“She’s behind the door. Watch….see?! What did I say?”- idiot bitch next to me the whole time in the theater, sucking her fingers every time she ate a piece of popcorn, which was somehow the entire duration of the movie.


I’ll watch nearly any horror movie, aside from Tyler Perry features. However, when it comes to me being satisfied, it can be a different story.  Biased or not, I’d been wanting to see Lights Out all year long after I saw the short this movie was based on.  As far as plot and characters, this movie is pretty typical.  If you ever saw Darkness Falls (2003), you’d say this movie is fairly similar in that the scary monster thing can’t kill folks in the light. Teresa Palmer (a pretty version of Kristen Stewart that has life in her face) does a modest job of being afraid of the dark. She does well so as to not make you watch her character and hope she dies. Likewise, Maria Bello is the “crazy” mom; I’ll avoid the mental health soap box, but she does what she can with her character having bipolar (please note I’m rolling my eyes here at the diagnosis).

Now, this movie delivers some great and unique scares given that it only relies on one entity that requires nothing major with special effects.  The jumps are provided time and time again. And with a short 80+ minute time, no effort is wasted in giving us boring background stories or humdrum nonsense.  Directed by a guy that has only directed shorts previously, this movie does enough to impress horror fans while leaving a possible impression on us to, in time, have his name recognized one day much like James Wan, who has his hand in every horror movie out there in the last several years and including, of course, this one.  The end has a poorly executed but still relevant twist that will probably (but not hopefully) lead to a sequel, be it in theaters, VOD, or Netflix, no doubt.  Overall, for a PG-13 movie, I was a bit more impressed that I thought I would be going into this movie, and I had somewhat high expectations.

C+

 

“Original, fun, and dynamic: the opposite of its predecessor.”- me, with my ID4 flag and cap, and a bucket of popcorn in my lap while I wear a frown

WHY!? The original gave us a unique (for its time) story, cutting-edge (for its time) special effects, and provided us with a satisfying ending that did not need a sequel. So, what…..20 years later and some writers pen together a script: “So, the aliens wait 20 years because it’s been 20 years. And maybe…..20 years of Earth preparing…..20 years…..20 years. 20. Two zero.” We get it. Good Jesus.  And I blame the writers for this, not the director, Roland Emmerich. Now don’t be mistaken, this director is known for his disaster movies that lack in characterization, but they’re still fun to watch (Godzilla (1998 version), The Day After Tomorrow, 2012). But none of these movies ever need a sequel.  This was a disaster movie that was a genuine disaster.

I was raised on Independence Day when it came out….20 years ago (eye roll).  So I went into this movie with a hint of bias, low expectations, and IBS.  I came out even less satisfied. The action scenes were so forced, and that was supposed to be the meat of this movie.  The final action scene with the mother alien tramping around like a T-Rex after a school bus in the desert really made me feel like I was watching Jurassic Glactic . Ultimately, the action scenes didn’t seem to last long, yet this movie seemed to drag.  They were good special effects, of course. But it takes a bit more that that. Otherwise, throw this shit onto a 2-night special event on NBC.  You need a decent plot, or you’re just going to smell like a Sharknado movie. The characters in this movie had me rooting for them to get killed. I didn’t understand the point in bringing back Vivica A Fox’s character. And the fact that I was looking forward to this movie being over made me sad because the original was so great. Consider me a child that was sitting on the stoop, waiting for dad to pick him up for the weekend, only to have his kooky uncle to pick him up instead.

C-

 

“Scarier than the first one.”- Wanda, ticket stub tearer at the cinema

And Wanda was right! FTW! Now tear my ticket, Wanda (eye roll). No one needs your opinion. Which remind me: here’s mine! So director James Wan has come a long way in making a good name for himself. He was behind all seven Saw movies, directed the first and second Insidious (eat shit, Insidious 3), and truly came around with The Conjuring and Annabelle. I grocery-list these movies to show you how he has progressed as a director.  We all think the same for the Saw series, amiright?! Let’s shout it out together, “The first one was awesome. The second one was cool. The third one was pretty good. 4,5,6….I don’t know what is happening. The last one was…wait was that the one with the window display?” But then his groundbreaking Insidious (forgetting how the sequel was lazy and the third was just uncalled for) showcased his mastery of directing. The first Conjuring did some fantastic shit with camera angles and zooming in, as well as being pretty original for being, like, the 72nd exorcism movie ever.

(Sorry to prattle on but…) so this sequel picked up gracefully from the original.  It paced well, and it provided so many well-times jolts. And I’m talking well-earned, gratifying, slap-on-the-back jolts that feel almost congratulatory.  Without giving too much away, the portrait scene was, without a doubt, one of my favorite horror scenes in the last decade.  When was the last time you saw a legit scary scene that took place in daylight? BAM.  The return of actors Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga was a triumph in itself for this movie, as they continue to have an awesome connection as actors.

I would have been okay if they carved a good 25 minutes from this movie, as some of it would have been better “deleted scenes” cuts on a DVD release. At times, this sequel seemed to try to be a bit more complex when not even necessary, which was the greatness of the first Conjuring with its simplicity, but I’m just a poor boy, nobody loves me. Overall, this movie held its own as one of the few sequels out there that was made to be more than just a sequel to make more money than the original. It was an unexpected delight.

