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Average User Score: 5.6Sep 21, 2018I'll be honest, I was a little worried about this considering that: a) This is the first children's film from torture porn horror director EliI'll be honest, I was a little worried about this considering that: a) This is the first children's film from torture porn horror director Eli Roth not to mention the first time he's helmed a film with an attempted big visual flair. b) The film is more humorous than the book. I was afraid it might be too hard to be Goosebumps. Luckily, both my fears were abated.
Jack Black and Cate Blanchett have excellent chemistry together. They're both quite humorous, but they also nail the characters' more serious moments. It's weird that a trifecta of children's/family films has produced some of Jack Black's best roles. Although, you feel a bit more of the Jack Black personality here than in his other two roles, he does manifest the character of Uncle Jonathan, the fun uncle who also has a secret undertaken. Overall, all the characters are really well-fleshed out here.
Visually the film looks great from the 50s' setting to the entire look of the lavish house from the title, especially the scary visuals. Really, they rank with the likes of Tim Burton or Krampus. The film knows when to have fun, but it knows when to bring on the scares. As a child I preferred the original book and the other works of John Bellairs over Goosebumps, because the horror was played more directly and seriously, and this movie understands that. Cautious parents be aware that this is as scary as a PG movie can get. Well, maybe not as much as The Witches, but what is. This is definitely Coraline level.
The only downside is that at a running time of one hour and forty-four minutes, the second act, which is heavy on the character bits, drags a bit. Most of the action doesn't happen till the third act.
Roth surpassed my expectations here, and I hope he gets a chance at adapting the second book in the series.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.2Sep 16, 2018I wasn't initially going to see this. I'd been let down by similar neonoir mystery dramas before. (Felt Gone Girl was just okay and Girl on aI wasn't initially going to see this. I'd been let down by similar neonoir mystery dramas before. (Felt Gone Girl was just okay and Girl on a Train was disappointing.) Then I heard the positive reviews and changed my mind. I'm glad I did.
Director Paul Feig took the story from what appears to be a more serious book with very mixed reviews on Amazon.com and added humor and a bit of fun to the proceedings. The dark parts are appropriately lurid, but this isn't a dire slog. Witty dialogue and a game cast alleviate the proceedings.
Although Blake Lively does a great job as the mysterious woman who goes missing (and hats off to whoever designed her clothes, they are fantastic), this is Anna Kendricks' film. As the slightly oddball, mommy vlogger Stephanie Smothers, Kendricks has the part nailed down a both physically and verbally as she quirkily deals with people.
There are a couple flaws. The switch between drama and humor is a little jarring a in a few spots. The second act drags a little, and a few character decisions in the third act were rushed a bit.
Overall, I'd recommend this.… Expand
Average User Score: 4.5Sep 16, 2018I felt Predator was a very entertaining blockbuster film. This film has a more humorous bent than the previous one. I really did likeI felt Predator was a very entertaining blockbuster film. This film has a more humorous bent than the previous one. I really did like Predators, but I prefer the tone of this film. It matches more of the over-the-top tone of the original and 2. They do add a few more jokes than those two, and a little too many of them have a frat bro/trying-to-be alpha dog mentality that can be a little exhausting. Still overall, it's pretty funny. There are some really impressive and violent fights. Current film technology is utilized to have the Predators do things they couldn't in previous films.
The cast is all-around likable. Heck, I think this is the first time I found Olivia Munn fully utilized in a film.
Admittedly, the pacing can be a little uneven at moments. There are moments where the back-and-forth between characters could've been shorter and the scenes are rushed, including a death of a main character that's bkubj-and-miss. Also, the final scene setting up the sequel feels tacked-on and inorganic.
Listen, if you're not interested in a humorous Predator film than this won't be for you. Personally, I went to be mindlessly entertained, and I was.… Expand
Average User Score: 5.9Sep 7, 2018The Conjuring universe manages to pull off another fun film.
Like the other films in the series, this movie feels like walking through aThe Conjuring universe manages to pull off another fun film.
Like the other films in the series, this movie feels like walking through a haunted house. The movies have always done a wonderful job of sets and settings. Here we have a creepy Bavarian mansion turned convent out in the middle of the forest. Its an over-the-top Hollywood monstrosity and it looks great. Admittedly, The Nun doesn't have quite the scare factor of The Conjurings or Annabelle; Creation. The scares are more direct, lacking some of the more thought-out or background ambien scenes of the others. Now, this is just compared to the rest of the series. The movie is still plenty spooky with solid visuals and cinematography.
