Before I Fall (2017) | Movie Review

before i fall

 

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver is one of my favorite books. The plot follows Samantha a girl in a group of mean girls who experiences an accident. She soon finds herself repeating the same day over and over again, this is because there’s something she has to fix.

I was excited to learn that the film was being made into a movie. I always thought it would make a very good film. And….it did! The movie was a very good adaptation. It stays pretty loyal to the source material (there are still changes, of course.)

However, I’ll avoid doing too many book comparisons and look at the movie as a separate entity. The main girls in the film – Samantha, Lindsey, Elodie and Ally are your typical popular teenage girls. Their focus is on social lives, boys, parties, etc. However, they have a mean streak (Lindsey, in particular) and much of that is directed at an outcast girl named Juliet, a former friend of Lindsey’s. Samantha isn’t really  mean just a passive witness of meanness at first.

I saw a reviewer say that the girls were too unlikeable and unrealistically nasty. And I didn’t see it, I’ve seen girl- on-girl bullying that was much worse in high school. So, I think that reviewer is really naïve and may have missed the point. The girls are realistic, for the most part, and their level of cruelty isn’t uncommon to see in real life – far from it.

The girls eventually go to a party which leads to an intense scene when Juliet shows up uninvited. After the party, there’s an accident. There’s a bright light and soon Samantha wakes up in her bed. But she’s experiencing the same day all over again. And she will keep repeating the day until she finds out what she has to fix. This unravels a whole mystery and Samantha’s emotions go on a whirlwind.

Watching Samantha go through this strange phenomenon is interesting. I didn’t feel the film got boring when it kept making her go through the same thing. Her going through all the stages of grief was well-presented.

My only issue with the film is that they could have done more with Juliet. She’s the key to Samantha’s situation and I felt they could have done more with her background. In the book, much more is learned about her. In the movie, however, they made it seem like her falling out with Lindsey was what drove her over the edge when there’s much more to her story.

When Samantha finally learns what she has to fix and does so near the end, I felt the movie kind of amped up the cheesiness as well. That could have been toned down.

But other than that Before I Fall is a great film and good adaptations to one of my favorite books.

4/5

 

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Suicide Squad (2016) | Movie Review

suicide-squad

I’ve been wanting to do this review for a while (I saw it when it first came out in theaters!) but I’ve put it off. But now I’ve seen it again (on Amazon video) and I’m ready to give my review.

The premise of Suicide Squad is Amanda Waller assembling a team of criminals and villains in case a massive threat that normal authorities couldn’t handle arrives. Well a threat does arrive and the team sets out for their job. They’re controlled via a device in their necks that can blow them up with the push of a button.

I enjoyed the movie but I recognize the flaws.

First of all, most of the members of the suicide squad/task force X aren’t much better than a team of well-trained soldiers would be. While I love Harley Quinn in this movie she’s just hitting things with bats and shooting with a pistol – not something a regular soldier couldn’t do. Captain Boomerang, while entertaining, isn’t much of an asset either.  Out of all of them, El Diablo with his fire powers and maybe Killer Croc are the only ones I see being above regular soldiers.

So, basically Waller’s plan is pretty dumb and that means the entire premise requires a full suspension of disbelief.

Despite this, I think the movie is really fun but I can understand why others would find it nonsensical.

Next there’s Jared Leto’s Joker – it seems this joker is getting mixed reception. Well, I thought it was “meh” the performance wasn’t terrible but it didn’t really feel like The Joker to me. Sometimes it felt like Leto was trying way too hard.

If I had to pick something I really hated about the movie I would say Slipknot – why was he even in the movie? Why is he even on some of the posters? He shows up randomly and then is gone before the action starts. He was basically a prop to show that the things in their neck actually work, I guess? Either way he didn’t need to be there – and he’s the most embarrassing part of this movie.

Either way, I liked the movie overall. Harley Quinn is probably the best thing about it. I have always loved the character and went in worried they would mess up her character but I was proven wrong – Margot Robbie did great. I also wish they would have done more with Katana’s character – I feel she had a lot more potential that wasn’t tapped into.

Pushing aside flaws, Suicide Squad is an enjoyable film but don’t take it too seriously.

4/5

Doctor Strange (2016) | Movie Review

doctorstrange

I’ll start out by saying that I went in expecting not to like Doctor Strange… I’m no fan of Marvel films and the trailers didn’t win me over.

Well, I was glad to be proven wrong (for the most part.) The movie turned out to be pretty good.

It was a unique film with plenty of action. I liked the character development of Dr. Strange – he starts out as this arrogant guy and eventually must learn to overcome his ego. A classic character type but it was done particularly well here. I’m no fan of Benedict Cumberbatch but he did well here.

Also the costume and cape are just plain cool.

The other characters are all right but they didn’t really stand out that much… except for Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One, she killed it.

I thought the action sequences and effects were fun to watch. However, at times the screen looked like a kaleidoscope – just patterns shifting and turning. I didn’t mind it overall but at times it was a bit much.

So, in the end, the film was good but I did have some issues.

