Tusk (2014)

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Director: Kevin Smith
Writer: Kevin Smith
Production Companies: Demarest Films, Phase 4 Films, SModcast Pictures
Stars: Justin Long, Michael Parks, Genesis Rodriguez, Haley Joel Osment
Genre: Horror / Comedy

What It’s About: A podcaster goes missing while out on an interview with an eccentric seafarer. His girlfriend and best friend team up with an ex-cop to search for him.

How I Watched It: Alone in my apartment. Evening.

Thoughts: First of all, let me just say that I have been anticipating this movie for some time. I’m a big fan of Kevin Smith, and after seeing Red State, I was especially excited to see another Kevin Smith movie starring Michael Parks. I was pretty amped to finally see it.

The general story (WITHOUT SPOILERS!):
Wallace (Long) is a podcaster, and a rude and crude one at that. He teams up with his co-host Teddy (Osment) to create The Not-See Party podcast. What a name. Anyway, Wallace takes it upon himself to go out into the world and collect stories from weird and eccentric people, and then broadcasts them on the show. His newest adventure is to go see a viral-video star in Canada, so he goes on his way.

The story with the viral-video kid doesn’t pan out, so Wallace quickly seeks a backup plan so that his trip wouldn’t be in vain. While in a bar restroom, he spots an ad from someone offering up free lodging for someone willing to do some household chores. The man claims to be an invalid in need of help, but he also apparently has tons of amazing stories to share–which would be another perk of the arrangement.

Wallace sees the opportunity and seizes it. He phones the fellow, Howard Howe (Parks), and plans to make the trip to his house. He gets there, and begins to hear the tales of so many of his adventures. Wallace is truly intrigued. But then…something starts to seem off…and before he knows it, he begins an adventure that he could never have imagined.

Wow. I knew some spoilers going into this film (it was nearly impossible to avoid them), but I still found it so shocking….and just….crazy. The special effects used in this movie looked SO GREAT. So real and visceral….while being completely out of the ordinary. But I’ll refrain from going further into that as to avoid spoilers. If you’d like to learn about the origin of this ridiculous plot line (some spoilers included), CLICK HERE.

Let’s talk about how hilarious this movie is. Anything from crude dude-humor to really subtle humor…to what I always think Kevin Smith does best–the situational humor. Some of the situations in this movie are so ridiculous…sure, they’re terrifying and weird…but they’re also fucking hilarious. Half the time, I didn’t know whether to cringe or laugh. That’s a difficult effect to achieve.

As far as acting goes, everyone nailed it on the head. Justin Long walks that line of being that guy you hate, and being that guy that you feel sorry for. I can’t even imagine how difficult of a role this was for him to play…for….**COUGH**…various reasons.  😉

Michael. Fucking. Parks. First of all, if you haven’t seen Red State, go watch it right fucking now.  I love that movie so much. I had seen Parks in several roles before that film…Kill Bill, Grindhouse, From Dusk Til Dawn, Twin Peaks…but man.  That role is the fucking tits.  This role is right up there with that one in my mind. Parks is one creepy mo-fo. Holy hell. Just the performance he delivers….incredible.

Later in the movie, Teddy and Wallace’s girlfriend Ally (Rodriguez) team up with an ex-cop named Guy Lapointe…and well…this might be a spoiler, because it was somewhat hidden from audiences….so SPOILER ALERT! Lapointe is played by none other than Johnny Depp. It’s fairly easy to tell that it’s him, even through his well-done makeup effects….so, you’d probably figure it out.  What a hilarious performance…drunken Quebec investigator. There’s a scene between him and Parks that is just hilarious, and is a testament to both of their acting abilities.

My Rating: Huzzah!
This movie is totally out there, but I love it. Definitely nothing else out there like this one, folks.

Where Can I Watch It?: This title is available digitally across several formats (Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, etc). The film will be released to DVD and Blu-Ray on December 30th.

