Friend Request

College is hard enough, but the biggest difficulty of a young girl’s life is when she accepts A mysterious ‘Friend Request’ that turns her scholastic days into nightmare nights. In only his first American big screen presentation, writer and director Simon Verhoeven’s plight against social media revolves around Laura (Alycia Debnam-Carey), a popular college girl who is very active on social media websites, sharing almost everything in her daily life with her more than 800 friends on Facebook. However, after accepting a friend request from an unknown girl named Marina, Laura soon becomes obsessed with Marina’s profile, and soon her friends begin to die violently one by one because of Laura’s prodding. Who is behind this devastation, and at what end will they take it? ‘Friend Request’ is rated R for horror violence, disturbing imagery, and adult language.

What is there really to say about a C-level horror movie that has been on the shelf for three years, and then finally released to the public with little to no accompanying trailers or promos? It’s everything I expected and more. ‘Friend Request’ had A chance to produce something decent, not great, but decent in its twisting of the revenge plot for A modern day social media exploit. Most recently we have seen this in 2015’s ‘Unfriended’, which was A much better film than this despite its own limited capabilities, but ‘Friend Request’ feels like the movie that we were supposed to get from that earlier film, and is now doomed for a mainstay in the straight to DVD shelves for the rest of eternity. From every aspect of the film’s production, it feels very underwhelming and uninspiring even for mainstream horror. I see plenty of these kind of movies every year, and it’s rare that I can’t find at least something to promote positively from within them, but ‘Friend Request’ is that exception to the rule, ushering in A shameful 91 minute commercial for Facebook in web design, without having the monetary value to mention the name.

The idea in execution is to narrate that our main protagonist is quickly having her friends wiped away in real life while coincidentally having her friends on Facebook unfriend her because of the viciousness that this ghost has been posting on her page under her screen name. Her family and friends grow aggravated that she would post these murders of her closest friends, therefore alienating her from everyone and making her like Marina. Without getting into personal feelings for how stupid and pointless this is, I can say that what doesn’t work in particular with this plot for me are IP addresses and how easy it is to locate where A computer with A campus encrypted code really is, and the overall absence of logic that makes you wonder why any of these braindead morons would think Laura would ever post something so incriminating to her own name is baffling. It makes absolutely no sense, but that’s the world that we’re living in with ‘Friend Request’ and all of its stretched imagination even for a horror film. On top of it all, even calling it a horror film is A stretch at times because this film does covet the abnormal R-rating for today’s standards, but doesn’t do anything remotely tingling or eye-catching to earn this mark. For my money, I’m guessing the language comes more into play than the violence because the death scenes aren’t even shown to us. We get the build-up, and then a cut right before we see how they’re done in. There is blood, but I wouldn’t say it’s anything that you haven’t seen if you’ve ever seen A horror movie in your life. This all makes the presentation of an hour and A half feel like twice that, and I literally couldn’t wait to finish my viewing.

This is also some of the very worst post production in A film that I have seen in my six years as A film critic. The editing is offensive on almost every level of measurement, cutting scenes far too soon from useful exposition, as well as offering some truly head-scratching moments that were left in the finished product. I can’t tell you how many times this film angered me to the point that I wish it would just pace itself in any of its scenes and just tell A story or exchange fruitfully. Most especially in the first act, each scene just rushes through like it’s trying to set A record for most scenes in a ten minute stretch. There’s very few establishing shots at the beginning of every scene, and it often feels like we’ve stumbled into A conversation between these friends where we’ve missed the first few lines. As for what is left in that shouldn’t, I stumbled on unintentional laughter on more than one occasion involving an unnecessary close-up on A character that was completely unflattering. There’s one scene between A friend of Laura’s who clearly has A crush on her, and when he sees her the camera closes up on his reaction, and it looks like he’s seconds from licking his lips LL Cool J style. Was there no possibility at A retake? Or was everything one-and-done because hell, no one cares about horror today except for jump scares, and yes there is plenty of that. The heightened sound enhancement to attain A few shrieks from the audience grew tired about thirty minutes in, when they have decided to waste it on things that didn’t warrant anywhere close to the dark alley beat down that my ears took. Seriously don’t watch this movie with the sound up, it’s testing on the ears and the speakers.

And then there’s the C.G effects, the bulk of which’s speed in fluidity and volume in texture make their respective sequences feel as hollow as the movie’s positive impact. I don’t expect award winning effects from ‘Friend Request’, so don’t get me wrong, but it would be nice for the lighting of said effects to even be on the same filter as their respective surroundings. When you see flying moths, those of which doesn’t even remotely resemble moths, you can’t help but wonder why the art department would even attempt this effect. This is clearly A film that is handicapped at every turn by its miniscule budget, so I would’ve rather the producers kept everything as cheap as possible, and just set the mood by promoting an equally haunting weight in aura to its scenes. C.G effects of this kind will do nothing but standout as an obvious counterfeit negative to the film’s visual levels, so just keep them on the cutting room floor.

But A horror film will be salvageable if it can manage to move you by gripping psychological performances that supplant A keen sense of the suffocating terror that envelopes them. It’s just unfortunate that this rule doesn’t come close to registering here, because the entirety of the amateur group of cast and crew are about as committed to this laughably bad dialogue as A child’s waning attention span. This again contributes to the one take mentality that plagues this film. As Laura, Debnam-Carey lacks the kind of ear-shattering scream or believability in vulnerability that makes her A credible protagonist. Because the film gives us the bare minimum of Facebook screenshots for her exposition, her character couldn’t come across as any more vanilla, and you actually hope that this film will break the void and kill off its main character early because of it. My least favorite character however, was Kobe played by Connor Paolo. Kobe is kind of the computer wiz of the group, so Laura depends on him A lot for help. The problem is that Paolo’s dry and lumbering delivery quickly makes him the subject of many future Youtube mock videos. An entirety of the film is between he and Laura, so you can imagine how thrilling 90 minutes of bland and dry combine for A bone chilling good time. As unappealing of A cast as I have experienced in 2017.