The plots and characters are generally interesting, but the second act is a little slow as the characters potter around the convent looking for clues. Things pick up tremendously for the big finale. Although the setting is austere, there are some pretty funny lines in the script, but wisely not enough to ruin the tone.
Don't expect this to be the best of the Conjuring movies and I think you will enjoy yourself.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.8Sep 3, 2018This film stars John Cho as a widowed man searching for his missing daughter. Everything is told through a computer screen, especially videoThis film stars John Cho as a widowed man searching for his missing daughter. Everything is told through a computer screen, especially video chat, newsfeeds, and phone calls.
When I saw the trailer to this, I was on the fence. This was basically the same gimmick used for the horror movie Unfriended. I was worried about how much more you can do with the format. Interestingly, these two films are from the same producer. Listened to a podcast interviewing him. He thinks that-first-person films are the wave of the future. Although, I don't know if this can survive long-term, I am so glad this was made. Unfriended actually proved to be the testing ground for this format. The technique is far more self-assured. Not once did things feel awkward. The opening montage, sort-of-an-equivalent to the opening of Up, is especially well done. The format really focuses on the little things, like how you understand the characters' views from stuff like hovering the cursor over an image or editing a message before they send it or and just miscellaneous comments on social media. Unlike Unfriended, this film utilizes background music. Fans of cinema verite may feel it pulls away from the experience, but I thought it really helped set the mood.
The script is really good. The revelations, twists, set up, and pacing are all quite well-thought out.
Acting is fine too. However, it is John Cho who carries the brunt of the film, and he absolutely nails it as a desperate father.
Searching is a finely made mystery and offers something a little different. Highly recommended.… Expand
Average User Score: 5.9Sep 2, 2018This film is about a British doctor, who comes from a poor family, in post-World War II England, who befriends a financially troubledThis film is about a British doctor, who comes from a poor family, in post-World War II England, who befriends a financially troubled aristocratic family whose house may be haunted.
I deeply regret seeing this. The trailer does a good job of tricking you into thinking this is something it is not. Sad thing is I'd looked at reviews for the original book this was based on and was aware this was supposed to be more psychological than a straight-up ghost story. Yet, I was still unprepared for the content. Although the movie starts out well enough, it becomes a terribly slow affair. Once the characters' motivations and personalities are revealed, the whole thing is a slog of repetitive chraracter traits and awkwardness by and/or between characters. Events are telegraphed way, way ahead of time. It doesn't help that this movie is as depressing and morose as all get out. That's not to say that I'm anti-depressing films in general. There are some really good ones out there (i.e. Grave of the Fireflies). This, however, doesn't have much to justify its existence.
To its credit, visually it is competently directed. The dilapidated old house looks quite good. The acting is all top-notch as well.
I haven't left a movie in such a bitter mood in a long, long time. I advise you to avoid this.… Expand
Average User Score: 2.9Aug 29, 2018This movie featuring and directed by James Franco is basically Mad Max with a sexy female robot. I would not rate this as low as some people.This movie featuring and directed by James Franco is basically Mad Max with a sexy female robot. I would not rate this as low as some people. I reserve that type of rating for the painfully bad. This movie is just something that's not worth the time to sit through.
Future World is one big post-apocalyptic and robot-gaining-sentience cliche. Nothing particularly original. No substance at all; the plot, points, dialogue, and character development are all rushed. Snoop Dog, who plays a pimp, gets the worse lines, saying b**** every other time.
Given Franco's recent accusations of sexual harassment, the exploitation here lesbian kissing and prostitutes, sometimes half-nude, in shock collars, kind of makes things cringe-worthy. One wonders how much Franco wanted this for self-gratification rather than plot reasons. Though, the film has experienced actors, they really can't do much with what they're given. The main male lead is particularly dull. The only exception is Milla Jovovich. She plays a drugged-out gang leader and manages to dish out a deliciously campy and over-the-top performance salvaging some terrible lines. I will give the movie this. Some of the fight scenes are actually pretty good, just not enough to validate Future World.… Expand
Average User Score: 4.4Aug 24, 2018Yes, The Happytime Murders isn't the first raunchy puppet movie (Meet the Feebles) or even the first story to treat puppets as second-classYes, The Happytime Murders isn't the first raunchy puppet movie (Meet the Feebles) or even the first story to treat puppets as second-class citizens (the short-lived show Greg the Bunny). But it is hilarious, I laughed a lot.