Life After Beth (2014)

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Director: Jeff Baena
Writer: Jeff Baena
Production Companies: Abbolita Productions, American Zoetrope, Destro Films, Starstream Entertainment
Stars: Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Cheryl Hines, Paul Reiser, Matthew Gray Gubler, Anna Kendrick
Genre: Comedy/Horror/Drama

What It’s About: Zach’s recently deceased girlfriend mysteriously returns from the dead…but she’s not quite what he remembered.

How I Watched It: Alone in my apartment. Evening.

Thoughts: We start out the film with Beth (Plaza) walking in the woods. She thinks she hears something, and looks back…then continues on.  Fade out.

Flash forward a few days, to Zach (DeHaan) in a supermarket purchasing napkins. They’re for Beth’s funeral.  Apparently she received a fatal snake bite out on her hike. The funeral is really very awkward, but we get introduced to nearly all of the key players here. This movie starts out in a very dramatic way, but seeing actors such as John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon and Cheryl Hines makes you rethink that.

One night, when Zach is going over to visit Beth’s parents (Reilly and Shannon), he can’t get anyone to answer the door. He goes around the house peaking into windows, trying to figure out what’s going on. Much to his surprise, he spots who appears to be Beth in one of the windows. Unable to believe his eyes, Zach busts into the house through a window and confronts them. There stands Beth. Looking just as beautiful as he remembered. However, she couldn’t remember a thing. She didn’t even remember that just before her alleged death, they had actually broken up. Beth has no recollection of what happened to her.

Instead of being completely weirded out by this, they all carry on like it never happened. Occasionally, Zach becomes concerned that maybe she’s becoming a zombie. Lots of things that Beth does now, are uncharacteristic of her usual self. For one, she wants to live in the attic (perhaps to be as far above ground as possible?). She breaks out into violent spurts…which can only be calmed by listening to smooth jazz. She bears un-human strength. Oh, and she’s slowly but surely rotting inside and out. I think Zach can start to worry now.

Aubrey Plaza’s performance as a zombie is…interesting. There were times when I found her really hilarious–a lot of those times being very reminiscent of her role as April Ludgate on Parks and Rec. Other times, she just seemed to…growl and act like either an animal, or insane child.

Whatevs.

Whatevs.

Eventually, we discover that Beth isn’t the only one of the local dead walking the earth. We get glimpses through the film of people who look pretty zombie-ish, but eventually long-lost relatives start returning home and everyone takes notice. It’s time to put an end to the madness…and thus begins a somewhat comedic apocalypse scenario: the living killing the living dead to reclaim the earth.

This movie is a VERY dark and subtle comedy. This isn’t your slapstick zombie comedy. I think that the supporting cast is what really sells this movie for me. John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon play perfectly concerned parents with a heavy dose of denial. There’s a scene toward the end when Beth is in full-zombie mode, that Shannon is actually feeding Beth her own fingers because she’s concerned about her being hungry.  XD

Zach’s family is pretty hilarious as well.  Cheryl Hines and Paul Reiser team up to play the unbelieving parents. Then we have Matthew Gray Gubler playing the older brother who has an unhealthy obsession with firearms. Gubler’s part was one of my favorites, even though he played the douche-tastic military wanna-be.  He did it well.

My Rating: Meh.

While I love dark comedies, this one had a hard time holding my interest. The star-studded cast adds some flavor, but ultimately doesn’t pay off as well as I would have hoped. I was sort of on the line about this movie. Part of me wants to say that I like it, but it didn’t quite tip my meter one way or the other.

How Can I Watch It?: Available on Amazon, iTunes, and Vudu.  I rented this from the local Family Video.

Deliver Us From Evil (2014)

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Director: Scott Derrickson
Writers: Scott Derrickson, Paul Harris Boardman
Production Companies: Jerry Bruckheimer Films, LStar Capital, Screen Gems
Stars: Eric Bana, Edgar Ramirez, Joel McHale, Olivia Munn, Sean Harris
Genre: Horror/Detective Movie

What It’s About: Supposedly inspired from the journals of NY Police Sergeant, Ralph Sarchie. Soldiers in Iraq bring home some sort of evil to the states, and Sergeant Sarchie and his counterparts team up to fight it.

How I Watched It: Alone in my apartment. Gloomy afternoon.

