Thursday, July 31, 2014

Rio 2

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! I believe that the only direction this film received was "more color."




Rio 2 – 2 out of 5

I fully believe that we are in the golden age of animated films. Thanks to the works of Pixar, many independent animation companies and the now maturing DreamWorks, we have films that are crafted to be entertaining for both young and old. However, there are still some animated movies that don’t seem to care to make the experience of watching it pleasant for the adults in the room and still just want to make sugar-rush fast and colorful-to-the-point-your-eyes-bleed films that will settle the kids down in the other room while you go and have yourself a silent cry in the bathroom and regret the day you decided to become sexually active.
Anyone else slightly interested in how the one bird found a pair of goggles
that perfectly fit his eyeballs?


So, the two blue macaws who came to realize that their species will die if they don’t settle for each other are back and ready for another colorful adventure (seriously, this movie is bright as shit…colorful shit). Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) and their children learn that they may not be the last of their species when Blu’s former owners Linda (Leslie Mann) and Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro—Xerxes from 300 and the annoying guy who was thankfully buried alive in Lost) find clues to a blue macaw nesting ground in the rainforest. Jewel is able to convince a reluctant Blu to visit the location and Jewel is shocked to find her father; Eduardo (Andy Garcia), is in this large grove and so is the suave childhood friend of hers, Roberto (Bruno Mars). Now the problems start to pile up as it is discovered that this hidden grove is in danger of being leveled, Blu fears that Jewel may leave him because she no longer has to settle and it is revealed that the antagonist from the previous film; Nigel (Jemaine Clement), is still alive and has teamed with a poisonous frog named Gabi (Kristin Chenoweth) and is out to get revenge on Blu.
Nigel's first plan was to start a birdemic...but he saw how that turned out.


Turn the turd into an egg and you can get away with a
"shitting your pants" joke in an animated movie.
I wasn’t really blown away with the first film but I understood the film wasn’t made with dudes like me in mind. The same result came when I finished up this film. The movie is filled with music, obnoxious comedy that boils down to mostly birds moving around really fast and bumping into things, and a use of color that feels like its sole goal is to burn out your eyeballs. The movie had some decent moments for me but, overall, I wasn’t enthused with it.

Seriously, this movie is trying to murder you with color.


One of the weakest things about this film has to be the voice cast. Even though it puts professional voice actors out of work, big animated films want the star power from household name actors and seeks them to bring life to their cartoon characters but, what many studio executives don’t take into consideration is, not all big actors have what it takes to act using only their voice. Despite what some of the more ignorant might think, voice acting isn’t just standing in front of a microphone and doing your lines and calling it a day. To have the character really resonate, you need to use your voice to emote without the added benefit of body language. It’s a difficult craft and, occasionally, bringing in famous actors to provide voices can prove to be disastrous.


First off (and I said this the first time around), Jesse Eisenberg may not have been the best choice for Blu the bird. While, on paper, he seems the perfect fit because the character is almost the only character Eisenberg plays, the problem comes from the fact that Eisenberg isn’t that strong of an actor when he gets to use his body language so, when you have him rely entirely on his voice, the end result is a character who sounds like they are voiced by a man who is either too tired to do his lines or just plain doesn’t give a fuck. This is almost mirrored in Anne Hathaway’s performance. While she’s a great actress, her voice doesn’t seem to have the range to adequately express emotion and bring an animated character to life.
Eisenberg's performance is so flat, he took the awesome idea of a bird making
pancakes and made it look boring.


I’m not trying to say that the entire cast sucked. Granted, you still have to deal with George Lopez trying to be funny and overdo it in his role but there are some really strong aspects to the cast. Once again, Jemaine Clement steals the show as Nigel but, sadly, isn’t featured enough where this movie could have been average like the first one (but I’ll get to that later). I also really enjoyed Bruno Mars as Roberto. While I may not be a fan of his music (he is an incredibly talented singer/songwriter, though. I just don’t dig the songs, not my cup of tea), I thoroughly enjoyed his performance as Jewel’s childhood friend and potential new heartthrob in her bird life. He was not only amusing but he also made the bird an actual character and didn’t sound like an actor just reading lines in a booth that will later be added to a cartoon character.
Shit, how can you not fall in love with this bird?