My first issue is that all the humor seemed force… one or two of the jokes were funny but most of the time it was just awkward. I fine with jokes but only when they’re executed well.

And my other issue was the final showdown with the villain was just plain dumb and a cop out. That’s all I’ll say without spoiling things.

Anyways, everything else was good for the most part.

3.5/5

Rob Zombie’s 31 | Movie Review

31

31 follows a group of carnies who are forced to play a deadly game. They must survive for 12 hours as they’re pursued by the various clown-like “heads” that are trying to kill them in a hellish makeshift maze.

The desire I had to see this film was overwhelming. I like most of Rob Zombie’s movies (really, the only one I don’t like is Lords of Salem) Well I finally got to see it….and did it live up to my expectations?

Pretty much yes, although I didn’t think reached its full potential in some aspects, I wasn’t disappointed and I enjoyed the movie.

I think viewers that previously enjoyed House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects will like this movie – it has elements of both. However, for those that hate RZ films 31 certainly isn’t going to change their mind. You’ll find his typical tropes everywhere, and for those that like them this movie is for you.

I liked the idea and overall setting for the movie, I thought most of the characters were pretty cool. Sheri Moon Zombie’s look was great – I like the poofy hair.

Antagonist-wise, Doomhead was particularly awesome and I felt that he was the best part. It was exciting to everything unfold and see who the protagonists had to face next.

However, I did have my issues – most of the “heads” weren’t giving the protagonists much of a challenge. It seemed to me like they were taken out way too quickly. I don’t know, might have been editing issues. This was probably my only glaring problem with the movie.

Overall, I really liked 31. And the ending was so epic.

4/5

The Neon Demon (2016) | Movie Review

neon-demon

The Neon Demon follows a young girl named Jesse as she tries to become a model. Despite not being in the modeling business long she quickly begins to show promise, much to the dismay of the models that have been in the business longer. As their jealousy grows it’s clear they might just end up doing something drastic.

My thoughts on The Neon Demon are a bit strange. I mean, I think I liked it but I’m having trouble forming an opinion. Well, I’ll do my best.

The movie is pretty slow, not just story wise but it seems like the conversations and many of the scenes just move at a snail’s pace.

If you heard about this movie and are expecting a gorefest I don’t think you’d like it… everything builds up to one weird, climatic moment. However, there Is a consistently creepy atmosphere throughout the film, and some scenes are downright amazing.

I also thought Elle Fanning’s performance was really good – it seemed like she was really into the character of Jesse. She’s this eerie tragic beauty, and I could see why certain characters in the movie became obsessed with her.

In the end, I think The Neon Demon is pretty good but the problem is that I feel like its missing something. It should have done more but I can’t really explain what. Still, it’s a solid movie.

3.5/5

My Top 15 Favorite Horror Movies

faceguy

I have pretty big passion for horror movies, and since Halloween is coming up I decided to make a little list. Some of these are common choices while others are not. I have plenty of other horror movies I like but these are undeniably the ones near the top. The list is in no particular order though. Enjoy.

House of 1000 Corpses (2003)house-of-1000-corpses-dvd-41921f

 

A lot of people seem to dislike this movie (although, it does have a following), but I love it more than words can describe. Sure it’s a mishmash of homages and doesn’t have perfect storytelling or anything. But it’s fun. I love the characters of Otis, Baby and Spaulding. Rob Zombie basically made a fun film that only seems to vibe with certain people and that’s ok. And the funny thing is, I wasn’t a Zombie fan before seeing this movie so there was no bias. In fact, I started listening to his music after seeing this awesome film.

The Devil’s Rejects (2005) devils-rejects

Despite technically being a sequel, The Devil’s Rejects stands on its own. This film is close to a masterpiece. It’s less cartoonish than House of 1000 corpses but with Otis, Capt. Spaulding and Baby it still keeps that fun element. But “Rejects” is also amazingly brutal. In the end, with this film Zombie showed just how great a filmmaker he can be.

Rosemary’s Baby (1968) large_zvjvnrks5eyxrvhppurovjnliml

 

It has two of my favorite subjects in horror (they occasionally go hand-in-hand)—witches and Satan! Rosemary’s Baby is a great slow-burning movie that builds up to one of the best conclusions in movie history.

Halloween (1978) halloween_1978_theatrical_poster

Halloween is a movie that fills me with intrigue. I mean, I just want to analyze the heck out of it. (and I already have a few times) Halloween is just one of the horror movies ever, undeniably so. Michael Myers masked face is forever engrained in my brain. It is a shame most of the sequels were terrible, though.

Martyrs (2008) martyrs_tp01

Martyrs is the kind of movie that chews you up then spits you out, it’s such a beautiful and compelling film. This movie knows pain and suffering, and it’s portrayed on the screen perfectly. Martyrs is almost perfect and simply unforgettable. This movie deserves way more recognition and respect than it gets.

Cannibal Holocaust (1980) cannibal_holocaust_movie

Cannibals are one of my favorite horror subjects…so how could I not like one of the greatest cannibal movies. This is a film that makes you think about humanity and it does it right (certainly better than say, Heart of Darkness.) “I wonder who the real cannibals are?”

