World War Z-A Movie Review

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Jul 292013

World War Z PosterOn an ordinary day, Gerry Lane and his family find their quiet drive interrupted by urban gridlock. An ex-United Nations investigator, Lane senses that this is no ordinary traffic jam. As police helicopters buzz the sky and motorcycle cops careen wildly below, the city erupts into chaos. Something is causing hordes of people to viciously attack each other – a lethal virus that is spread through a single bite, turning healthy humans into something unrecognizable, unthinking and feral. Neighbor turns on neighbor; a helpful stranger suddenly becomes a dangerous enemy. The origins of the virus are unknown, and the number of infected grows exponentially larger each day, quickly becoming a global pandemic. As the infected overwhelm the world’s armies and rapidly topple its governments, Lane is forced to return to his dangerous former life to insure the safety of his family, leading a desperate worldwide search for the source of the epidemic and a means to stop its relentless spread.

Release Date:   June 21, 2013;  MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for intense frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images); Genres: Horror, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Adaptation; Run Time: 1 hour 55 minutes; Distributors: Paramount Pictures

Director: Marc Forster

Actors: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale, Anthony Mackie, Julia Levy-Boeken, Elyes Gabel, David Morse, Sterling Jerins

Writers: Matthew Michael Carnahan-Screenplay; Max Brooks-Source Material Continue reading »

The Pact – A Movie Review

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Sep 062012
The Pact movie poster

Watch the trailer

After their mother passes away, sisters Nicole and Annie reluctantly return to their childhood home to pay their last respects. While staying overnight in the house, the sisters sense a mysterious presence in their midst: noises startling them in the night, objects moving about, a fallen picture of an unknown woman posed next to their mother. Annie begins experiencing a series of intense and disturbing dreams visions that lead her to uncover something terrible about her mothers past that is finally revealing itself.

In Theaters: July 6, 2012; Genres : Adaptation, Horror, Thriller; Run Time: 1 hour 31 minutes

Director: Nicholas McCarthy

Cast: Caity Lotz, Casper Van Dien, Haley Hudson, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Samuel Ball, Agnes Bruckner

This one is no longer in theaters. It was more of an Indie film, and apparently never got wide distribution. We heard about it on CBS Sunday Morning when David Edelstein mentioned as a good horror movie during a segment on the show. We’ve generally found ourselves in agreement with him on things he likes, so we found this one available on Amazon Instant Download.

“The Pact” is a decent horror/thriller film. The basic plot seems simple enough — a young woman’s sister convinces her to come back for their mother’s funeral, despite that the two sisters were estranged from their mother for a while. When she comes back, her sister is gone, and strange, supernatural things begin to happen. (In fact, this may be the messiest ghost you’ll see. Continue reading »

Oct 292009

paranormalactivity_smallteaserAfter a young, middle class couple moves into what seems like a typical suburban “starter” tract house, they become increasingly disturbed by a presence that may or may not be demonic, but is certainly most active in the middle of the night. Especially when they sleep. Or try to.

Genres: Science Fiction/Fantasy and Thriller; Running Time: 1 hr. 39 min.; Release Date: September 25th, 2009 (limited); MPAA Rating: R for language.

Starring: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat, Michael Bayouth

Directed by: Oren Peli

Produced by: Jason Blum, Steven Schneider, Oren Peli

We went to see this movie Saturday night at the new CineBistro Theater in Hyde Park Village (Click to read my take on the theater).  We’d heard a lot of hype along with people claiming it was the scariest movie ever. Well let me give away the entire plot of the movie right here:

Something weird happening to the girl..they start recording themselves to see if they catch footage or weird things happening..they hear a noise..they go to sleep..the door opens…they go to sleep…something moves downstairs..they go to sleep..something bangs on the walls..they go to sleep..something breaths..they go to sleep..finally something a little bit scary happens..the movie ends…oh ya and at one point a demon with hooves leaves three footprints on the floor.

One of the big problems was that the “home movie” would be sped up as they slept, and then just before something happened, it would slow to normal speed. Wouldn’t take a genius to figure out that something was about to happen, so all the suspense was sucked out of the movie.

There were a couple of places in the script where there was hope the storyline might get interesting, but in each case, it was never followed up on. I suspect it might have been scenes cut from the movie, but the setups to those should have been cut too if that was the case. It only made me think the screenwriter and director were amateurs.

The concept was OK, but it’s been done before to much better effect. Overall, neither one of us found the movie scray at all.

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Jun 062009

Underworld-Rise of the Lycans Movie PosterExplores the origins of the centuries-old blood feud between the aristocratic vampires known as Death Dealers and their onetime slaves, the Lycans.

Genres: Romance, Suspense/Horror, Thriller and Sequel; Running Time: 1 hr. 33 min.; Release Date: January 23rd, 2009 (wide); MPAA Rating: R for bloody violence and some sexuality.

Starring: Michael Sheen, Bill Nighy, Rhona Mitra, Shane Brolly, Kevin Grevioux

Directed by: Patrick Tatopoulos

We had read some good reviews of this film, and although Lay and I have not been into this series, we decided to rent the DVD and watch this movie.  It was something of a disappointment. I thought the storyline was fine, and I didn’t feel like I’d missed much having not seen the other two movies in the series.