No film can escape conflict, not even animated films. Conflict is how stories work. You need the characters to face some obstacle that they need to hurdle. However, I think Rio 2 might have bit too much off of the conflict cake. In the film, you have Blu worried that, now other macaws have been located, Jewel will realize that she can find a mate based on her feelings and not on just perpetuating the species. In addition to this (this could have easily been it for the film), you have Nigel out for revenge and you also have this hidden grove of blue macaws being threatened by greedy Captain Planet villains out to destroy the rainforest. While it is entirely possible to make all three of these looming threats work, the movie just ends up haphazardly and very sloppily throwing them together. When one is being focused on, the other two quickly get forgotten about and, on more than one occasion, a conflict is returned very quickly as if the director just remembered that the plot thread was still dangling out there in the wind.
The buzzcut and bags under his bird eyes means that he's a strict, worrisome
bird who only wants the best for his daughter.



This dynamic is also seen with the side characters from the first film. Rather than make the film entirely about Blu, Jewel and their kids as they meet Jewel’s dad and her old friends, the film tosses in the characters from the last time around; Rafael, Pedro, Nico and Luiz. The problem arises from the fact that the production clearly has no idea what they want to do with them as they show up here and there for a funny moment or two and nothing else. Hell, the dog Luiz is out of the movie for a majority of the time and then just suddenly shows up at the end for no reason whatsoever.


"I have no idea what to do with these two." - The Director

Rio 2 feels like an amateurish sequel to an animated film that really didn’t need a sequel to begin with. The film feels like a direct-to-DVD sequel and only acts as a highlighting pen that shows that Rio may not be the strongest animated franchise out there. While I really enjoyed Bruno Mars’ voice acting work and Jemaine Clement brought in some genuinely funny moments as Nigel, the end result is the film did little to really get me invested. Realistically, however, this point is completely moot because the film was not produced for both adults and children to enjoy and, at its core, it was clearly produced to be nothing more than something colorful to distract the kids while you get a moment's peace and hopefully catch an episode or two of whatever adult-oriented cable show that you haven’t been able to watch lately.

Bad Words

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! So, apparently, this movie isn't about some words that went wee-wee on the carpet and chewed up someone's sneakers.



Bad Words – 4 out of 5


As a kid, I hated the Spelling Bee. I’ve never considered myself a terrible speller and I know I’ve made some mistakes here and there (I’m sure there are some misspellings that got by my proofreading sessions of my reviews) but I’ve always felt I have a fairly decent grasp on the spelling of words. However, I still hated the Spelling Bee and, to this day, hate being put on the spot to spell (the same principle is in use when I play Blackjack—with all those eyes staring at you, it’s just too much pressure to do basic math in public). Regardless of my fear of spelling words in public (I worry that someday a man will jump out of a shadowy corner and forced me to spell "philosophic"), I have to say that the film Bad Words is hysterical!
Still, you can't pay me to do a Spelling Bee.


Guy Trilby (Jason Bateman) is a man with a plan. His plan in simple: He is going to use every loophole he can find and allow himself to compete in a children’s national spelling bee. The parents of the kids involved and the officials are irate to see this crass, offensive individual making a mockery of their institution but Guy has some hidden motivation to it all. What are those motives? Well, that’s what reporter Jenny Widgeon (Kathryn Hahn) is trying to figure out. However, along the way, Guy learns a little bit about himself and one of his fellow competitors; Chaitanya Chopra (Rohan Chand), who is able to cut through his foul-mouthed exterior and tries to form a friendship with him.
The Bollywood-style dance number on the plane in an attempt to win Trilby's
friendship was particularly enjoyable.


