Tag Archives: The Cubicle Escapee

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: SLEIGHT

And finally, my fourth review for the one movie I saw this weekend that happens to be my favorite of the bunch and the one I would only truly recommend making time out of your way to check it out: SLEIGHT. Some critics are calling it Chronicle meets Iron Man or The Prestige meet Chronicle or Juice/any urban gang film meets Chronicle or some other bullshit hybrid film combo that will take the place of an unqiue worded review about the film itself, which is it’s own thing. Slap me shocked that this didn’t get more marketing and more theaters because it is one heck of an entertaining film that plays by its own rules and is smart as fuck. Not surprised that this was brought to us by one of the producers of Get Out.

If I could describe the film I would call it a thriller with a urban magical technological twist. Yep, that descriptive. I don’t want to go too much into spoilers because the trailers for this film are a bit misleading and for good reason. If you’ve seen the trailer it looks like it is about a drug dealer by night, magician/street performer by day, but one that has superpowers. Well it is and it isn’t, but one thing is for sure, this film IS NOT Chronicle. There is more to his “powers” that meets the eye, so much so in fact that I was prepared to be disappointed if the kid actually did have supernatural powers that helped him with his magician tricks and his pickle in his drug dealings that he gets into. But it’s not, it has a down to Earth type explanation that I won’t describe for you here. Safe to say that I was impressed.

This is the tightest 90 minute little thriller that I have seen in quite some time and I enjoyed ever millisecond of it. A great storytelling movie like this can only be heightened by its performances, and that is exactly what Sleight does. The performances are freaking amazing. Jacob Lattimore as Bo, the lead, is compelling and has such a clear arc and different approaches to his character for each twist and turn it blew me away. There is this one scene where he is talking about a trick he saw from a magician as a kid, so mesmerizing because Lattimore just knocks it out of the park. But there is another performance that impressed me even more and that was from Dule Hill, who plays Bo’s drug dealing boss Angelo.

Don’t know who Dule Hill is by name, okay, how about the guy that played Gus on Psych, Shawn’s best friend and co-lead? Yep, that guy. Can’t imagine seeing Gus with a gun, playing a bad ass drug lord throwing out F-bombs left and right and hitting and killing people? Neither did I until I saw this film. I am hoping this film catches on and maybe he’ll get more projects other than playing the “aw shucks partner” in films and television shows. Here he is intoxicating, masterful, and filled with so much suspense I was on the edge of my seat every time he was on screen.

The movie also sticks the landing at the end, not going out on an all out magical techno brawl action sequence but a finale that is down to Earth, just the right amount of action, and doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. This film just has a good story, you get a urban thriller, a romance subplot, a family subplot, all with a cool little twist to make it it’s own. Please do find a theater it is playing in and go see it. I thought it was very smart take on what it was trying to do without ripping something off like Chronicle. I repeat: this film is not Chronicle. Go see it.

 

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE CIRCLE

Riddle me this: What is a conspiracy movie without a conspiracy? Bland? Lame? Half a movie? To describe this movie as a joke to a geometry major I would say that THE CIRCLE is only the radius compared to its diameter of an idea. The movie feels like only one act to what should be a three act movie, and that one act goes absolutely no where when the audience expects any film tale is supposed to go full circle. It’s a shame because the talent and filmmakers involved should’ve filled that entertaining hole in any and all movie goers heart, but instead fills it with absolute boredom.

The marketers for this film are smart. They knew if they were marketing this film as it truly should have been, no one would’ve been keen to see it. Instead, they make it look like one huge big conspiracy movie where Hermoine Granger is haunted by and infiltrates Slytherin to try and bring that entire part of the school crumbling down. Sounds like a cool new Harry Potter film right? But instead imagine a Harry Potter film where all you did was fucking watch Hermoine go to her classes, read from her books, and only a little disturbance happens when one of her classmates sneezes too loud during studying. That’s what The Circle is.

The marketing team made this film look like a conspiracy is happening toward Emma Watson’s Mia character from the company that she works for, and Tom Hanks being some big corporate head honcho Steve Job’s type person that is part of the evil plan. They did this by putting basically all the “conspiracy” scenes in the trailer. But what they won’t tell you is that those scenes of Emma climbing up and down a latter is to just to follow John Boyega knowingly to see where new servers for the company will eventually be set up. The scenes of Tom Hanks asking Watson a leering question is actually them just chatting openly with no bad intentions involved. The scene of her screaming is not what you think either.