Thoughts: **Definitely spoilers**
We start out with a flashback to Iraq in 2010.  U.S. Soldiers end up down in some sort of cave–we switch to one of their helmet cams (found footage style) and there’s a bunch of screaming and things go black.  Well, alrighty.

Then, we flash forward to 2013 in the Bronx. Sergeant Ralph Sarchie (Bana) is crying over a dead dumpster baby in an alley. I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of this scene was, other than to give the character “depth”.  Then he gets all angry and walks away….and I’m not entirely sure why, but a weird shaky filming technique was used at that point…with some intense music.  Almost like as he’s stomping away, he’s making mini earthquakes or something.  I see that it was to show the anger….buuuuutttt that wasn’t used ANYWHERE else in the film. Seemed sort of misplaced to me.

Then Sarchie and his partner Butler (McHale) are out on patrol.  Seeing Joel McHale threw me off for a bit.  I’m so used to him being just an over-the-top goofball, I wasn’t sure how well he’d fit into the setting of this movie.  No worries, though.  He turns out to be the smartass “funnyman” sidekick to the Sergeant. He gets to kick a little bit of ass, though.

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Anyway. They answer a domestic disturbance call because Sarchie just gets a sense that they should….Butler calls this his “radar”.  Meh.  It’s just a cop thing.  Right? They get there, and the husband is one of the Marines that we saw in the opening. He fights back, slicing open Sarchie’s arm, then he makes a break for it and runs out into the neighborhood. They catch him and take him in.

Later on, they get a call about a woman at a zoo who threw her 2-year-old son into the moat of the lion’s den. The boy survived, but the woman went crazy and ran off somewhere on the zoo grounds…and apparently when this happened all of the electricity in the zoo went out. The duo search the grounds using night vision and heat sensing equipment. Sarchie finds her and she’s bein’ all crazy and clawing at the ground.  She keeps mumbling lyrics from a song by The Doors. Sarchie spots a hooded figure (Harris) who appears to be painting. When he approaches to ask him questions, he runs. Sarchie has to enter the Lion’s sanctuary to chase him…and guess what?  Lions are free.  He barley makes it to the gate to escape death as lion chow. No geese on the weird painter.

They take the woman in, and eventually a priest (Ramirez) who has apparently being helping this woman, comes in and takes her to a mental institution.

Then they’re answering more calls that all seem to be connected with each other in a weird way.  Painters and possessed houses, corpses full of bugs.  Eventually they deduce that the hooded man was also one of the Marines from the opening scene.  When they watch the footage from the zoo, he approaches the woman, Jane, and she seems to become possessed just before she throws her son into the water.

There are also weird markings on the wall and…ya know what?  I’m getting sick of explaining this.  There are wayyyyy to many details to this story.  Basically, the Marines brought back evil with them. They were possessed by strange markings in that cave in Iraq. The same markings continue to show up throughout the movie, because it’s apparently a doorway for demons.

Sarchie’s “radar” is apparently some special ability that allows him to hear things others can’t. This basically means that he hears a lot of static, and children giggling, and….music by The Doors.  Weird. I mean, I won’t complain about having a kickass soundtrack full of their music, but still. Apparently that music is used….because they’re called The Doors..and it’s…a doorway for evil….

Yeah. Okay.

Blah blah blah. They catch the hooded Marine and perform an exorcism on him because he’s possessed by some demon named….Junglar?  Doesn’t sound very demonic…but I didn’t write it.  But yeah.  Everyone’s safe (except for Butler….he dies….spoilers).  And we’re told that several months later, Sarchie retires and continues to fight evil with the priest.

There are some decent effects in this movie, but there are also some cheesy ones that kind of take me out of it. Most of the effects were CGI, but some of the makeup effects were alright.  Pretty creepy.

Eric Bana did a pretty solid job. I got really tired of his back-story, though.  If you’ll notice, I barely mentioned it in my synopsis…because I don’t care.  XD

My Rating: Meh.

I didn’t hate it, but I found myself getting pretty bored. The story gets really involved and intertwines too much, to the point of almost being confusing. If nothing else, I enjoyed the chemistry between Bana and McHale–I’m always a fan of buddy cop dramas.