THE VERDICT – ‘Friend Request’ again muddles in the same kind of absurdity and redundancy that have lowered the curve of modern day horror. The acting in these vitally underwritten characters is laughably bad, the story rushes by far too quickly because of some truly jarring editing, and the visual specter of C.G effects to boot gives this an equally frightening presentation for all of the wrong reasons. Even the campy have standards, and this request should be blocked at any and every opportunity. I blame you Mark Zuckerberg.

1/10

Yoga Hosers

Kevin Smith’s second film in the Canada trilogy takes a younger direction, in the horror-comedy “Yoga Hosers”. 15-year-old yoga-nuts Colleen Collette (Lily-Rose Depp) and Colleen McKenzie (Harley Quinn Smith) love their smart phones and hate their after school job at Manitoban convenience store Eh-2-Zed. But when an ancient evil force named Bratzl (Kevin Smith) rises from beneath Canada’s crust and threatens their big invitation to a Grade 12 party, the Colleens join forces with the legendary man-hunter from Montreal named Guy Lapointe (Johnny Depp) to fight for their lives with all seven Chakras, one Warrior Pose at a time. Depp, Depp the younger and Smith the younger are returning in the roles they created for 2014’s “Tusk”, this time taking the lead in the newest of Kevin’s cooky offerings. “Yoga Hosers” is rated PG-13 for crude humor, sexual references, comic violence, and brief drug use.

Every once in a while, I see a movie that makes me seriously question the kind of pain and torture that I inflict upon myself. I also question how studios can inject a notable amount of money (In this case, four million dollars) into a such an abysmal piece of dog shit, while people are starving on the streets of any city in America. Finally, I question how movies like this get a big screen release when several worthy independent movies struggle to even see the light of day. If the answer to all of these questions are Kevin Smith, that answer is no longer feasible in the grand scale of credible comedy directors. Kevin Smith’s “Yoga Hosers” is the latest bomb from a director who wrote and directed some of the very best comedies of the 90’s and early 2000’s. Films like “Clerks”, “Mallrats”, “Chasing Amy”, and “Dogma” to name a few, are now just footnotes in the career of a man who makes movies to please only himself. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with wanting to make something just because you’ve never seen it done, but at the end of the day, it has to be remotely entertaining if you are presenting it to the paying public. Smith enthusiasts are the only ones who will find this kind of drivel acceptable. At this point, they will accept anything that comes out of him and is plopped onto precious loads of film. I hated his 2014 film “Tusk”, but “Yoga Hosers” takes my hatred of recent Kevin Smith movies to new heights. I am horrifically shocked at how low this once prestigious director has fallen.

First of all, “Yoga Hosers”, as Kevin Smith puts it, “Is made for teenage girls”. If that is the case, he thinks very little of our inevitable future leaders. I can’t imagine any teenager would have anything to do with this movie. Smith spoofs their attention deficit disorders cleverly when it comes to their investment to their phones, but it’s probably not the best move to poke fun at the audience you are paying tribute to. The movie feels remotely like the “Josie and the Pussycats” reboot in the tone of the overall direction, but it doesn’t offer anything even remotely compelling to that waste of time. The screenplay feels like a series of half baked ideas that Smith conjured up during one of many smoke sessions that lasted a little too long. Ten minutes into the film, you pretty much get a good taste of everything that you are in store for. Teenage drama is about as compelling to me as an “Antiques Roadshow” marathon, so to see Smith surround himself in this culture feels like the aging hipster who goes to the newest rock band concert just to feel hip. Our two female protagonists sing in a rock band, and it is just the worst kind of Agent Orange for your ears. Besides some of the worst lip-synching that I have ever seen, the recorded work for these four songs (Yes four) will serve as the key that unlocks the padded cell that you will now resign in after hearing it. Between performances, Smith shoehorns in a story involving sausage sized Nazi’s that invade anally of any human they come across. Unfortunately, the PG-13 rating that is anything but Smith’s style limits any kind of juvenile jokes that you would get out of this set-up. I never laughed once in “Yoga Hosers”, and I’m regretfully issuing an apology to Adam Sandler for the mud I have hurled at his last ten movies or so. The script feels like it repeats the same ten jokes or so, mostly Canadian accents and cultures that wasn’t remotely funny. A half hour in, you can telegraph every single punchline because you have already heard it five times before, and it never raises itself creatively from this level.

The effects work ran out of cash according to Smith. I certainly hope so, because I’ve seen better effects in green-screen on “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse”. The inserting of these small soldiers don’t feel the slightest bit believable because the actors surrounding them don’t react well to their physical statures. It always looks like they are looking at someone far off into the distance, instead of the bodies of the people they hold right in front of them. This is bad quality for a first time director, and I feel like if this was the best it was going to get, Smith should’ve waited until more money could be raised for the product. It’s bad in the way that “Birdemic” suffers from bad motion capture. Then there’s the character intro graphics. When each character (And I mean EVERY character) is introduced to us for the first time, we get an ode to “Scott Pilgrim Vs The World”, in that we get screen graphics giving us a brief profile of the characters we encounter. Somewhere this qualifies barely as background exposition, but there’s two major things wrong with this concept. The first, the graphics are annoying by the time it hits the twentieth character. It slows down what minimal continuity flow that the movie has going for it, and serves as a five second pause button each time. The second problem I just mentioned. Five seconds is nowhere near enough to read the on-screen dialogue, so each opportunity not only feels like a waste of time, but a waste of character development that you will never get to take in again.

Speaking of characters, if you hated “Tusk” Johnny Depp is back to to creatively kick us in the movie nuts again, as Inspector Clusseau rip-off Guy Lapointe. The positive here is that Smith knows not to waste as much precious screen time on this character this time around, and we only get him in soundbites. Depp doesn’t elevate his performance slightly though, and Lapointe serves as the voice in your head reminding you of better things that you should be doing with your time. As for the two girls, one thing I give the movie is that their chemistry together is perfect. These two real life best friends gel well together, even with the most eye-rolling of dialogue deliveries. It’s not saying much, but the film feels the most interesting when they are on-screen together, hamming it up with material that they know they deserve far better than. Their acting leaves a little more to be desired. I understand that these two are amateurs in this field, but they are our main cast, so a majority of the film rests in their deliveries and reads for each scene. Their performances feel very wooden and rehearsed, and it all reeks of a bad 1 AM “Saturday Night Live” skit that just barely made the final cut.

