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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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

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 🙂

The Boy (2016) | Movie Review

boy3

Spoilersss

Greta goes to the UK to escape her abusive boyfriend and get her life straight. She takes a job as a nanny for an old couple, and the son (Brahms) she has to look after turns out to be a doll. Despite the weirdness of this, she still takes the job due to her need for money and sympathy for the couple. Then the creepy stuff starts happening.

The boy had a lot of potential. I mean, the doll does look pretty unsettling and there’s some nice build up in the beginning. But that’s where the positives end – about mid-way through it starts to get really stupid.

Like I said, the start of the film has a nice, slow creepy build up. Greta is afraid of the doll, not just due to its appearance but because weird things/sounds keep happening. The film builds itself up as a ghost/paranormal film throughout most of the movie. And it should have stuck to doing that. (more on this soon!)

Brahms have a list of rules he’s dead set on having Greta follow. At first, she refuses because she’s scared. But then Brahms makes her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (her fav) and she feels he might not be so bad after all. This is where the movie starts to go downhill.

Seeing Greta following the rules and trying to appease Brahms was a bit stupid. Things get worse when her abusive ex-boyfriend shows up (he just walks in uninvited, couldn’t she have just called the police?)

Soon we get to the big twist of the movie: Brahms isn’t a ghost boy, he’s a grown man that lives in the walls. The scene where he first comes bursting through was really cool, I must admit. But the twist itself irritated me. I guess I just wanted a ghost/creepy doll story. Brahms turning out to be a rapist/weird guy just wasn’t what I wanted for this movie.

Still, I’d say the movie’s watchable enough.

2.5/5

The Visit (2015) | Movie Review

tue visit

The Visit follows two teenage siblings, Becca and Tyler as they pay a visit to their grandparents’ house. Soon, they begin to notice strange behavior from their grandparents that only gets worse.

From what I’ve seen reactions to this film have been mixed overall. Some view it as a comeback for M. Night Shyamalan, after his line of bad movies while others view the film as ridiculous.

Well, I’m on the side of liking the film. First of all, this is actually the first M.Night film I’ve actually liked (and no, I’m not the biggest fan of The Sixth Sense). Does The Visit have flaws? Yes, it does but still I found myself liking it.

This is a slow-burning film that builds off one creepy event after another. I found it engaging although the two teen leads were rather annoying and one-dimensional. They are given qualities (germaphobe, inspiring rapper, emotionally distant, etc), but these all seemed forced and didn’t build any real character. Nana and Pop Pop, on the other hand are engaging in how over-the-top and weird they are. Tyler and Becca’s mom is also a character (they talk to her through skype), I guess she’s supposed to be important but I found her boring.

The movie is found-footage…a film sub-genre that I loathe with few exceptions. Becca and Tyler are filming a documentary while they visit. And here lies one of the movie’s flaws – it didn’t need to be found-footage at all. In a lot of ways, it limits the film as a whole.

Again, Nana and Pop Pop’s bizarre behavior is probably what makes the movie the most interesting. After 9:30 pm Nana has freak outs where she runs around naked and behaves like a deranged animal. Because of this, the kids are encouraged not to leave their room after that specific time. But Pop Pop also has a crazy quirk as well – he can’t control his bowel movements and defecates himself without warning. This means he has to wear diapers. He also keeps the dirty diapers in a shed outside that Tyler is very shocked to discover one day.

As things continue to get creepy, Tyler and Becca try to find out what’s up with Nana and Pop Pop.

Eventually we get to the twist…

that really wasn’t all that surprising but still cool. Nana and Pop Pop turn out not to actually be Tyler and Becca’s real grandparents. In fact, they killed their actual grandparents and stuffed their bodies in the basement.

However, the twist being revealed isn’t the the most intense part of the movie. There’s a very stomach turning scene where “Pop Pop” takes his soiled diaper (yes, with poo) and shoves it into Tyler’s face. Now there’s some brown shown but it’s not explicit but still shocking and gross. And although some people might think it was unnecessary, I thought the scene was well-done. Gross doesn’t always have mean something is “tasteless.”

The middle to the “near end” are the best parts of The Visit. The ending itself was disappointing.

It’s a film worth watching but will only appeal to certain people, I suppose. For me, it’s an achievement for M. Night.

4/5