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23
Oct
19

The Conjuring 2: Conjure Harder

The Conjuring 2 is an incredible example of how not to make a sequel. I greatly enjoyed the first film, and was honestly surprised by how hokey the second film turned out. This has got to be one of the most precipitous drops in quality from film-to-film in a franchise.

The second film takes Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, respectively) to bonny England to help a family that is being terrorized by a ghost. So, the plot is exactly the same as the first movie. But it’s a horror movie, and that’s to be expected, so no big deal.

Unfortunately, The Conjuring 2 forgot what made the first film work so well. Namely, the building of atmosphere, character development, and not having an over-reliance on jump scares. Startling the audience only works briefly, because the more you do it, the more the audience gets desensitized, and then it becomes ineffective.

So, this film jumps right in with the ghost scaring the family with startles flying left and right. There is no chance to learn about the characters in order to give a shit about them. Oh, some random one-dimensional characters are haunted by a ghost? Big fucking deal. And this time around, the startles are inanely stupid. They include stuff like seeing an old man in a television (which made me laugh pretty hard), the old man lunging out of the shadows, furniture being thrown around, and a crazy nun popping up in front of people. None of these scares work because there are far too many of them, and they are ridiculous. Are we supposed to find a cranky old man in a bathrobe scary? The nun was kind of creepy, but she wasn’t the focus. She should have been the main antagonist. The old man just wasn’t scary.

Clearly, they were either stoned or under a serious deadline when they wrote this movie. It’s idiotic from start to finish. It offers nothing to the horror genre, and it is funnier than it is scary. It is a generic horror sequel through and through. What a let down.

Verdict: Bad

28
Sep
19

Polar: Just the Tip of the Crapberg

Polar is one of those movies that seems like it would be impossible to fuck up. It stars cool-as-hell Mads Mikkelsen as a contract killer known as The Black Kaiser. That alone should have been enough to make this a great movie. Yet, they managed to completely bungle everything from start to finish.

The story is tired. Mikkelsen is retiring, but he has to do one last job before his employer lets him go. Of course. It’s always one last job, or one week until retirement, isn’t it? Anyway, the final job is a double-cross. The employer plans to kill Mikkelsen so he doesn’t have to pay him his $8 million pension. Mikkelsen survives, and vows vengeance against those who turned on him. Once again, this premise seems impossible to fuck up. It’s astounding that they did.

The biggest problem is the style of the movie. It has this over-the-top, loony comedy style. But it isn’t funny at all, it’s just really fucking annoying. It’s trying to go for, I don’t know, a Smokin’ Aces vibe or something. When a new character shows up, the film freezes to show their name in bold letters. When the movie changes locations, it shows the name of the place in a funky font with cash register and gunshot sound effects. It focuses on bloodletting, but not cleverly. It’s not like John Wick or Kill Bill that showed ultra-violence in inventive ways. No, it’s just blood splattering around the screen, or a CGI head getting tossed out a window. It’s uninspired. It’s like a teenage boy obsessed with Quentin Tarantino got hold of a multi-million dollar budget.

I’m not sure if the villain, this Baby Huey tub of lard is supposed to be funny or intimidating, but he’s neither, he is really fucking annoying. The movie drags on far too long, offering nothing new to the genre. Mikkelsen miraculously manages to bring in a solid performance, because the guy is a professional. Otherwise, there’s pretty much nothing worthwhile here. There’s some pretty good sex scenes, though, so I guess that’s cool.

Verdict: Shitty

01
Jun
19

John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum

The John Wick series keeps the action clever and explosive in a franchise that just keeps getting better. By now, most franchises would be out of steam and out of ideas. John Wick 3, however, maintains a steady stream of action, and manages to keep doing things that have never been done before. It’s a wonder that 55 year-old Keanu Reeves seems to be at the top of his game here, and the entire creative team delivers a film that defies expectations.

This film picks up immediately where John Wick 2 ended. Reeves is on the run with a 14 million dollar bounty on his head, and every assassin in the world after him. The first act of the film is his desperate attempt to flee New York City. There is a great nod to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, the greatest knife fight ever filmed, and a cool horse chase/battle. It sounds bonkers, but every bit of it works.

Continue reading ‘John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum’

13
May
19

Triple Frontier

A Netflix original film, starring Oscar Isaac, Ben Affleck, and some other dudes, has been promoted as a high-stakes thriller, and a militaristic heist film. Those descriptors don’t work for this movie. This movie is a plodding, pointless piece of poop (yay alliteration) that is anything but thrilling.
Triple Frontier is a snooze a minute about former military guys who learn that a drug lord has a shitload of money hidden in his house. Well, obviously a drug lord has a shitload of money hidden in his house, that’s not exactly a revelation. Anyway, these guys plot to steal the money. Instead of showing the planning stages in a flashy way like heist movies are supposed to do (see Ocean’s Eleven and The Italian Job), it’s literally just them sitting around a table talking about what to do. Eventually, they get to the drug lord’s house, and kill everyone. But it isn’t an action-packed extravaganza you’d hope for like in Commando. No, the characters are methodical, and quietly take out the bad guys. It’s supposed to be realistic, but it’s boring as hell. They find the money, and try to escape via helicopter, but there is too much money, and they can’t make it over the Andes mountains, and crash.
The rest of the film is these bozos trying to carry whatever money they can on foot. You’d think at this point something interesting would happen. Like they would turn on each other, or drug dealers would catch up to them or something. But no. Nothing fucking happens. They encounter a couple of small problems they easily overcome. One of them dies, but it’s not in any sort of heroic or exciting way. And then, after a while, the movie decides to meander to a conclusion.
I don’t know what the fuck the filmmakers behind this thing were thinking. For a movie about ex-military commandos stealing money from a drug lord, it has no sense of urgency whatsoever. The nature of its premise alone requires something more, and Triple Frontier consistently fails every step of the way. Even the denouement lasts too long, and the audience is dying for the movie to end already.
Verdict: Shitty
23
Apr
19