“Yoga Hosers” is the ultimate test of patience for Kevin Smith fans alike. It’s an off-the-rails kind of presentation, complete with strained, and often repetitive material, underwritten characters, and unfinished special effects. It’s the very antonym of entertaining. A far greater stench locked inside of two theater doors for 82 minutes longer than anyone could or should have to endure.

1/10

Fifty Shades of Black

Fifty Shades of Black

The newest addition to the Hollywood spoofing legend stars one of its most prominent actors Marlon Wayans. This time parodying the likes of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “Magic Mike” to name a few, in “Fifty Shades of Black”. Wayans stars as Christian Black, who much like the original Christian Grey, is a billionaire executive in pursuit of a young woman named Hannah (played by Kali Hawk). As Christian gets closer to her, the hilarities of his sexual practices and tortured past leaves a strain on the evergrowing relationship between the two. Christian recounts the many silly events that led to their very rich philanthropist that he is today. Directed by Michael Tiddes (A Haunted House films), The movie follows the same basic plot points as Fifty Shades Of Grey but in classic Wayans fashion, Marlon tackles whiteness, black stereotypes and in a brief tease, Kim Kardashian’s Paper cover shoot.

I have never once tried drinking poison, as some of you can tell by the fact that I write these reviews weekly. But my imagination tells me that seeing “Fifty Shades of Black” might not be too far off. I am literally poisoning myself for sitting through this puddle of puke. Parody films more times than not have been miss for me, but the classics like “Airplane” and “Don’t Be a Menace” always hold up because their material pushed the films they were spoofing that much further. They do justice to each scene without feeling desperate by trying to make their own cut of the film, and that is the problem with this mess. I wish I had a lot of positives for the story in this film, but everything looks and feels cheap because easy money is the best kind of reward. Marlon Wayans knows that idiots will see this movie and his eight others just like it because it requires no creativity. For a majority of the script, they are working off of the originality of films like “Fifty Shades of Grey”, “Magic Mike” and even “Whiplash”, a film I never thought I would see thrown into sexual movies like the previous two. The plot structure (SURPRISE SURPRISE) feels like a series of skits slapped together and edited to make one feature length film. Nothing is in continuity, and there certainly are no lasting effects to the encounters these characters go through. Sadly, the film is an advocate to the very film it spoofs. “Grey” was a movie that I didn’t enjoy in the least, but after seeing “Black” I feel that more people will be drawn to the original. If you see this movie before you see the source material, your grade might not be as harsh for “Grey”.

The comedic material (If you can call it that) is virtually non-existent. It’s not often during a movie that I will be offended. I pride myself with having thick skin when it comes to fictional material, but this movie offended me and any other kind of race of human beings who will go to see it this week. The best hits of low-life racism are all here for every inbread to enjoy. Fast speaking gibberish for the asians, Chicken and Kool-Aid for the African Americans, and the stealing of other cultures for the caucasians. This film aims its arrow strong and hits the target blindfolded. To give credit where it’s due, the movie made me laugh a couple of times during the Magic Mike spoofs. To say even more to the producers goals, I never laughed once at the Fifty Shades material. After about a half hour in, the film feels like it lost touch with its origins and simply doesn’t care where it goes from there. The jokes go on and on so much that the punchline gets drowned in a pool of overabundance. During those couple times I did laugh, I was asking the movie to move on five minutes later when it was still pointing out the same punchline. The audience moves on from this schtick long before the characters do. It’s like watching a ten year old who tells one funny joke but then changes the wording up to see how many times they can get the adults to laugh at the same word. Usually that word is “Poopy” because there sure is no lack of toilet humor in this movie. From urination, to fecal matter, to Marlon’s favorite sex jokes, this film has everything for the adolescent starter pack whose parents may be afraid to sit down and have the talk with them. It gets old quickly, and you will find yourself reaching for your watch with about an hour left. 87 minutes have seriously never felt so long to me.

Marlon Wayans plays his most detestable character to date, and I can understand how a lot of that is intentional. Wayans is trying to show how derranged the character of Christian Grey is, and I have no problem realizing that. Where my problem with Black lies is that he seemingly has the intelligence of an eight year old. He’s abusive, never worked for his money, and terrible in bed. SO WHAT MAKES HIM EVEN REMOTELY APPEALING??? Even in a spoof movie, these kinds of things have to have a string of logic. Kali Hawk is even worse, as her character is nothing more than a mock to all women to show how naive they are. For a second, it feels like Hannah’s character could go somewhere to make a stand for her superior sex, but the movie quickly falls back into its disgusting clutches because Marlon wrote it that way. It feels like a black version of Adam Sandler, and I couldn’t help but scratch my head over the supposed chemistry the movie wants them to have. All of this pales in comparison however to the single worst aspect of this film. Jenny Zigrino plays an overweight white girl with a black accent. That’s it, that is her character. The movie donates so much of its screen time to this character because its ideas and plot are the size of a single pea, so we the audience are put through scene after grueling scene of loud and obnoxious dialogue that never goes anywhere except the bedroom. She’s fat so lets put her in a scene with a sandwich. She’s horny, so lets put her in a scene with a guy with a ten foot penis. How does a screenplay like this not reek of Oscar gold? Zigrino’s voice alone left me shaking with so much anger that I almost yelled out loud without any control.