Child’s Play (1988) childs-play

Basically, I just love Chucky. I wouldn’t say he’s scary, but he’s funny as hell. I collect dolls and I love the whole killer doll concept. I think it’s cool that Child’s Play took the theme to the next level by making a unique and awesome character like Chucky.

May (2002)  may_movie_poster

May functions as a great horror movie due to the shear weirdness of the title character. Watching her is enthralling. This is probably one of the best “character-driven” horror movies out there.  The ending is pretty controversial – in my opinion, I didn’t hate it but thought it was unnecessary.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) a_nightmare_on_elm_street_1984_theatrical_poster

Freddy is one of the greatest villains ever. He’s basically a manifestation of everything I like in a villain. Fun, charismatic, creative and sadistic. And Nancy sets the standard for what a scream queen should be like.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)texas-chainsaw

Now this movie means a lot to me. It has everything I love in a movie and more. I would plaster Leatherface’s image all over my house if I could. I’d say this is one of the movies that has inspired me the most.

The Human Centipede (2009) human-centipede

Many people give me funny looks for putting this on my list, but oh well. Despite its flaws I think The Human Centipede is pretty good movie. First of all, it does have a horrifically creative idea to work with. Second of all, Dr. Heiter is just plain awesome. The scene where the human centipede first awakens with Heiter standing over them is one of my favorite among other things. In the end, I feel Human Centipede just holds a special place in horror movie history.

Starry Eyes (2014)starry-eyes

This is one of my more recent favorite horror movies. Starry Eyes is a criminally underrated film. This is one of the best films I have seen in a long time. I guess it moves a little slow, but there’s plenty of tension built up to make up for that fact. It really is amazing how far some people will go to be famous…and Starry Eyes showcases that perfectly!

The Collector (2009) collector

A lot of people may think The Collector is typical torture porn, but I’d have to disagree. This movie is good torture porn as well as being one of the few great home invasion horror films (I hate most home invasion movies so this is saying a lot) The Collector knows how to hit the right buttons – the torture/gore scenes are great and I actually felt sorry for the protagonist (a rare thing in horror.)

The Exorcist (1973)the-exorcist-poster

Does The Exorcist really need explaining? I mean it’s one of the greatest horror films for a reason. Demonic possession is another of my favorite subjects in horror – I love seeing possessed people freaking out and going nuts…and this movie will forever be the one who did it best.

Carrie (1976) carrie-1976-movie-poster

Telekinetic powers aside…I think the scariest thing about Carrie is the savage bullying by her peers as well as the abuse by her mother. This shows just how terrible regular people can be. I think portraying that so well is why Carrie is such a great movie.

 

So that’s my list!

Batman v. Superman: a defense or something

bvs

I’ve been wanting to write about this for a long time but it’s taken me a while to get around to it. Oh well, better late than never.  And anyways, I guess it’s given me more time to absorb the film fully since I have watched it several times by now. I know a lot of people hate it, but I like plenty of movies that everyone else hates so that isn’t a problem. Now, I’m just going to ramble on about why I liked Batman v. Superman.

I like the tense atmosphere – Bvs leaks a strong amount tension from the beginning. It’s like you can feel coming right out of the screen.  I feel this was needed in order to get Batman and Superman to fight each other, all of it builds up into one great fight. The movie apparently gets criticized for lack of humor among other things – I don’t think it really needs that much humor. It would have personally ruined the film for me since I’d rather not have Batman and Superman throwing quirky lighthearted insults at each other the whole time. The two main heros need to be good and stressed out before the fight, and that’s what the movie does with all the political issues and such.

There’s plenty of really awesome imagery but this doesn’t need explaining much. Any scene with superman doing superman things was great. The movie does have a tendency to jump around but I don’t think it’s really hard to follow. Maybe it’s just one way that BVS makes the viewer think, and that’s another thing I love.

The actual fight between the two heros was beautiful. Many hate that it didn’t it last long enough but not me. Plenty of films take a while to build up to a major moment or event that only takes up a small portion of the movie. And, like I said before, tensions between Batman and Superman were built up throughout the film.

I also didn’t really believe the whole “Martha” thing that stops the fighting was stupid, as many think. It was really just a trigger to get Batman to view his “enemy” in a different light. So it’s not like they literally just became bros because their moms have the same name.

Overall, with the cool imagery, the tension, the philosophizing here and there. I say BVS is an experience. And for me, it’s a good experience.

But don’t get me wrong I acknowledge that BVS has some flaws. The issues I have with it are as followed: Doomsday looked kind of stupid, Gal Gadot wasn’t that good as wonder woman (the theme music when she shows up to fight doomsday was pretty cool though), Lois was being weirdly incompetent.

Then there’s Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor…he was good and bad part of the movie. Bad because he wasn’t like Lex Luthor is supposed to be. But he’d be decent if he was some villain by another name. I do like the scene when he introduces doomsday, though.

So, I just like the movie but I know it’s not for everyone. It’s the type of film that’s bond to divide people. Now I’m done rambling…and since I always give movies ratings, BVS is a solid 4.5/5 for me 🙂