Tag Archives: The Cubicle Escapee

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: JIGSAW (Saw 8)

“If it’s Halloween, it must be Saw.” That was basically the tagline every year from 2004 to 2010. And every year I looked forward to hearing that tagline again and again. But then once Paranormal Activity came out and kept basically coming out a week before Saw every year near the end of the latter’s run, audience attentions spans got distracted and switched over to the found footage horror genre, leaving Saw with nothing to do but to release a shitty “Final Chapter”, add a 3D gimmick, not make money, and left the theaters for good in 2010. But now…it’s back. JIGSAW is back.

And friends, I am an unapologetic lover of this franchise. I always thought the writing here was better and had a more entertaining dynamic than the Paranormal Activity franchise, which basically lost touch after its third film, and then slipped into garbage movie trash oblivion. But not Saw. While Saw kind of wavered between films (mainly just II and V), sometimes the films would actually get better than it’s previous installments. When it was announced that Saw was coming back, there was hardly any information about it, and it was previous named Saw: Legacy (Jigsaw is a much better title), I was a bit skeptical. I mean was this a sequel? A reboot? A soft reboot?

What more could they possible do to Jigsaw’s story of getting ungrateful people to fight for their lives in some death trap maze where usually all the victims would lose? And then I saw the trailer, which was not only cool but which hinted at Jigsaw not really being dead, (oh yeah, spoiler alert, he died all the way back in the third film) which got me intrigued. If he is alive, how the hell did he survive Saw III?! What kind of twist with this installment bring? I knew that if the franchise came back, and at least didn’t bring an installment that was better than half of the others, Saw would officially be dead.

But dead it is not! In fact, Jigsaw is the best installment since the first. I loved it’s twisty, zany story that kept me guessing until the very end. You know each Saw movie has some kind of twist, and I loved the ultimate twist here. In fact I was the most shocked since that classic “moment” in the first movie, and I was constantly looking for it. The movie managed to leave me flabbergasted several times. To enjoy these movies, you have to look past the “torture porn” aspect of it, and just enjoy the insane amount of lunacy and suspend your belief as much as you can. And I can do that with these films.

I really only had four expectations: 1. Have a huge ultimate twist. 2. During that twist, play that Saw music we know so well. 3. Someone at the end says game over. 4. The traps are not only inventive but gives you that bloody and gory goodness horror audience crave. Only one of these things doesn’t happen, and it’s the one I let slide because it isn’t the first time it hasn’t been done. Am I going to describe the plot to you? Not really. I’ll just saw that more people are in a game that looks to be created by Jigsaw, which should be impossible since Jigsaw has been dead for ten years.

The film ends up being mainly a sequel and sort of a soft reboot (considering it’s been 7 years since the last film), but it doesn’t repeat scene for scene any of the traps, story devices or previous twists, which I definitely appreciated. Does our horror master actor Tobin Bell show up in this? I will not reveal that here either. You’ll just have to see for yourself. My friend Kim and I have been going to see every Saw film since we met each other when the 5th movie came out, and then we had a marathon of the other four. We love these films. And the fact that we both said, “well that was pretty damn good and entertaining,” is high praise for the franchise. Look, the only way you are going to see this film is if you are a fan of the franchise and want something better than the shitty Final Chapter. You can’t go into this movie not having seen the other films. That would be just dumb. So if you are intrigued, I suggest having a 7 movie marathon before heading to your theater. Enjoy Halloween. And see Saw.

My order of favorite to least favorite Saw films:

  1.   Saw
  2.  Jigsaw
  3.  Saw VI
  4.  Saw IV
  5.  Saw III
  6.  Saw II
  7.  Saw V
  8.  Saw: The Final Chapter

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS

Wondering if you should see A BAD MOM CHRISTMAS, the extremely rushed sequel to last year’s summer hit? Well, you just have to ask yourself one question. Did you like the first one? Because if so, great, this one is exactly on par with the first. Mindless, fun, entertainment that isn’t meant to be a comedy classic, just meant for you, your family and friends to switch off your brains, laugh some and have a good time. The target audience on this is simple, moms and their friends that are moms, or a higher in age family. Anyone that thinks the holidays are stressful and a load of chestnuts. Anyone that likes Kenny G taking his flute like instrument and pretending it is his cock (yes, that does happen in this movie). Basically, anyone that likes really ridiculous crude humor. I was entertained and satisfied, what more could I want.

Sometimes I can’t expect a comedy classic. I didn’t expect it out of the first one, and I had a good time. And I especially don’t expect it out of comedy sequels, which are a really hard nut to crack. Sometimes sequels do the same old same old and it either works or doesn’t, and sometimes it tries to go really outside the box, and it either works or doesn’t. It usually doesn’t work in both cases. I am a huge supporter in comedy films NOT having sequels. I mean, do you really want a sequel to Wedding Crashers? But since the first Bad Moms was ultimately harmless and fun, I didn’t mind a sequel. And this sequel mixes it up just a tiny bit. It does the same old same old story of the first where the tired and stressed out moms try and loosen up and go crazy, but this time they do it during the holidays and try to take back making Christmas perfect for everyone.

And then this time they do the ultimate cliche thing of bringing in the mom’s mom to wreck havoc. They pair Mila Kunis with Christine Baranski, Kristen Bell with Cheryl Hines, and Kathryn Hahn with Susan Sarandon. Susan Sarandon definitely has the under developed storyline where she seems like an extended cameo more than an actual role in this. But I did see her as Kathryn Hahn’s mom. And while Christine Baranski was the most developed in this, and she had her moments, she seemed too stuck to being the same character (Leonard’s mom) in The Big Bang Theory, except that she adds a fuck and shit every now and then to her vocabulary.