Overall, “Fifty Shades of Black” is an 87 minute apology to the films I have given a 1/10 over the last five years. It’s material is stale from the opening minute, and we the audience are treated to a collection of ill-timed jokes that miss their creative mark every time. I can respect my readers for disagreeing with me on movies that I rate. The world is certainly open to interpretation. But if you enjoyed this movie, I question your sanity. If you found it funny more than the occasional pity laugh, you have some serious problems. Movies like this are the very bane of my existence as a film critic. There is certainly room for this one to grow, but as it stands, the film is definitely in my five least favorite films of all time. Truly utterly awful. This is everything we feared that the original movie was going to be.

0/10

 

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension

Paranormal Activity The Ghost Dimension

The sixth installment of the popular but polarizing franchise creeps into theaters this Halloween. The latest chapter is set in December of 2013, with The Fleeges family father Ryan (Chris J. Murray), mother Emily (Brit Shaw) and their young daughter Leila (Ivy George) moving into a house and discovering a video camera with a box of tapes in the garage. When they look through the camera’s lens, they begin to see the paranormal activity happening around them, including the re-emergence of young Kristi and Katie from the third film. “The Ghost Dimension” serves as a greatest hits for everything that is wrong with this franchise. Six films in and I have yet to find one film that i can use as a peak for this mind numbingly bad series. The movie casts idiots with the same laughable responses, time traveling, something that greatly upset me about the last movie, and many wastes of scenes that go well beyond logics in recording.

If there is one thing i enjoyed about the film, it’s the improvements in visual technology that the film takes on. The movie has more of a crisp look from the POV cameras used in the film, but even this is a fault as we are supposed to be seeing the events through a basic 80’s handheld camera, not an HD clear picture. The cameras once again have that amazing capability to listen in on conversations going on from clearly across the room. Can this be done on a basic VHS camera? Does anyone care? Is anyone listening? If the film took a little of that artistic capability and used it for the story, this film wouldn’t be one of the absolute worst films that I have seen this year.

That brings me to the problems with this film, and boy are there a lot of them. The time traveling aspect of this series is back, and I would like to think that is the most shark jumping point of this series, but it’s not. The movie now looks like something out of a SyFy film of the week, complete with predictable scares and some of the worst CGI ghost designs that I have ever seen in a film. These aren’t even ghosts, they’re something out of a Guillermo Del Toro campfire story. I feel like “Crimson Peak” was still stuck in my mind from seeing it just three days ago, because the ghosts from that film are now jumping into this. It just doesn’t work because “Paranormal Activity” (At least until the fifth movie) was always pretty grounded in it’s paranormal aspects. This is a world where ghosts live in, but the best part of those scares was always what you didn’t see. This film has jumped that thought process fifty times over with laughably bad designs that lack little definition because the film’s CGI believes it is better to cast these ghosts in the darkest room possible, proving the film’s premise isn’t the only thing that lacks clarity.

The acting is terrible. It feels like something out of a 90’s Sears air conditioning commercial. I don’t claim to be the wisest man on the planet when it comes to reactions and responses, but The Fleeges Family has to be among the very dumbest characters who i have ever seen in film. Unlike other families in this franchise, these people get early warning of the kinds of hells that happened in their house and do NOTHING. They continue to stay in this house like nothing ever happened, and ignore the night mayhem. Their daughter is literally channeling Satan, talking to imaginary spirits who have her writing satanic imagery on her bedroom walls, and being completely disrespectful and combative to her parents. Yet the best that they can do is stay hunkered down and wait for the storm to clear. I was praying for these people to die in the film, just so the 84 minute run time could go smoother. The film just kind of whips us into their storylines without giving them any kind of meaningful character traits, or anything symbolic to make them stand out from the rest.

I want to talk a little bit about the screenplay for this movie; it’s as exciting as watching paint dry. The film (Written by four different people) feels very sloppy and rushed without any real moments of discovery for the audience to understand just what the hell is going on here. If there is one thing that always upsets me about these found footage genre films, it’s when the movie will leave the camera on through some of the most illogical events, but then cut it super quick whenever something is getting explained in the payoff. Every single time i even got remotely glued into one of the explanations on the history of the girls from the third movie, or the daughter of this family explaining what happened, the movie cuts to another pointless scene and we are left wondering why we spent ten dollars on a movie with a bunch of scenes that never clearly connect. When the producers realize they haven’t done anything for roughly seventy minutes, the movie decides it better wrap it up quickly. The finale made me yell out in the theater “THAT WAS WORTH THE EMOTIONAL INVESTMENT”. Nothing different from the other films happens, but even worse, we can’t see what is going on to begin with. The framing is completely captured from adults, when in reality it feels like a toddler’s first camera experience. The film talks all movie about this apparition, but we never get any kind of payoff from him. We can vaguely make out what is happening, but how many times can we the audience see the same movie with the same ending and feel satisfied?

“Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” reaches new heights in a truly tired film franchise. Just when i think the series can’t get any more disrespectful to it’s audience, it does something truly off the wall. There is no sound more crippling than the silence you will hear after one of these movies when the first names on the credits appear. The fact that nobody cheers, boos, or makes any kind of noise, should tell you everything you need to know. This series isn’t reaching even the most dedicated of fans anymore. Time to take these paranormal tapes and burn them. With the cold Winter coming, you’ve already given these films more purpose that over nine hours of scren time has.