Where Can I Watch It?: Available on Amazon and iTunes.  I rented it from the local Family Video.

The Purge: Anarchy (2014)

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Director: James DeMonaco
Writer: James DeMonaco
Production Companies: Blumhouse Productions, Platinum Dunes, Universal Pictures, Why Not Productions
Stars:  Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zoe Soul, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, Jack Conley, Michael Keneth Williams
Genre: Horror

What It’s About: Sequel to The Purge (2013). This time we view the annual Purge from within the city limits as opposed to a single household. 3 stories become intertwined as a group of people struggle to survive the night.

How I watched It: Alone in my apartment. Evening.

Thoughts: **Spoilers Be Damned**
When the first movie came out last year, I was so excited about the concept. One night a year when you could get away with anything…even murder. I mean…come on. That’s a pretty terrifying thought. The first movie was setup as more of a home invasion, where an upper class family settled in for the night in their barricaded home, only to be terrorized by a group of people from the outside.  I left that film fairly pleased. I enjoyed it…but the more I thought about it, I decided what I really enjoyed was the idea of it.

Now THIS movie was more what I was wanting to see. I’m a middle class citizen. I know that there is no way I would be able to afford all the fancy-schmancy barricades. This film takes on the journey of three separate groups of middle/lower class people that become intertwined as they try to survive in the city.

The 3 stories:
1) Eva and Cali: Eva (Ejoga) and daughter Cali (Soul) are gonna wait out the night in their humble apartment. With them, they also have their sickly father/grandfather. After The Purge commences, they realize that he has gone off to become a “martyr” for a rich family. Basically…he’s sacrificed himself to let some rich dicks murder him in the safety of their home, with the guarantee that his family will get a hefty payday. As they realize this, a man from their building breaks in and plans to take out his frustrations on them. Before he can, men in heavily armored get-ups bust in and kill him. They drag Eva and Cali out into the street to the back of a large semi, where a man (Conley) with a large Gatling Gun is waiting. They call him Big Daddy. It doesn’t look good for these two….until….[ENTER SERGEANT]

2) Sergeant: Sergeant (Grillo) AKA Mr. BAMF is out for vengeance. When we first see him, he’s getting geared up to go out into The Purge. He’s got fairly heavy artillery and he’s taken it upon himself to put armor all over his car. We don’t really learn much about his story, but we can tell that he’s got a singular target, and that he’s determined.  When he rolls into town, he sees Eva and Cali being manhandled by the men outside. Reluctantly, he decides to help them.  He just rolls up and shoots all of them down. Bad. Ass. And instead of leaving them to fend for themselves, he takes them along with him. At least we know he’s a good guy, right? They head back to his car….and in the back seat are….

3) Shane and Liz: Shane (Gilford) and Liz (Sanchez) are a separated married couple. They were on their way home before The Purge started. They stopped at a convenience store, and while they were there, a group of kids in creepy masks cut some lines in their car. So….they make it a few miles down the road before their car stalls and they’re stranded…just minutes before the night commences. The creeps with masks and dirt bikes are hot on their trail. They make a run for it into the city. They come across Sergeant’s car while he’s helping Eva and Cali, and decide to crawl in the back. Before Sergeant has time to argue, Big Daddy gets up and starts shooting. They take off–all 5 in tow. Too bad that the gun was loaded with armor-piercing bullets…because now Sarge’s car is toast.

The five of them run around the city for a while, dodging attacks along the way. The destination is Eva’s friend’s place. Sergeant wants her car so he can continue on. Along the way, they run into more of the semi trucks with armed forces. Those trucks have a lot of high-tech equipment that appears to be linked to the city’s street cameras. It’s pretty easy to see where that one’s going…dun dun DUUUUNNNN: The Government. They make it to the friend’s house…and bitches go crazy and start shooting up their own family….so the 5 decide to get the fuck outta dodge.