B

Popstar: A long SNL skit

I laughed several times. It was refreshing because most comedies are aimed at just sex appeal and drugs.  Sure, Popstar aimed at some really easy targets to poke fun, but it was pretty spot-on most times.  Now, the majority of the scenes are funny, but not the point to get a literal LOL on. It was enjoyable to not get bored with this movie. Once you overlook the fact that this poke-at-pop theme is kind of dated and so 2000, you get to appreciate the ridiculousness of this movie. The songs are genuinely catchy with the most ridiculous lyrics that truly make you concerned about the writers’ well-being. But I think it’s safe to say that anyone who enjoys the SNL Digital Shorts will eat this movie up.  No substance but still good fun.

C+ 

X-Men: I’ve Lost Count

Director Brian Singer, in charge of all of the X-Men movies aside from The Last Stand, got sloppy here. And I should start by saying I may have walked into this movie biased as I saw all 14 trailers that social media shoved down my throat prior, so I felt as if I already saw this movie.  I’ll do my compliment sandwich:

This movie did a fair job of continuing the characterization of the major characters. We continue to see why Magneto is to become a villain; Charles Xavier as he wants to stay hopeful; how Storm goes from bad to good; and even still learning about Mystique- just to name a few. We get to witness the budding of certain relationships, and overall it was nicely done, perhaps a bit forced.  Now, to have to watch some of these special effects was downright cringe-worthy. It was bizarre: some seasons were mesmerizing to watch, and others looked like they were taken out of an action movie from 2002.  I don’t know if it was a budget issue (smirk), but the aftermath scenes at the end were horribly visualized. And even the makeup was rough, specifically Apocalypse himself. It reminded me of something from 20 years ago. Meh. And yet, it did something that makes me anticipate the next movie in this series. I enjoy watching the team gather and fight random shit, watching them continue to build on each other, and even how this movie still doesn’t take itself too seriously at the end of the day (pun intended). The downside to throwing so many characters in is that it starts to get difficult focusing on any main characters and being able to get solid stories out of them instead of it just being (what feels like) cameo after cameo.

B-

 

Avengers III

The Russo directors really blew shit out of the water with this one. Also behind Captain America: Winter Soldier, as well as the next two upcoming Avenger movies in, like, 2020 and 2021 or some shit, the directors turned the third installment of Captain America ultimately into that of The Avengers. And golly gee, I ain’t complainin’! Beautifully paced, not chock full of unnecessary explosions (sorry, Michael Bay, it was a bad break up), and actually concerned about characterization, Captain 3 does a lot of right things.  It segues nicely as a follow-up from the second Avengers flick, allowing us to finally and realistically watch as superheros have consequences after fucking shit up in big cities with landmarks asking to be demolished.

The battle scene that you know you’re waiting for was everything I desired and then some.  In the most polite way possible, I will state it made my nipples hard; the last time that happened, I watched as Carrie Underwood did a live rendition of “I Will Always Love You,” but I’ll save that for our first date when you and I meet.  Regardless, the showdown between the two cliques was perfect.  Also, they had some crafty and well-timed dialogue *blushes at Spiderman* that made me wanting more, which is rare for me in action movies.  You can do it in Jingle All The Way, but that’s about it.

Per your request, I’ll certainly touch on special effects. I can say I’m proud to live in this day and age where the effects are getting so enhanced that they are nearly indistinguishable from reality (No, Gods of Egypt, I’m not fucking talking to you. It’s not 1998. Get out of my car.).  Sure, I wish we didn’t have to rely on certain characters in Captain 3 to rely solely on effects (i.e., Spiderman), but I can’t always have my way. This is not my true relationship.

My one whine is the movie’s conclusion. *spoiler alert if you’re a buffoon*  Everyone makes nice within moments after beating the fucking shit out of each other. I mean, beating. the. fucking. shit. out of each other. *end of spoiler* 

B+

 

 

God, a Goddess,and a rich man.

*some light spoilers ahead*

It was a great action movie. Don’t misinterpret my heavy-handed criticism as me not liking this movie. It was cool af. The opening allows us to see what happened in Man of Steel as to how it affected Bruce the Bat. Pushing it, but okay.  A feud ensues that takes a while to get to the climactic scene that, let’s get honest, is just dumb- cool – but dumb. Superman can’t punch armor on Batman now? Make me roll my eyes again, please. And when they make friends over their moms both being named Martha (there we go, my eyes are rolling to the back of my head now), they have to fight the big bad guy. This scene had me lol as Batman didn’t stand a chance; so, the dude just runs around and throws smoke bombs. Hence the bringing in of the sexy Wonder Woman, who does not get a scratch or a hair out of place in her beautiful locks. This movie tries tremendously hard, which somehow works in setting up for the Justice League.

It was great to see the negative effects that superheroes have when fighting the badsies. It was a concept I was trying to write a novel on about a year before even The Incredibles (a similar concept) came out, but enough about me.

The special effects are very impressive on the whole. The cast is reasonable, but I refuse to look at Ben Affleck when I say that. Jesse Eisenberg is a fantastic man…boy….guy.  I love Holly Hunter! And Jeremy Irons as Alfred made me uncomfortable as he looked too young. I want my Alfred to be a decrepit cripple! Overall, a good start to hopefully an even better setup for the rest of the franchise.

B-