1/10

Old Fashioned

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1/10

Old Fashioned is possibly the toughest religion based film i have sat through. It’s not the worst film of that genre, but more on the fact that it is pointless that it has anything to do with religion, and that it’s existence baffles me as i search for clarity in a nearly two hour entertainment drought that took many pauses throughout my viewing experience. The film focuses on Clay Walsh (Rik Swartzwelder), a former frat boy who gives up his sexually ambitious lifestyle and now runs an antique shop in a small Midwestern college town. There, he has become notorious for his lofty and outdated theories on love and romance. When Amber Hewson (Elizabeth Robertson), a free-spirited young woman with a restless soul, drifts into the area and rents the apartment above his shop, she finds herself surprisingly drawn to his noble ideas, which are new and intriguing to her. And Clay, though he tries to fight and deny it, simply cannot resist being attracted to her spontaneous and passionate embrace of life. If you can’t tell by my rating, i absolutely loathed this film. First of all, the characters are unlikable and not even in an entertaining sense. Even more so than Christian Grey in “Fifty Shades of Grey”, Clay is a controlling and at times scary human being. There are so many warning signs for Amber with her interest in this man. Their interest in one another doesn’t make sense from Amber’s point of view because as the film goes on we find out she has a yearning for sexual touch. So she decides to get involved with the man who has sworn abstinence until his wedding night? Make no mistake about it, if abstinence is your thing, then rock on. But the problem with the believability and lack of chemistry with our two main protagonists is that they never kiss, cuddle, and barely hold hands. It’s nice that Director/Star/Writer Rik Swartzwelder was kind enough to cast himself in a role and think he could get away without forming any kind of bond between these two characters. I don’t buy that these two have any interest in each other for a second, and it’s made all the more ridiculous when after one date they seriously consider a marriage talk. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I hope no influential minds end up seeing this film. The last thing the world needs is people like this walking around. I Mentioned earlier that the religious aspect of the film is pointless, and that is because there is really no need for it in this particular storyline. Clay isn’t living with sex because of religious beliefs, he is doing it because he thinks this helps make him a better person from the terrible things he used to do to women. This is where the story at the very least made me laugh. It turns out Clay, the sap who couldn’t act his way out of a paper bag, is a former director of Girls Gone Wild DVD’s. This is an actual storyline that Swartzwelder thought would represent his evil past ways?? Is is a slimeball way to make money? Yes, but it doesn’t cast him in the near vilainous light that Clay hates himself for. The fact that the movie makes this out to be the worst thing possible shows just how tame and vanilla this film is. The camera work is subpar even for a low budget religious film. There are many shots that take place a little too up close to the face of our characters during conversations. The camera was so close at times that i thought someone would slip and actually look at the camera. Why not? There were many times when i saw Clay about to break into laughter midway through a line read. I’m glad someone got entertainment out of this morbid waste of film. Another thing wrong with the production is the choppy style of the editing. Scenes feel like they end when a next shot of something completely unrelated shows and then we go back to the original scene. Sometimes it cuts and never goes back to finishing the conversation. It makes it very hard to keep up with ongoing situations in the film. Our characters boring story goes nowhere fast, so they have to shoehorn some suspense in the final twenty minutes of the film by introducing us to characters we haven’t seen, but are now showing up on Amber and Clay’s doorsteps to try to seduce them into cheating on the other one. Where did this come from? It doesn’t matter because it’s soon dismissed in favor of an ending that doesn’t make us or the characters feel any closer to the reality of what is going on. Old Fashioned is a film that many of my readers have waited months for me to review, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s bad from it’s slow narrative start, to the conclusion that gives us no satisfaction for where these two are heading. This is a relationship doomed to fail, and i for one wish i got that movie instead. Old Fashioned is an insult to romance both past and present. Many of the older crowds who see this film will be humiliated into admitting that they have more in common with today’s youth in terms of romantic offerings than they do this film and it’s slap in the face title. Too tone deaf to ever be taken seriously, but not entertaining enough to ever include in a bad movie night marathon.

The Horror

The Horror

0/10

There is a huge difference between films that are bad and films that don’t try. ‘The Horror’ falls in the ladder. After their parents death, Malcolm and Isabel Rademacher travel to Michigan to take shelter in their family’s lake house for winter. While there, they discover that they aren’t alone and are made to fight for their survival. A fight that will continue long after the violence ends. To even pull that kind of plot out of a film this dull and obscure should award me the Nobel Peace Prize. Someone watching this movie might not even find that much plot in a film of nothing for 76 minutes. For those who don’t know, the film is a low budget suspense flick that is currently making the rounds in independent cinemas across the northeast. It won’t premiere until October of this year, and i hope the lord has mercy on anyone who has to sit through it. If you never listen to my reviews, listen to this one. What makes this film worse than say ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2’, a film i saw two weeks ago? There is nothing of notable positivity. The first problem comes in a title that is so contradictory that it now has me examining every single film title that i go to see for name problems. The movie isn’t even remotely close to a horror movie. If that was the point then where is the suspense? Where is the intrigue? Where is that scene that makes you interested in characters who are so bland and removed from any kind of human emotion that they just sputter in tedious dialogue over and over again? The film starts off with a scene at a bridge telling the local legend of ‘Crybaby Bridge’. I didn’t know this movie had anything to do with that, but i was psyched to see where the legend of such a tale would take me in this film. It’s the only mention of that bridge or anything to do with it. It’s almost like the filmmakers turned on the camera before they actually started shooting and decided to film the cast party. There is nothing even remotely in the direction of plot development. The most exciting scene involved two burglars breaking into the house on the brother and sister, but it’s score is on mute for what should be the most important scene of the film to this point. After that, the movie decides to focus on the psyche of Malcolm and how that night affected his behavior. I’m not sure if i missed some key line of dialogue because the sound editing of the film was by far the worst i have ever seen. I literally sat right in front of a speaker and had trouble figuring out dialogue during the movie. What i could make out reveals that Malcolm has taken a turn for the worst as he spends night after night at the cabin. We are told that the siblings parents died there in a freak accident, but we are never given much else. Did Malcolm murder them? Did the burglars who broke in murder them? How did the accident of the two most important people to our main characters change them? Nothing is ever mentioned in the slightest sense. The finale builds to be this big showdown between brother and sister, but after checking my watch and seeing five minutes left in the run time, i knew i was up for another disappointment. The sister sees the brother laying with blood. Is this his or the therapist of his sister whose house he broke into? We never get answers, as the last scene of the movie cuts back to Malcolm scouting out the Crybaby Bridge with a friend. What did i miss? Was there twenty minutes of film left on the cutting floor that left out some key details? How does any theater get conned into showing this garbage? Unfortunately, questions are the only thing that seem to surround me following a film i deemed as “The worst movie i have ever seen”. I have been through awful films in time, but ‘The Horror’ truly perplexed me on it’s lack of direction alone. I tried as hard as i could to find some kind of positive note about the film, but it’s just not there. After going through everything in my review, maybe the title truly is the one thing that makes sense. ‘The Horror’ will always be that movie cover that gives chills down my spine for that lost 76 minutes on May 2nd, 2015 that i will never get back again.