When they escape there, they’re captured by the creepers that were chasing Shane and Liz at the beginning. However, instead of killing them, they take them and sell them to a group of rich people. These fuckers are making a night of it. They’re basically having an auction and a show. At 200K a head, the bidders can partake in a hunting session….with a bunch of humans as the prey. Anyone who didn’t bid, gets to enjoy the festivities behind bulletproof glass. Fucked. Up. Instead of what you might expect, they fight back and take charge. The rich send in reinforcements, and Shane gets shot dead. Just when you think it’s over…in rolls the anarchist group.

This movie is chalk-full of social commentary.  It has a very 99% vs. the 1% vibe. Early in the movie, we see some videos put up by an anarchist group which is led by Carmelo Johns (Williams). This group is against The Purge and the NFAA (the group in charge). They see the annual event as a ploy by the rich to reduce the population below the poverty line. We see other hints of them throughout the movie, but this is the point where they come out, guns blaring. They bust down the doors and take out all of the rich fuckers…but of course not until after Mr. Carmelo gives a speech.

Honestly, anytime I see Michael K. Williams, I just wanna call him Omar.

Ya know...from The Wire?

Ya know…from The Wire?

Anyway, Liz is pissed that they killed Shane, so she stays behind to purge with them. The other 3 leave, steal a car, and Sergeant heads to his final destination.

It’s finally revealed to us that he wants to kill the man who killed his son the year before in a drunk driving accident. He breaks in, and it looks like he’s done the deed. He goes to leave the house….and BAM. Someone shoots at him. Guess who? Big Daddy. He was pretty pissed that he shot him earlier. He reveals to us that he works for the government. Apparently the good people of America weren’t getting out there and killing each other enough, so the government decided to even the playing field a bit. He reveals all of the secrets, and it looks like Sarge is done for….and BAM! MORE SHOOTING. The man who Sergeant went there to kill is alive takes mercy on him and shoots Big Daddy right in the noggin. Seeeee?  Sarge is a good guy! He didn’t do it!

Then the sirens sound. The Purge is over. The man, Cali and Eva rush Sergeant to the hospital. FIN.

Honestly, my only complaint was that the lens flares from the flashlights when they’re down in the subway seemed fake. Meh.

My Rating: Huzzah!!

I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. Well placed twists and turns, high adrenaline, great action–a truly intense ride. Terrifying.

Where Can I Watch It?: Available on Amazon and iTunes. I rented it from the local Family Video.

 

Annabelle (2014)

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Director: John R. Leonetti
Writer: Gary Dauberman
Production Companies: New Line Cinema, Evergreen Media Group, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, Safran Company
Stars: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Tony Amendola, Alfre Woodard
Genre: Horror

What It’s About: After their home is invaded by satanic cult members, a new family begins to experience strange phenomena that seem to surround an antique doll in their possession. This movie precedes the events in The Conjuring.

How I Watched It: In the theater. Evening. With friends.

Thoughts: **Some Spoilers**
We kick things off with the same group of kids that appeared in the Annabelle segment of The Conjuring.  They’re telling the story of how they came to own the doll and some of the crazy things that have been happening since.

Then we delve into the history of the creeptastic doll. We have this happy little couple, Mia (Wallis) and John (Horton), with the missus knocked up. The couple has recently relocated to a new house, thanks to John’s new position at a local hospital. Mia is a doll collector, and had been searching for a doll like Annabelle for a long time.  John finds one, and gifts it to her one night.

That same night, crazed cult members (1 man, 1 woman) murder their next-door neighbors and come a-knockin’ at their house. An intense fight happens, ending with the two cult members dead. The woman is found in the nursery where the doll collection is on display–she’s holding Annabelle after committing suicide.

Welllllll, guess what?  The doll starts making weird shit happen to them. Sewing machines running by themselves, doors opening and closing, spontaneous fires….and unlike most ignorant families in the horror genre, the Gordon’s decide to throw out the creepy doll and GTFO. Hooray!  Huzzah! Good for them! Too bad the shit just followed them.

Let me just start by saying: I. Hate. Dolls.  Ever since growing up being scared senseless by movies like the Puppetmaster series and the Child’s Play series, I just…..NOPE.  I don’t know what it is about this particular horror subgenre that gets under my skin.  Maybe it’s the nostalgia–the thought of those beloved children’s toys coming to get you. Or maybe it’s because of that one TERRIFYING old doll that my Grandma has sitting in her spare room–the one with one wonky eye. Could be both.