The film has a lot creatively insane jokes. Yet, despite the craziness, the film does have a decent plot to it. Though, admittedly it does have a lot of detective/noir cliches to it.
The human cast is surprisingly good in this considering that they have to act with puppets most of the time. Melissa McCarthy, Elizabeth Banks, and Maya Rudolph all put in some of their better performances. In fact, I think this is the best I've seen Maya, who plays a goofy secretary. Credit should be given to veteran Muppet performer Bill Barretta (Pepe the Prawn) as the main character. He pulls off the unenviable job of making the main puppet character Phil come off as tough and gritty, albeit in a humorous way. Only downside to the acting in this is that the puppets' voices are performed by veteran puppeteers rather than cast outside voices and there are a couple of times where the puppeteers' voices weren't strong enough to fit the tone.
Lastly, I really have to admire the technical effort put into this. A lot of effort is made to populate this world with multiple puppets, even if they're just in the background. It really sells the idea of a world populated with them. I haven't seen a puppet film that has had this many full-torso shots. If you don't like comedy that pushes the edge or is weird, this isn't for you. But I really recommend this if you like this sort of thing but aren't completely sold.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.5Aug 17, 2018Yes, the whole Hook-ish "work-oriented, joyless man rediscovers his inner child" schtick is pretty predictable in this. However, Pooh andYes, the whole Hook-ish "work-oriented, joyless man rediscovers his inner child" schtick is pretty predictable in this. However, Pooh and friends are done so well that it doesn't matter that much. (Also, it's a lot better attempt than Hook.)
The film does a great job of capturing Pooh and company. The dialogue and Pooh's longtime voice actor perfectly capture his way of being unintentionally wise and likable. Eeyore, voiced by Everybody Loves Raymond's Brad Garrett, is the second best part as he is hilarious in here. The other occupants of the Hundred Acre Wood don't appear as much but they stay true to the characters.
Ewan McGregor does a great job as Christopher Robin, which is especially impressive seeing as the actor was speaking to no real people half the time. The movie is quite funny. The scenes of CH trying to be a good man in a misguided way and his eventual awakening all surprisingly work more than they should have. The movie manages to balance childhood innocence while not talking down to adults. In fact, they insert a couple osurprisingly dark moments into the events that lead to adult CH's adult personality. However, the reason I didn't give this a higher rating is the conclusion, or rather the conclusion to the workplace side of CH's story. Basically, he spends the movie trying to reduce costs so his business doesn't have to lay people off. The resolution to this crisis comes out of a lesser-made children's film. It is completely trite, forced, and way too saccharine.
The movie looks great. The combination of the character designs of the cartoon and the original book work surprisingly well. The cinematography in the 100 Acre Wood is quite eye-catching. Although filmed on location, the scenes have manage to have a magical quality to them. The background music is also effective. Unfortunately you never hear the Winnie-the-Pooh song sung. I recommend you wait till the second song in the end credits. It's a nostalgic little number from classic Disney composer Roger Sherman (Mary Poppins, Jungle Book).… Expand
Average User Score: 8.4Aug 15, 2018Fallout may arguably be the best film in the series, which is impressive given that this is the sixth one. The MI franchise has a remarkableFallout may arguably be the best film in the series, which is impressive given that this is the sixth one. The MI franchise has a remarkable talent for improving itself. There is one scene where you can automatically predict how it'll turn out. However, everything was so well edited I was tricked into feeling tense anyway.
Director Christopher McQuarrie has an excellently deliberate sense of shots and pacing with both the suspense and fight scenes. The action scenes equally don't disappoint.
For a nice change of pace, the movie focuses a little more on Ethan Hunt's mindset. He finds himself going undercover with dangerous people. There's a fair amount of tension and pathos to be mined from his facing the difficulty of trying to be a good man and completing his mission in a flawed, murky world.
Now I wouldn't consider these deal-breakers, but there are a couple nitpicks. The film is a bit long. Some of the action scenes do go on and on. Also, it wouldn't have hurt if the plot was a bit more streamlined. The middle does feel a little sidequestey.… Expand