Paul Blart : Mall Cop 2

 

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1/10

There are movies that we all don’t like. Whether it’s in a weak plot, or terrible character development, or whatever, those films are forgotten in a pasture of terrible movies put to sleep in our minds forever. Then there are those films that are so bad that you can never truly forget them. They are immortal if only for the horrors they bestill in the history of your life. “Paul Blart 2” will be a part of me for the rest of my life because a part of me died on this dreaded day in 2015. After six years of keeping the mall safe, Paul Blart (Kevin James) is rewarded for his heroism during the first film. He is invited to Vegas with his teenage daughter before she heads off to college to partake in a convention for the world’s most acclaimed security officers. Paul is in vacation mode until he intercepts a big inside job with lots of art being stolen from Las Vegas by a madman (Neal Mcdonough) and his men. I’m not going to beat around the bush, this film was every bit as terrible as advertised. If you enjoyed the first film, you will be in Heaven by how much this film repeats the exact same gags and scenes almost shot for shot. Fat jokes are hilarious because Paul is fat, so we should laugh at how clumsy he is, and how much he eats. Seriously, there is no fewer than four scenes of Kevin James pigging out on unhealthy snacks. This has been Kevin James act for over fifteen years. Seriously, look back to his early filmography and you will find scripts in fat jokes over and over and over again. If he’s happy with his weight to poke fun at it, fine, but the jokes are older than Mayberry. Now to what is really wrong with this film. The movie clocks in at 89 minutes, which would be a positive if the scenes didn’t drag like a two hour snorefest. I didn’t laugh one time in this movie because many of the gags are either similar to their earlier counterpart film, or easy to telegraph from a mile away. The best chances for a laugh are those that are in the trailer, but i don’t understand how you can laugh at something you have seen a thousand times. You know the punchline that is coming, so it’s like you know the answer before the film asks the question. The CGI backgrounds continue the tradition of sloppiness for Happy Madison, but this film takes it even further. It’s almost like you are watching two different screens whenever these scenes take place, and they don’t blend well together. If you are like me, you can notice sun shining on people walking by in a day when it’s not sunny outside for the scene. These scenes stick out like a sore thumb and ruin the joke before it happens because you expect something since the scene looks very artificial. The characters (Blart included) are so unlikeable, as you search for someone to believe in, but are left on the doorstep of disappointment. Mcdonough has always been a great villain, but his work is too short here. He’s the villain of the film and we see him for maybe a total of ten minutes. We actually get more out of his henchmen who are smart enough to pull off a 13-piece art heist, but then fall prey to an idiot who can’t even see a glass door in front of him. There are also wonderful scenes of continuity issues. Small spoiler – During a fight scene, Blart is trapped in a suitcase and dumped into a water fountain. The water is coming through the bag with Blart panicking. In the very next scene, we see him hopping out of the fountain. The film doesn’t show him finding a knife, or biting the suitcase, or anything. If the director of the film doesn’t care about the audience and treats you all like idiots, then why should you believe this muck? Some of you will tell me that it’s just a comedy movie and i shouldn’t take it seriously. If that’s the case, then why don’t i give a pass to every movie when continuity doesn’t match? If you think i’m taking things too seriously, consider that Rotten Tomatoes currently has this film at a 0%. Let that soak in for a minute. Hell, i gave the movie a 1/10 because i can still understand that i have seen worse films than this. Not many, but they do exist. “Paul Blart 2” is the very definition of a pointless cash-grab sequel. There’s no reason for it’s existence other than to ruin what little positive memories we had of the first film. Maybe the real essence of this film is to make the first film resemble “Citizen Kane”. If that’s the point, then Mr Blart, you have succeeded.