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I’m cool…I’m cool…..BAH. GET OUT OF IT.

Now, one thing I will say for Annabelle, is that I think they tried TOO hard to make the doll creepy. The dolls appearance slowly degrades and becomes more dirty/scraped up as time passes. I know that’s sort of the norm, but I think it takes away something for me. Something about that pristine little doll staring into space all empty-eyed is much more terrifying that some banged up old P.O.S.

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Someone get me some sunglasses.

I dunno.  Dolls are just…intrinsically creepy. Some hit a little closer to home than others, though. That’s for sure.  As far as Annabelle is concerned…yeah.  The doll’s pretty unsettling, but I found myself being scared more by the things surrounding the doll.  You don’t really get a lot of doll-on-human evil action….well…because the doll’s not actually physically possessed. **COUGH**SPOILER**

I think the main character, Mia, does a fantastic job in this movie. Strange coincidence that her real name is Annabelle…..

Insert “Twilight Zone” music.

I really loved the character of Evelyn (Woodard). She quickly became that character that you just weren’t too sure about. She seemed so nice at first…but she gave off this air of uncertainty. That fine line was ridden very well. I love the role that she comes to play toward the end of the film.

My Rating: Huzzah!

I definitely enjoyed myself when I watched this. This one wasn’t directed by James Wan, but it definitely had the same feel. If you love/hate creepy doll movies, you should enjoy this one.

Where Can I Watch It?: This one’s still on the theater circuit!  Catch it while you can, or wait a few months until it comes to video. This one would be perfect to go see tonight on Halloween night!  🙂

 

 

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

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Director: Marc Webb
Writers: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner
Production Companies: Marvel Enterprises, Avi Arad Productions, Columbia Pictures, Matt Tolmach Productions
Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan
Genre: Action/ Adventure/ Super-Hero

How I Watched It: Alone in my apartment. Evening.

What It’s About: Spider-Man continues to battle super-villains and save the city.

Thoughts: Yeah….there are gonna be spoilers.

Well, at the beginning, we get more of a glimpse into what happened to Peter’s parents after they leave him at his Aunt and Uncle’s house.  It’s still fairly cryptic, but it’s revealed that they were definitely running from someone and attempting to hide something. Then we come back to present day and of course Spider-Man’s (Garfield) on the job. Some henchmen are trying to rob an OSCORP armored truck of some radioactive material. Wait…is that…Paul Giamatti?  With…a barbwire tattoo on his forehead? Alright. I can dig it. Oh!…and he’s Russian?!  Nice!  Peter ends up saving the day (duh) and manages to make it to his high school graduation just in the nick of time.

We run into Gwen Stacy (Stone) again. She’s so damn adorable. I wish I could hate her, but I can’t. Anyway, we get more of Peter and Gwen’s amazing on-screen chemistry (go figure since they’re a real-life couple).  Here’s a new thing: now Peter sees Gwen’s dead father (Denis Leary) all the time!  Creepy.  He’s not a zombie or anything….more of a…guilt ghost.  If you remember from the last film, he promised her father that he would stay away from her so that she would be safe.  He obviously broke that promise.
So, broken promise = Guilt Ghost Dad.

Ghost Dad

Guilt-Free Ghost Dad

Then of course, we have to have a villain. While Spidey is out stopping Paul Giamatti from stealing plutonium, he happens to save this dorky analyst-lookin’ fella who’s running around with blueprints.  This guy’s name is Max Dillon (Fox), and guess what you guys? Can you guess who the villain’s gonna be?  THIS GUY.  It’s not hard to figure out, but still fun nonetheless.  This fella works for OSCORP in the electrical engineering department. After Ryan from The Office….er…B.J. Novak is a complete dick to him, he goes and tries to fix some…electrical things all by his lonesome.  Well…we can see where this is going. He ends up getting electrocuted.  But to be fair, he then gets dropped into a vat of electric eels. I can safely say that I didn’t anticipate that.  He is then transformed into Electro. He’s pretty cool, if I do say so myself.