There is no conspiracy in this movie. The entire movie is Emma Watson’s day to day operations of her job and then at one point, when she goes kayaking late at night and almost drowns, The Circle’s cameras save her, and she then moves up in the company fast as a “needs The Circle surveillance system poster child.” Then instead of bringing up a cool new conspiracy, you instead see what she does with her new responsibilities, with a couple of hiccups involving her close friends and family and finally realizing that no privacy is bad. That’s it. That’s all the movie is. And it feels like the movie ends mid movie too. And all throughout the movie just when you think the movie is going to introduce a conspiracy, like why a senator suddenly gets fired and a new one replaces them, they write it off really quickly with one line of dialogue.

In fact, the only really great part of this movie was laughing furiously when Emma Watson decides to completely broadcast her entire life to the world using The Circle’s system.  When she does this you see a bunch of user comments flash on the screen commenting on her life and what she is doing currently. The funny thing is, THERE IS NO FUCKING WAY ANY OF THEM ARE REALISTIC TO WHAT PEOPLE HOW PEOPLE IN LIFE WOULD COMMENT. When she is getting ready for bed there are comments like “nice sheets” or “don’t forget to brush your teeth for one full minute” when you know in real life there would be comments like “Let me see dem titties!” or “Please masterbate for me Mia!” There are a couple of really funny comments like, “I like to fart in bed,” “I am about to eat year old cheese,” and my favorite, “The people at The Circle probably have no children,” but the rest is just laughably bad. Completely unrealistic to what would happen if somebody really did that in real life.

The only fun part of the movie was trying to read all the comments, in fact, if I were ever to revisit this film, I would constantly pause the movie to try and read all of them. The movie isn’t all bad. The acting is really good from Watson and Hanks, even though Watson looks too smart to ever work for a billing company. And Hanks, delivers inspiring tech speeches with perfect precision. But when has Hanks actually sucked in a shitty movie? It’s rare. And John Boyega, the great John Boyega who plays Finn in the new Star Wars films, is completely wasted here, in the fact that he only has two scenes and then is photoshopped into a crowd not once, but TWICE!!! Karen Gillan is honestly the best actress in this thing and the only one that kind of has a full character arc, and I can’t take Patton Oswalt in a role like he has in this seriously. I will give a shout out though to Bill Paxton who plays Mia’s dad with MS. I’m really going to miss him and even though he is in this film very little, he is great in his role and his presence is big enough to be sad by the fact that he won’t be making movies anymore.

But, like I said, the film doesn’t go full circle. It goes nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. What could’ve been a fantastic conspiracy film about technology, privacy, etc. is an hour and 50 minute film about a girl’s work day and how at the end she really doesn’t change anything but get revenge on a couple of people. It has a couple of really intriguing ideas on where technology and privacy could take us but doesn’t explore its full effect. If you want a half way decent conspiracy film you thought you would get with this, just go rent AntiTurst, which is a much better film, even though cheesy in it’s own right. If you are on the way to the theater to see this right now, might I suggest making a 180 and go back home to do something better with your life.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: GREY LADY

Again, another movie you haven’t ever heard of. It stars Eric Dane, you played McSteamy on Grey’s Anatomy. But you know what the saddest part I’m about to write about the film GREY LADY? I would honestly rather watch any episode of Grey’s Anatomy than suffer the torture I had while watching this film ever again. What is a great concept for a neo-noir thriller with a interesting story is completely “cement on your feet and then thrown into an ocean” bogged down with terribly bad acting, some of the worst dialogue I have ever heard, terrible direction, and the story reveals too many cards too early in the game for the rest of the movie to be even remotely interesting.

And Eric Dane (Heard he’s good on The Last Ship and Natalie Zea has been great in a bunch of things like Justified) isn’t a bad actor. In fact, none of these people really are bad actors, it’s the dialogue and other shit they are given in the script that make them look terrible. Not only that but all the characters make really really dumb choices, both bad guys and good guys, that it was hard to take any of it seriously. The script is so convoluted, Eric Dane’s characters leaves a place literally 5 seconds before different characters have a gun stand off. Pretty laughable.