Velvet Buzzsaw

When I saw the cast list for this movie, I figured it was going to be special. With the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Toni Collette, John Malkovich, and more, the cast of this movie is totally stacked. How does a movie manage to land A-list talent like this unless it’s good? Well, that’s a great fucking question, because Velvet Buzzsaw is terrible. It’s about a group of art dealers who stumble across the collected works on a recently-deceased, unknown artist. There’s a bit of sales maneuvering, power plays, and political backstabbing in the first half of the film, which leads one to think this movie will be a drama/thriller of sorts.
It’s an interesting setup for sure. But the second half of the movie doesn’t know what to do with the setup, and just goes balls-to-the-wall stupid. The art dealers are killed one at a time…by the art. Yes, that’s right, art is a serial killer in Velvet Buzzsaw. No matter where the characters go, if they profited from the unknown artist’s works, they will die, murdered by paintings. And it doesn’t even have to be those specific art pieces they sold. Literally any art will murder them, like graffiti or performance art. The cast does their absolute best to work with the material, but it’s hard to be convincing when they are being murdered by CGI paintings.
The movie has a mocking tone, trying to stick it to the art world, but it’s hard to find that angle appealing when 99% of the populace has no interaction with art dealers, and therefore no point of reference for this. It’s a hokey film, but at least it moves at a brisk pace. The ending is dumb, and it’s hard to get invested in a horror movie that doesn’t even have a villain. It’s hard to believe that this piece of crap was written and directed by Dan Gilroy, the same guy who wrote and directed the incredible Nightcrawler. This one isn’t worth your time.
Verdict: Shitty
10
Apr
19

Avengers: Infinity War

What can I say about the MCU that I haven’t already said? By now you know that I’m just not into superhero movies. Sure, you occasionally get a gem like The Dark Knight or Logan or Wonder Woman, but for the most part, they are drab, unimaginative, paint-by-numbers affairs. A valid complaint other people have leveled against the MCU is that the ultimate goal is to get to the Avengers films, and all the films in between are just road bumps in that path. Sometimes, with how mediocre the “in-between films” are, it really does seem to be true. And so, Avengers: Infinity War arrives, as part one of a two-part extravaganza incorporating almost every character seen in the MCU so far. They have been teasing Thanos as the ultimate villain in the universe for some time, and now he finally gets to the front and center of the screen.

Continue reading ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

29
Mar
19

Only God Forgives

The combination of Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling made Drive one of the best films of 2011. So, it seemed that their re-teaming for the 2013 neo-noir Only God Forgives would be a sure thing. Unfortunately, it was about as far from a sure thing as you can get. Only God Forgives is one of the most punishingly terrible movies I have ever seen. From the first fucking frame to the moment the end credits roll, watching this movie is an exercise in patience. Its pace is plodding, its plot non-existent, and its use of a talented cast squandered.
The movie flows like this: 20 minutes of characters staring at each other, Gosling has a hallucinatory vision, someone dies gruesomely, rinse and repeat. The movie barely has any dialogue. Gosling maybe has five lines in the entire thing. Sure, he barely spoke in Drive, but the other characters spoke and moved the story along. In this movie, nobody speaks. It is practically a silent film. This would be OK if there was constant kinetic movement, but there is none of that. The characters sit around staring at each other or staring into space for huge stretches. A tightly edited version could probably be whittled down to 15 minutes. As a short film, it could have been amazing, but the choices Refn made turned it into a bloated, unwatchable piece of shit.
Refn has his head too far up his own pretentious ass to realize he has created the cinematic equivalent of watching paint dry. He has praised himself, and this film, as one of the all-time greats, and has been mocked by many reviewers, including director William Friedkin. Refn thinks that by having vast swaths of silence, punctuated by over-the-top violence and bizarre visuals, he is creating art. But David Lynch he ain’t. Lynch at least has a purpose behind his films, whereas Refn just farts at the viewers and expect them to sniff it up like the world’s finest wine. In short, he has no clue what he is doing, and his massive ego prevents him from admitting he fucked up.
Only God Forgives is so horrifically bad, it deserves a score lower than shitty. Too bad I don’t have one. Someday, when the entire cast and crew is dead, they will find out if God will forgive them for making this turd.
Verdict: Shitty



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