You know what’s better than the actual villain, though? HIS MUSIC. Oh. My. Glob.  Let me just gush about this soundtrack for a second. The music in this film is done by Hans Zimmer…BRILLIANT GENIUS AWESOME PERSON.  However…this time around, he had assistance from a group that came to call themselves The Magnificent Six (which is a Transformers reference. I didn’t know that off-hand, because I’m not that cool….but ya know…trivia). This group consists of Pharrell Williams, Johnny Marr (of The Smiths, Modest Mouse), Michael Einziger (of Incubus), Junkie XL, Andrew Kawczynski, and Steve Mazzaroritten. Ummmmm….YES. These guys make a sandwich of Hans Zimmer’s amazing orchestrations and badass electro music.  It. Is. Perfect.  The music throughout the rest of the film is amazing too, but man…those scenes with Electro just really stand out. So good. Okay. Done gushing.

There’s also a running story line with Harry Osborn (DeHaan). Harry is Peter’s best friend, even though they’re somewhat estranged. Peter comes to his aid when Harry’s father, Norman, passes away. Harry has discovered that he has the same genetic disorder as his father, and that he is slowly dying.  So, OF COURSE HE BECOMES A VILLAIN. We know that Norman was previously known as the Green Goblin….so guess what? Harry’s taking over the reigns, baby! The Green Goblin isn’t introduced into the story until much later in the movie, so I believe that he’ll play some sort of a role in the third installment of the series.  This Green Goblin, though.  I really like the look of him. He looks green with illness, but it works. I really look forward to seeing more of Dane DeHaan as this villain–kid’s got talent.

ULTIMATE SPOILER ALERT: Peter defeats Electro with the help of Gwen…and just when you think it’s over…Green Goblin flies right into the fight. He is bound and determined to hurt Peter in whatever way he can, so of course he swoops of Gwen and drops her from the sky. Peter snags her with his web, but in his continuing battle with Green Goblin, his web gets cut and she falls. Then we get this super slow-motion moment when Peter trying to reach through all of these falling gears with his web to reach her and save her from falling to her death.  AND HE GETS HER…or….wait.  Gwen? …… Gwennnnn?  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Apparently he stops her just shy of her splatting into a goopy mess…but she still hit her head or something.  It’s not terribly clear…but we know that she’s dead. 😥

I really loved Stone in that character, and I’m so sad to see her go….but…I appreciate that fact that they let a main character go. I’m a realist, I suppose. I always thought it was sort of silly that one man could save EVERY PERSON. There has to be collateral damage, but we just aren’t seing it. They show it to us in full-force. Annnnnd it’s depressing. Andrew Garfield breaks my heart when he’s sad. At least he didn’t go into full-out Emo-Spidey Mode.

No offense, Sam Raimi. I'll always love you.

No offense, Sam Raimi. I’ll always love you.

Then at the end of the film, we see Harry Osborn in Ravencroft Mental Institution, talking to someone named Mr. Fierce? I haven’t read the comics, so I’m not “in the know” on that one. DON’T TELL ME. Anyway, this mysterious guy is “getting a team” together for Harry. The first of which, is…Paul Giamatti!  Hey!  That came full circle!  He’s Rhino…so…he’s basically a mecha-Rhino with machine guns. Alright. He draws Spider-Man back out after he’d been on a bit of a hiatus since Gwen’s death. There’s this really adorable moment where a kid in a Spider-Man costume walks out there like Tank Man.

Tank Man

Tank Man

Annnnd we end in the midst of that fight.

My Rating: Huzzah!

I thought this movie was a blast. It may have a running time of almost two and a half hours, but it just flew by. Time flies when you’re having fun, right?  Not sure why this was received with such poor reviews. Y’all can suck it.

Where Can I Watch It?: You can catch this one on Amazon Instant or go pick up a copy at your favorite rental place.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-poster-21

Director: James Gunn
Writers: James Gunn, Nicole Perlman, Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning
Production Companies: Marvel Studios, Moving Picture Company
Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper
Genre: Action/ Adventure/ Science Fiction

What It’s About: Light years from Earth, 26 years after being abducted, Peter Quill finds himself the prime target of a manhunt after discovering an orb wanted by Ronan the Accuser. (from IMDB)

How I Watched It: In a mostly empty theater. Afternoon.