But the biggest surprise of the three was Cheryl Hines. She is definitely the best mom in this film. She got all of Kristen Bell’s manurisms and quirks down and not only does she look like she is having the most fun, but she has the best moments, jokes, and “wince” ful parts in this. Every time she came on screen I knew I would have a big laugh and her chemistry with Kristen Bell was fantastic. But wait, that isn’t even the best part of the movie!

The best part of the movie is Kathryn Hahn and a Santa stripper played by Justin Hartley, some of you may either know him from the latter part of Smallville playing Arrow, but most of you know him as the good looking brother in This Is Us. The waxing scene between Kathryn Hahn and him is the most laugh riot best part of the movie and worth the price of admission alone. And just like the first movie, Mila Kunis did fine, Kristen Bell was good and weird, but the scene stealer is Kathryn Hahn, who I think is one of the most underrated comedy actresses acting today. She is delightful in this.

So yeah, see A Bad Moms Christmas. It’s harmless, it’s the holidays, you’ll have a few good belly laughs, but best of all, you’ll have fun. It seemed like everyone had fun making this film, and it surprised me that they were able to rush this sequel so fast and it be just as good as the first. I don’t know what they are going to do if they make a third one, because obviously you can’t do the holidays twice in a row, but I am looking forward to one more adventure to close out this fun little trilogy.

Crimes Against a Book Club by Kathy Cooperman

Best friends Annie and Sarah need cash—fast. Sarah, a beautiful, successful lawyer, wants nothing more than to have a baby. But balancing IVF treatments with a grueling eighty-hour workweek is no walk in the park. Meanwhile, Annie, a Harvard-grad chemist recently transplanted to Southern California, is cutting coupons to afford her young autistic son’s expensive therapy.

Desperate, the two friends come up with a brilliant plan: they’ll combine Sarah’s looks and Annie’s brains to sell a “luxury” antiaging face cream to the wealthy, fading beauties in Annie’s La Jolla book club. The scheme seems innocent enough, until Annie decides to add a special—and oh-so-illegal—ingredient that could bring their whole operation crashing to the ground.

Hilarious, intelligent, and warm, Crimes Against a Book Club is a delightful look at the lengths women will go to fend for their families and for one another.

My Review:  I really adored this book.  I laughed so many times it reminded me of the early Stephanie Plum days.   I did not want to stop reading.

I loved Sarah and Annie both for different reasons.  I found both relatable even if you are not a successful lawyer or a chemist.   They both had quirks that really made you believe you could be their friend.

The side characters were likeable too and a couple were even perfectly dislikable.

It made you think about high end face creams and the length people will go to so they can maintain that youthful glow.

Also the last large monologue is very true and I think it should be blasted every where.  Even if it was meant to be silly it really had a lot of truth behind it… don’t worry I won’t spoil.

This is probably going to be my favorite book of 2017 and I could easily read again if I needed entertainment.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE FLORIDA PROJECT

THE FLORIDA PROJECT is a cute yet heartbreaking little independent film that is getting some serious Oscar buzz right now. It’s about a young 6 year old girl, her friends, and her morally questionable mother living in a run down project that is managed by the fantastic Willem Dafoe. You may have seen previews for it. It is playing in limited theaters right now but should soon expand. The movie shows what can only be described as the “charming side” of poverty while still trying to show that modern America needs to be way more responsible than it actually is. While I quite liked the movie, very enjoyable to be sure, and that final little scene almost made me shed a tear, and I wouldn’t mind it being nominated, it is a movie that is hard imagining watching more than once, as a lot of the choices/actions by the mother and the kids is really hard to watch.

The reason why the movie is so good because of the acting. Willem Dafoe (who I would love to see nominated for this) is phenomenal as the manager Bobby, who is the one bright spot in this dark and foreboding place. He has to put up with bullshit from the residents each and everyday, but he does so with grace and class. Even though he’s harking down on all these rules and at points seems like he’s had it and doesn’t care, he not only looks after the kids from afar (he’s really the only positive role model around) but he tries to best to at times bend the rules to make situations not any worse than they already are. It is Dafoe’s best performance to date, just watch the scene where he confronts a old stranger getting a little too close to the children playing, it’s a classic.

But the story is truly about the mother, Halley, and her 6 year old, Moonee, played fantastically for a child actor by Brooklyn Prince. Prince is so good, that it felt like children acting like children, especially ones who don’t have a great upbringing at all. And Bria Vinaite as Halley the mom, is so damn good you just want to go through the screen and wring her neck for some of the shit that she pulls. It’s infuriating at times.

I don’t want to spoil any of the movie, but some of the shenanigans that the daughter and the mom end up getting into, it’s really hard not to cover your eyes with your hand. Not just what they do, but how they act, makes you wonder, how did we as human beings, end up sometimes being as bad as this? I loved how the movie though has these dark lives under such bright visuals, but the darker they get, the darker the visuals get, the cinematography in this is breathtaking to be sure and should be included in the list of nominees come January.

And the last scene, with Prince’s acting, is just really touching and heartbreaking, and the ending, while not making sense to some, made perfect sense to me. We live in a harsh world and sometimes you have to pay the piper with some of your actions. If these movie teaches you anything is that everyone needs to be good role models to their kids and if you can’t be, find someone who can. I completely recommend watching this movie, even if I can only watching once. It’s a beautiful sad film that is not only enjoyable, but teaches a lot of life lessons without trying to shove them in your face. I appreciated that.