Saving Christmas

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0.5/10

Perhaps a lump of coal isn’t the worst thing you will receive in your stockings this year, as director Kirk Cameron tells us the story about the real Christmas and some of the symbolic meanings behind those objects. Corrupt with a world of commercialism, Cameron tries to give us back the spirit that should be inside all of us for such a joyous season. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, but i absolutely hated this film. As i said before, i am not poking fun at any religious groups, but instead reviewing what i didn’t like about the film, mainly everything. I don’t even know if i can call this movie a film as it is presented in the same way a History Channel biography would. For instance, the film had an antagonist to go against Cameron who explains why Christmas is so evil, and what does the true christianity Christmas have to do with Christmas trees, Santa Claus, and Snow globes. They truly couldn’t pick a more uneducated moron to fill this void of the outsider who hates these cultures. The guy has no argument to combat Cameron and instead chooses to accept every story that Kirk tells with no debate. What is crazy is that this guy leaves his own Christmas party in his OWN HOUSE to go outside and sit the rest of the night in his car. Cameron soon joins him and explains why he has to change and why he should go back inside and apologize to his wife and everyone. Keep in mind that this guy has done nothing to ruin everyone else’s Christmas spirit, as they are all celebrating like a bunch of nuns with their first bottle of Jose Cuervo. It’s Cameron who is being the jerk by telling this guy to change in his own house at his own party where he is bothering NO ONE. By the end of the film, we are supposed to see Cameron as this prophet who has restored the Christmas cheer back into the viewer. As i said before, the film just doesn’t feel like any movie i have seen this year, and that’s not a good thing. It has a run time of 70 minutes, and that is only because the last twenty minutes are so unbelievably stretched out. The debate between Cameron and Antagonist moron finishes up about fifty minutes into the movie, so what do they do with the other twenty minutes? Why have a hip hop christian music video with all of the zombie guests at the party. Seriously, these actors were so terrible that i was waiting for a ransom note to fly out of Cameron’s back pocket. After the corniest dance off i have ever seen in my life, we get the final ten minutes of Cameron reiterating EVERYTHING we have already been through in the whole movie. He does this a few more times in the last scenes so the studio can be happy with a real movie run time instead of the 48-50 minutes this movie should’ve been. The camera work is absolutely hysterical. Not since the Sears air conditioner infomercials of the 90’s have i seen such cardboard and even creepy shots. There are many close ups in the movie that make you feel like you are sharing breath with Cameron and all of his sweater shepherds. I thought it was weird enough to have Cameron in the faces of all of these people he is talking to, but even creepier when we are put in the camera angle of such recipients. The Christmas music is nice for those of you who like that sort of thing, but it becomes irrelevant when Cameron’s narrations exceed the volume of the music. If this isn’t enough, we get a black stereotype character, and it’s the worst one i have ever seen. This guy spits such holy slang that you will find yourself yelling “SHUT UP!!!!!” and not knowing or remembering that you did it. I found one scene hilarious after the hip hop dance party. There are obviously 50-100 people at this party, but then most of them disappear when food is about to be served. There is only one table present in any shots of the dining room, and only about 15 people at this table. Where did the rest of them go? We dance you around like a jackass and then tell you to go home? The weirdest thing about this film is that Cameron is talking one second about how commercialized the holiday has become, and then supporting it by films end. He explains that giving presents are OK because that is what the three wisemen did during the birth of Christ. It’s like the movie with the highest religious tones supports materialism, greed, and gluttony. I feel terrible after watching films like this for you Christians. As a catholic, i can relate to criticisms, but these are the kind of films you wish would never be made. Kirk Cameron is not casting that religion in the brightest of lights with such an unbelievably bad film. Someone should tell Kirk that Christmas doesn’t need saving. It’s whatever you decide to make it in your own home, and doesn’t have an agenda. Some people have told me that they are waiting for this film to come to the dollar theater, and to that i say you would be spending a dollar too much. This film should be forgotten about without any DVD release. The world could be making much more important DVD uses like “Richard Simmons sweats to Lady Gaga” or “Bad to the Bone: Linoleum tiles”. There is nothing redeeming about it for a second. Continue celebrating the holiday like you normally do. The worst idea you could possibly have is to let this has-been “Save” your Christmas. I find it funny that any guy who tells women that they have a role in the kitchen during Christmas time on CNN, can tell anyone they can save Christmas.

Tusk

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1/10

Director Kevin Smith has somehow managed to give us a fond memory of his biggest failure known as Jersey Girl after seeing his latest dive into the horror world. This review isn’t going to be friendly by any means, so if you can’t take me verbally bashing a movie this bad, i suggest you walk away now. I was actually kind of psyched to see Tusk as it shows Kevin Smith growing more and more as a film maker. I wasn’t crazy with his last film, Red State, but i could understand if people did enjoy it. Tusk left me completely and utterly speechless and not for the better. It stars Justin Long as the voice of his own podcast. He shares stories with his listeners in an attempt to make them laugh and tune in. He goes to Canada to meet a kid who has a world famous Youtube video, but is left in shambles when the teenager commits suicide. He comes across a posting guaranteeing good stories and follows through to meet a mumbling paralyzed creeper (Played by the great Michael Parks). Long is drugged and when he awakens he finds himself at the mercy of a plot to turn him into a walrus. If the idea of this film isn’t crazy enough, the film does no favors to get anyone to stay interested in this snoozefest. The film is dragged down by so much dialogue and story telling even for a Kevin Smith film. The first 30 minutes are very difficult to stay interested in because you find yourself rolling your eyes everytime Parks goes to tell another of his around the world tales. When the action finally does pick up, you will be sorry it did. The movie is guided by terrible acting from everyone outside of Parks, and it just stinks. Tusk Tries to be scary and funny at the same time, but it doesn’t succeed with either one. It totally suffers from an identity crisis. The comedy is dragged down because it drags on for too long, and the movies scares don’t work because the laughable imagery and ridiculous suspension of disbelief have you comparing it to The Human Centipede. I am sure there will be tons of Kevin Smith fans who will adore this film because they are afraid to stand against their God, but this movie is awful. I get that it was supposed to be a step in the artistic direction, but not all art is good art. I respect that he took a chance, but it’s time the master of comedy returns to his bread and butter. I myself am a big Kevin Smith fan, but i’m not going to give the film a passing grade because i feel like his fans and i are misunderstood and only we understand the joke. The film isn’t supposed to be taken seriously so how can i ever give it enough serious thought to give it a passing grade. It felt like i was watching something from a Syfy channel movie of the week, and i expect way more from a man who has crafted some of the best movies of the 90’s. The positives i pulled from the film began with Michael Parks performance. He is absolutely creepy as the kidnapper. Parks is having the time of his life, and the guy can always make a presence even if he is being smothered by a terribly written script. It’s sloppy storytelling of forward and back shots will have the viewer confused for three minutes at a time as to where the story just went. I did enjoy a HUGE cameo that popped up midway through the movie, and the actor did the most he could to add fun to a movie that was spiraling out of control. It all feels like a 97 minute joke that goes on for far too long by the final ridiculous fight scene. I am not kidding when i say that the last ten minutes of Tusk might be among the most speechless i have ever seen. If leaving a lasting impression and leaving your audience speechless was the premise, then you Mr Smith have succeeded wonderfully. I just don’t always think that is a good thing. Sure, the film will be remembered for ages, but it will be remembered for being one of the biggest pieces of shit that anyone has ever paid hard earned money for. It’s a film based off of a joke on a podcast and if that doesn’t sound like a thin thinking idea then i don’t know what does. Tusk feels like a film where the audience is laughing at Kevin Smith and not with him. Audacity can only take you so far when you have to write 97 minutes around such a ridiculous idea. With the buzz coming out of the Toronto Film Festival about this film, i think the city has more problems than their crack smoking mayor. Tusk is not only one of my least favorite films of the year, it is one of my least favorite films of all time. The only saving grace i had was that i was sitting next to friends watching it as we laughed and made fun of it. Go ahead and tell me how great this movie was. It’s a joke i don’t want any part of