Thoughts: Okay, I figure everyone and their Mom has seen this movie, but I’ll try to spare the spoilers anyway.  So, you’ve got a really depressing scene right off the bat. We see young Peter Quill visiting his mother in a hospital while she’s on her deathbed. BUMMER. We do get a small cameo appearance by Gregg Henry as Grandpa. I was expecting some sort of cameo from the cast of Slither, knowing that was also directed by James Gunn. We actually get Michael Rooker in a decent-sized supporting role as well.  Too bad he wasn’t reprising his role as Grant Grant.  XD

But I digress.  So, his Mom dies pretty much within the first five minutes of the movie, and he’s sad, and decides to run away from his troubles, so he runs outside…and is immediately abducted by some sort of UFO.  Then flash forward about 20-odd years into the future, and we see the slightly matured (emphasis on slightly) Peter Quill AKA Star-Lord (Pratt) going to explore some sort of cavern. But before he can do that, he has to start up his walkman and listen to his Awesome Mix No. 1. I’ll touch on that more later. The main thing here, is that we see just who Peter Quill is–quirky, silly, and frickin’ adorable. We also quickly discover that he’s some sort of scavenger/thief.

He steals this mysterious orb and almost immediately gets caught by this guy named Korath (Djimon Hounsou) and his henchmen, but he manages to escape. Korath then goes and reports to Ronan (Lee Pace) and we discover the importance of the orb. Ronan wants to send his daughter Nebula (Karen Gillan) to retrieve the orb, but his other daughter Gamora (Saldana) volunteers instead.  (“I volunteer as tribute!” Heh.)

Quill tries to go sell the orb to a goods dealer, but at the mention of Ronan’s involvement, he turns him away.  Leaving the shop, Quill is not only pursued by Gamora, but by bounty hunters Rocket Raccoon (Cooper) and Groot (Diesel)–turns out Star-Lord’s got a bounty on his head. They raise a whole bunch of commotion and end up getting arrested by local law enforcement, getting themselves thrown into jail together. In jail, they meet Drax (Bautista), and long story short: they team up to become a quirky band of misfits.  Their mission?  Save the galaxy.

This is a really fun ride, however, I must say that this movie was supremely over-hyped for me.  That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the movie–I did.  Just…do me a favor, friends…let people go into movies with minimal expectations.  Mkay?  Good.

That being said: great story, great acting, GREAT SOUNDTRACK.  The soundtrack is honestly my favorite thing about this entire film. Sweet swingin’ tunes from the ’70s. We got a taste of the soundtrack in all of the promos released that used “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede, but little did we know how FRICKIN’ AWESOME the soundtrack in its entirety would be.  For a list of tracks/samples you can check out the digital album here on Amazon.

Chris Pratt is a fantastic leading man.  While I may slightly prefer him as the chubby numb-skull Andy Dwyer on Parks and Recreation, you can’t help but enjoy watching the guy–he’s always entertaining as hell. He’s the perfect leader for this motley crew of misfits. It doesn’t hurt that he’s incredibly attractive either.  😉

Zoe Saldana always plays such strong feminine roles and kicks so much ass–I really appreciate that about her.  Gamora was great, in that she balanced out the silliness of Quill.  I apparently missed a key moment between her and Quill when I ran to the bathroom at the theater.  All I know is that it involved Kenny Loggins’ “Footloose”, so I look forward to finding out what I missed when it comes to video.

Lots of great little cameo roles for some great actors too.  We see the likes of John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio Del Toro, and Peter Serafinowicz.

My Rating: Huzzah!

If you haven’t already seen this, you should definitely go out and see it if you still can, or at least catch it when it comes to video.  A fun ride for all ages…as long as you’re okay with your kids watching a PG-13 movie.

Where Can I Watch It?: If you’re lucky, you might be able to catch this one in a theater, but if not, you’ll have to wait until this one hits home video formats.