The story is about a cop who keeps losing some of his family members to murder and a trap set by the killer just made him lose his female partner (who he had been sleeping with and she just found out she was pregnant! dun dun duuuuuun!). The last words that she says to him makes him follow some clues to Nantucket Island, where the past catches up to him, and the killer also follows him there. It’s a race against time to find the killer before he ‘kills’ again, but this time it’s the innocent people of Nantucket who is on his chopping block.

See how cheesy I wrote that paragraph? That’s how the ENTIRE movie plays out. It is a noir thriller, but the noir is taken away with all the cheese and lame writing. Now, the movie does have a pretty cool story in there. Once everything was revealed, I imagined a much better movie played out in my head, and with a better director, it could’ve been fantastic. But when the cop can’t shoot and kill someone because of a certain spoilery reason I won’t reveal here, he says why he can’t kill this person so over dramatically it made me had the best laugh I had this past Sunday.

Why did Cinemark Legacy decide to show this movie? Just found out that it is coming out on DVD in like two months. Did they really think this had the star power and storyline to warrant a theatrical release? It has no review on Rotton Tomatoes right now, and I can’t find a single review anywhere. The only thing that I look forward to this film when it comes out in June to read other reviews to see how bad they thought it was. But yes, this movie is definitely one that should not only have not been released into one theater theatrically, but never made at all.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER

Now what we have here is a semi-failure to communicate. After a great set up and hilarious first 20 minutes, this comedy turns into a meander, cliched additional half hour that goes unfortunately where it is expected to. HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER could’ve been one of the first fantastic PG-13 comedies in a long time. The first 20 minutes showed completely that this didn’t necessarily need to be Rated R to be funny. This was supposed Eugenio Derbez’s big breakout from doing great Spanish comedies like the huge hit Instructions Not Included, to mixing it up with some American finesse and cast members, but the movie falls flat because of the cliches and familiar story. After the first 20 minutes, the movie is only sporadically amusing.

And I keep going on about the first 20 minutes, but trust me, those first 20 minutes are fantastic. In case you haven’t heard of this movie, it’s about a young man, at a very young age, wanting to just marry an older woman (basically be a trophy husband), never have to work while enjoying her riches, waiting for her to die, and then getting all the money to himself. We see him getting the older woman, him growing up himself, and what his life is like married to her, which is the first great part of the movie. But then instead of going the route it should’ve gone, which was she dies but he has to learn to work to keep up those riches that she earned during her lifetime, instead the movie has her cheat on him with Michael Cera (yeah, I know) and he has to stay with his estranged sister and his small 10 year old nephew (you see where this is going don’t you), and he tries to find another old rich wife, but also learns to…love the family he already has. Sigh.

You can tell why I sighed and maybe you signed as well while reading this. Why did this movie decide to go that familiar route? I mean the whole concept shows he doesn’t have to work for riches so why not flip that? Granted he has to work in this, but just enough to get by, and it barely shows him trying to scrounge up for money. It mainly goes the route of teaching his nephew inappropriate shit, they share a bond, so him and his sister, played by the gorgeous Selma Hayek, develop a bond too. And then you can guess that shit happens because of him that threaten to tear apart that bond, yada, yada, yada, redemption, yada, yada, yada, end of movie.

Maybe they had those great 20 minutes and didn’t know what the fuck to do with it, so they looked in the “Plain Screenwriting 101 Handbook,” and this is what they came up with. At least I can say that it isn’t Eugenio Derbez’s fault, because he didn’t write the movie, he just brought his charisma to it. And his charisma works because he is the most watchable part of the movie. In fact there is nothing wrong with any of the acting, the complete problem is the story. Selma Hayek is great in this and the son is great in this. Kristen Bell has a bit part as someone that tries to help Derbez when he’s down on his luck and she’s cute and lovable in what she does. But she isn’t hilarious. In another story, as another character, she could’ve been fantastic.

The film isn’t terrible, it’s just an amusing throwaway one time watch. Definitely not a must see theater watch, but maybe a rental surrounded by family and friends. Or hell, maybe I didn’t get much of the Spanish humor and maybe that’s why I didn’t enjoy it as much? No clue. This review is just my opinion. I would like to see Eugenio Derbez in more American stuff though. He is a great character actor and knows when to throw in a good punch line. It’s just the screenplay wasn’t filled with many of them.