Winter’s Tale

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1/10

Oh Good Lord, where do i start? This film is by far one of the ten worst films i have EVER seen. There is so much for me to explain that i don’t know if i will get it done in one review. Colin Ferrell stars as a thief in 1914 New York who breaks into the house of a dying young red haired woman to steal her jewels, but ends up stealing her heart instead. Ferrell has been told his whole life to look out for a red head and that he will be her savior. So of course, there is only one red haired woman in the whole world, so it has to be her. STUPID. The acting in this film is severely awful and even comedic at times. Russell Crowe is the villain in this film as a demon thief who was once Ferrell’s boss. He is after Ferrell for reasons we never find out. He is a demon for reasons we never find out. That is one of the biggest problems with this awful narrative; it is nearly 2 hours long and we never find anything out. In my opinion, Crowe is a very overrated actor and that doesn’t shine more than this film. His accent alone couldn’t keep the theater from breaking out into loud laughter. (Spoilers) The woman ends up dying and Ferrell ends up getting beaten down by Crowe and his band of thugs. They dump him in the river and Ferrell ends up waking up in 2014 New York. The only explanation ever given for this is that sometimes miracles happen. This is by far some of the worst storytelling i have ever seen in my life. The only thing that can make something like this even worse is that it’s a deep obnoxious bore. As i said before, the movie is nearly 2 hours and you feel every single minute of it as it drags into a new year. I seriously thought it was 2015 by the time i left the theater. IT’S THAT BAD. The cinematography is something out of a 13 year old’s Mac computer. There are scenes with a flying horse (Whose name is actually Horse) that will make you think you dived into The Neverending Story or something similar. The dialogue is so bad that you will be bored out of the film by the 15th minute. It’s slow and just doesn’t work well with the story it is trying to tell. Everything i have told you is just build up to the actual worst part of this movie. What i am going to tell you is so bad that it has to be witnessed to see it. WILL SMITH CAMEOS AS SATAN. I am not lying at all. He stars as Satan with a filled in deep dark voice as his speech. It is by far the funniest thing i have seen in a long time. I literally couldn’t stop laughing in the theater which was garnering mean looks from the other watchers. Will Smith is possibly the last guy you would ever cast as Satan. I have to ask a serious question, what was the casting director thinking? It’s great to go for a big star, but i can name a million big stars that would be cast better than Smith in that role. I even like Will Smith, but not as Lucifer. AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL. Believe it or not, there are two good things to this movie (Besides laughter). It has a beautiful snow covered setting that really sets the mood for an old school eastern tale. It also has great wardrobe. The clothing is a perfect line for 1914, so kudos goes to costume designer Michael Kaplan for his beautiful vision. I couldn’t believe people were leaving the theater talking about how much they liked the movie. Art in general (Film, books, paintings) are based on opinion and i can respect that. I just don’t see how anyone could come out of this saying it’s a good film. That has to be the type who have never hated a film in their lives. To those people i say, hate a film, it will feel great. Shakespeare would be turning in his grave at this adaptation of his writing. I can’t possibly recommend this film to anyone. I guess it would be OK if you were in the presence of friends while having some drinks. It would be a fun film to sit down and just massacre. Winters Tale is one of the biggest disasters i have seen since “The Last Airbender”. Last year’s “Escape From Tomorrow” was bad, but i think Winters Tale is worse because it had a budget of 46 million dollars. Not recommended, but instead i will recommend an episode of Dawson’s Creek called “A Winter’s Tale”, it’s much better. I apologize for this review being outside of my typical fashion. I promise the next review will be much better. Apologies to my readers.

Escape From Tomorrow

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.5/10

WOW!!! What the hell did i just watch? Disney World is put under a dark side in this film that resembles Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. For those of you who don’t know this film was shot entirely guerilla style at Disney World without Disney’s permission. Because the film changes the music in the background, it does qualify as legal use. Disney have distanced themselves from this film and i totally understand why. First of all, the good things. It does have a decent premise that would have been much better under a different and more experienced director. They were going for the whole secret side of Disney thing here, and i can get behind that. It’s execution is done so weird and pointless that you wonder what the hell you just watched. The acting (Even for amateurs) is pathetic. I am going to go on a limb and say anyone associated with this film will probably never work in cinema again. I also liked the music in the background of the film. I think that some of the music mixed with the beautiful noir black and white shots makes for some enjoyable moments. The problem is that those moments are few and far between. This is one of those movies so bad that it has to be seen to be believed. I find it amazing how they filmed this whole movie on Canon cameras and Iphones because some of the shots leave you wondering how the hell they did that. I just wish more effort would have been put to the actual script itself. I never thought i would see one of the best films i have ever seen and one of the worst in the same week, but i am far past surprised in this business, anymore

The Lords of Salem

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1/10

I WANT MY 96 MINUTES BACK!!!! Where do i start with this horrible sack of shit? Rob Zombie’s 5th film feature tells the tale of a bunch of 17th century witches who haunt the dreams of Sherri Moon Zombie because there is a certain something they want from her. This movie was a complete waste of anything that has to do with film. The only thing i liked about the movie was Bruce Davidson and he dies with about 20 minutes left in the movie. Sherri Moon Zombie is a completely terrible actress. I don’t care if she is Rob Zombie’s wife or that she shows her naked body in every movie that she is in. If she never acted again, it would be one of the great justices that the American people ever experienced. This movie goes down in history with some of my other all-time nightmares like The Wicker Man, Fear Dot Com and The Ring. The one thing i can say about those movies though, is that at least they had a decent premise. I’m not saying this is the worst movie i have ever seen, but it’s pretty damn close. At the end of the day, i am not sure what genre this belongs to. There isn’t enough blood or gore for it to be a horror movie. There isn’t enough mystery or edge of the seat moments for it to be suspense. The movie’s ending is probably only 2nd to The Devil Inside as far as worst all time endings are concerned. I don’t recommend this film in theaters or DVD rental. If you even have the chance to get a free download, JUST SAY NO. Whatever movie i review next is going to look like The Shawshank Redemption compared to this piece of shit.