck budget and this is the best he thinks he could’ve come up with. I disagree, I’ve seen some even cheaper Sci-Fi channel shit that had more heart than this. This was just lazy. Long takes to make the film longer than it needed to be. Horrible, terrible, CGI that was painful to watch. Terrible, laughable acting around every corner. The only good part of the film was that the Creeper’s truck was outfitted with some cool booby traps that would’ve looked fantastic with a huge budget. With what they had…it all looked terrible.

In the end, it completely looked like a student fan made Jeepers Creepers film. And with the original writer and director on board, no matter how controversial he is, is a big, big, no no. This movie was absolutely terrible and definitely one of the worst of the year. I bet the film Friend Request had more balls than this film (even though I am not going to see Friend Request until it hits a free market). My theater was packed and sold out with Jeepers Creepers fan and every face coming out of there told me that they were extremely disappointed by what they saw. Jeepers Creepers 3 makes Jeepers Creepers 1 and 2 look like The Exorcist and A Nightmare on Elm Street. If there is a 4th, Salva will have to try extremely hard to get more peepers, including mine, interested in ever seeing it.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BRAD’S STATUS

BRAD’S STATUS is a quirky little dramedy that is one of Ben Stiller’s best performances and decent movies in awhile. It is also screenwriter’s Mike White’s best film in awhile too, considering that I hated the film that he wrote earlier this year called Beatriz at Dinner. In fact I related to this film quite a bit, not that I’m having a mid life crisis or anything. But the movie gives certain thoughts to, what is it to be successful? Does money make us successful or is it who we are, or a little bit of both? What do we truly value? Granted many films have done this, and to judge a film like this now you would have to consider the journey and the way the film tells the message. And for the most part it does a really good job.

I’m not saying this film is a masterpiece, far from it, but it is a very very good Netflix watch. The film is about a dad, played by Stiller, who takes his 17 year old son to college campus’s including Harvard, seeing where his musical prodigy son would like to go. Along the way he has a minor mid life crisis, finding out who is really is, what friendship truly is, and what is his purpose. The film, throughout the whole thing, has a very calm and insightful narration by Ben Stiller that really drives the movie. If it didn’t have it I don’t know if the movie would’ve been as good. The conversations that Stiller has with his wife, son, himself, and others feel real, and feel like we could be having them with the people we know, which is always a good thing in any movie.

Throughout the film, Stiller wonders why he isn’t as successful as his successful and rich friends played by Michael Sheen, Luke Wilson, Mike White, and Jermaine Clement. All of these roles are mostly glorified cameos, but each does a good job with what they are given, especially Luke Wilson who has displayed more emotion in a phone call with Stiller than he has in his last 5 films. The one that gets the short straw is Jenna Fischer, however not because of her performance, which I have a feeling that if it were expanded she’d be the most interesting character in the film, it’s because she isn’t given that much to do. Which is a shame because I really like Pam and think she could do great things beyond The Office.

The films is short, just over 95 minutes, and doesn’t overstay its welcome. It doesn’t try to wrap everything up in a nice bow either, which I usually always appreciate. I wouldn’t buy this at all, however I would put it as background noise again, or watch it again with someone that actually is having a mid life crisis, and whose life isn’t so bad as they think it is. So the status of this film for me? Good. And sometimes good is all you need.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE

The first thirty minutes of THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE plays out like The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie. Zany fun, with some dry humor, huge sight and sound gags, and very smart storytelling. Then when that thirty minutes is over, it skids into a tad boring film that is less about ninjas and what they do into a cliched parent neglect and redemption story. A story you’ve seen a thousand times before done by better films. If the Lego humor was still there, it could’ve worked, but ultimately, it was a little disappointing. I think if it would’ve entirely focused on Ninjas with an actual Ninja like storyline, instead of the father son thing while trying to take over a city, it might’ve been another Lego hit. Instead, it is my least favorite of the Lego movies, and one that will probably never enter the Blu ray player again. But I have a kid now so I might have just eaten my words in three years.

The voice acting in this is incredible though. Dave Franco and his team of Ninjas played by the likes of Abba Jacobson and Kumail Nanjiani, all do great work in this. So does Olivia Munn as Lloyd’s mom and Jackie Chan (who is in the flesh here as well and is just as charming as ever) as their Ninja master. But it is the villain, Garmadon, voiced by Justin Theoroux, who steals absolutely every scene he is in, making the best Lego villain yet, unfortunately in a film that doesn’t equal the characters potential. It is the voice acting and the first 30 minutes, especially with a awesome cat gag, that save this movie from ultimately being completely boring and unwatchable.

When a movie is called Ninjago, I expected an awesome Ninja storyline with Ninja sights, sounds, and gags filling every minute of the screen. They still could’ve put the dad and son storyline in the movie, but it be a Plot B type of thing while have a Ninja quest plot A.  But it focuses too much on the dad and son storyline, and I knew how it was going to end, and even the journey to get there was not inventive enough, leaving me unimpressed. Plus, this needed more Jackie Chan. The Lego animation is still incredible here, but the humor after the first 30 minutes kind of disappears and the movie plays it too straight. It should be 100% zany Lego fun. Not 35%.

Hopefully this is just a misfire all the franchises have and they take their time making The Lego Movie 2. I feel like Ninjago might’ve been a rushed product after the success of the original first movie, and rushed it into production without much of a script. Since the first two movies were so enjoyable, I can let this one slide. But if the next movie almost puts me to sleep, there could be fast franchise fatigue on Lego’s hands. The saddest part of this film? I probably would’ve rather watched a kid play an hour and 30 minutes with his Lego’s than have ever watched this. This should not happen.