Michael Sheen was not the right choice for the film for his part. Bill Nighy was perfect for his part, and even without the cataract contact lenses, he came across as cold and menacing. I liked him in Valkyrie and both the Pirates movies.

The movie did manage to drum up some the classic 1980s horror style, the special effects for the wolves frankly sucked, and the battle scenes came across as much less than epic.

The tone is everything! I really love the moody tone of the movie. Very effective in this type of movies. So, I guess it’s worth a watch, but unless you’re a fan of the series, it may leave you a little flat.

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Apr 262009

Hellboy II Movie PosterAfter an ancient truce existing between humankind and the invisible realm of the fantastic is broken, hell on Earth is ready to erupt. A ruthless leader who treads the world above and the one below defies his bloodline and awakens an unstoppable army of creatures. Now, it’s up to the planet’s toughest, roughest superhero to battle the merciless dictator and his marauders. He may be red. He may be horned. He may be misunderstood. But when you need the job done right, it’s time to call in Hellboy.

Genres: Action/Adventure, Suspense/Horror, Thriller, Adaptation and Sequel; Running Time: 1 hr. 50 min.; Release Date: July 11th, 2008 (wide); MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and some language.

Starring: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor, Doug Jones, Luke Goss

Directed by: Guillermo del Toro

Another Netflix rental, and I know that I’m way late watching this movie. For sometime I had felt like, based on the trailer, that it would be a stupid movie. Then I read a few reviews, and it got reviews very different from my expectations. Lay and I were both surprised at how much we liked this movie.

Ron Perlman returns as Hellboy, the reluctant, cigar-chomping hero with red skin, sawed-off horns and a massive right hand, who was once rescued from another dimension and raised (more or less) as a human. Hellboy usually enters the fray with a sigh or maybe a muttered, “ah crap.” He’s part of a secret government organization and works with another agent, a kind of telepathic fish man called Abe Sapien. He is now in a full-fledged relationship with his beloved Liz (Selma Blair), who can conjure up fire at will, though they have entered the arguing stage (over toothbrushes, etc.). Things get worse when Hellboy blows the organization’s cover by appearing in front of a gaggle of reporters. Henceforth, Washington sends a new, strict liaison to set things right. He’s called Johann Krauss, and he’s basically a wisp of fog contained in a kind of space suit. The team’s latest challenge comes when Prince Nuada (Luke Goss) returns to claim an enchanted crown that will enable him to control an army of golden warriors; he’s an oddly sympathetic villain, and a step up for Del Toro. (A young Hellboy learns about the prince, in the form of a bedtime story, in the film’s flashback prologue.) The Prince’s sister, Princess Nuala (Anna Walton), teams up with our heroes to try and stop her brother. Unfortunately, Abe falls in love with her so hard that he gets drunk and listens to Barry Manilow. Jeffrey Tambor also returns as the stern, nervous government agent Manning in charge of keeping the peace between the heroes and the rest of the world.

Honestly, I loved this movie. It was pure fun.  The visual aspects of this film is classic are nothing short of amazing. The movie has some flaws with a few strange possible plot holes, but at the end of the day, the humor rules, and the humor hit spot on, to make a very funny film. I can’t get the song “I can’t Smile Without You” out of my head now after seeing this film. That segment was hilarious. Hellboy succeeds in being a film with a decent story, good visual work, and great characters with great humor, all to make just an overall fun movie. For someone who believes any film that doesn’t win 11 Oscars isn’t worth watching, I’ll be honest, you’ll hate Hellboy II. For someone who goes in expecting only to be entertained, to just to have a fun time, I recommend this film.

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 Culture, Movies, Movies I Own  Comments Off on Constantine
Oct 132005

ConstantineJohn Constantine has been to hell and back. Born with a gift he didn’t want, the ability to clearly recognize the half-breed angels and demons that walk the earth in human skin, Constantine was driven to take his own life to escape the tormenting clarity of his vision. But he failed. Resuscitated against his will, he found himself cast back into the land of the living.

Directed by: Francis Lawrence

Genres: Action/Adventure, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Suspense/Horror, Thriller and Adaptation

Running Time: 2 hrs. 2 min.

Release Date: February 18th, 2005 (wide)

MPAA Rating: R for violence and demonic images.

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf, Tilda Swinton, Pruitt Taylor-Vince 

Constantine comes straight out of the somewhat obscure comic book Hellblazer. This film is really geared to a specific audience, and even in that realm, the good and bad are quite intertwined. The concept, the overall plot of the movie, is interesting. Audiences will be left wondering what the clues mean and where the story is going. Most of the action scenes and special effects are cool enough to keep fans of this genre entertained.

Some of the jokes and interactions feel a little out of placeand that’s mainly because there’s almost no insight into any of the characters besides Constantine. Constantine has some depth to him, but literally no one else seems to have a past or real motivation including the main “bad guys”. There’s no good climax to the movie for some reason either.

All that being said, those who really enjoy these types of supernatural thrillers should probably see this because they will be entertained when it’s all said and done.

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