Bad Words could have easily gone the gratuitous route and went for the easy joke about an adult man competing against younglings in a contest meant for children. Put Adam Sandler in the lead, have him yell at the kids and throw in an offensive stereotype here and there along with a couple of swear words and you have a terrible comedy that will somehow make money at the box office (because, deep down, we have a terrible collective sense of humor in this country). However, Bad Words was somehow able to be crass, offensive, witty, intelligent, hysterical and touching all at the same time…plus, we get Jason Bateman and not Adam Sandler in the lead and that’s a huge plus!
Infinitely better than Sandler.


The humor in Bad Words, on paper, is extremely offensive and most of the insults that come flying out of Bateman’s mouth will make a Redneck blush (and take note on the new racially-geared insults he just learned) and taking all of them out of context could easily paint the picture that the film is trying to be offensive for the sake of being offensive like those awful comedians who think rape jokes just mean you say the word “rape” as the punch line and you are suddenly an extreme, edgy comic. Instead, the terrible things Guy Trilby is saying actually serve a purpose beyond going for the edgy laugh. They serve as a setup for the type of guy that Guy is and, while I concede that all the horribly offensive stuff he said was still hilarious, it becomes funnier and actually meaningful when you realize WHY he is saying such things and acting like such a huge dick.
Here's a hint to the reasons for such dickery.


Once the credits hit, one of the things I felt were the strongest aspect the film had going for it was the fact that Guy Trilby actually has a reason for doing this stunt…and it was a good one. Had this been an Adam Sandler film, the motive would have been a bet between him and a character played by Nick Swardson or, by doing it, he would have got a treasure map to find the Lost Kingdom of the Farts or some bullshit. Instead, there’s a reason for Guy Trilby’s actions and it has character building elements to it and it creates drama in the comedy world of a guy in a kid’s spelling bee. I won’t spoil why he does what he does but I will say this…it involves pirate ghosts.

Or does it?

Actually, no it doesn’t. But it still was a good motive.
Kathryn Hahn is kinda hit-or-miss with me.  In this film, she was a HIT!


As funny as I found this movie (and I found it hi-fucking-larious), the film was also fantastic with its drama and the touching, sweet friendship that forms between Bateman and Chand’s characters. Both individuals are already giving off great and humorous performances the entire film but there was definitely a great chemistry between Bateman and Chand and that chemistry really sold their blooming, insult-laden friendship. Just like the drama that came from the “Why?” of Trilby’s antics, the friendship made the film more than just a silly comedy meant to get in some Fuck-bombs tossed out at a kid event.
Frab--wut?  Is that even a real word?


Finally, I really enjoyed Bateman’s directorial debut. Bateman really knew how to work the camera and give the film a feel that was more than just a “Point there and film” aspect. There were quite a few times that Bateman had some great dynamic camera angles that kept the film flowing in a way that never allows the film to get static or slow down. Additionally, Bateman really uses color quite well as the film is never bright and shiny and it’s kept very dull in order to show that this isn’t just some slapstick, silly film.
I was going to post a picture that showed an example of Bateman's visual
style for the film but, instead, I settled on him and the kid eating at a
hot dog joint.  I'd say that about equals out...for some reason.


Bad Words is far wittier, far smarter (and I mean that beyond the fact that I literally had no idea what some of the words that were being spelled in the movie even were), and far more dramatic than I thought it was. The film is a great directorial debut from Bateman but it’s also hysterical and it has Bateman in a role that I’ve never seen from him before and he does it awesomely! This movie could easily offend the casual viewer but when you see it for what it is trying to be, you might find it to be an honestly hilarious film...unless it really offends you.  Then you are probably pissed off at it and pissed at me for thinking you might like it.

Cuban Fury

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Cuban Fury sounds like a comic book character from the industry's far less racially sympathetic age.



Cuban Fury – 3 out of 5


When I heard that Cuban Fury was all about salsa, I was like, “Well, I’m not entirely sure why they would make an entire movie about salsa but it’s got the guy from Shaun of the Dead and the guy from The IT Crowd in it, so let’s do this!” Don’t get me wrong, I love salsa. I usually get a refill of it (or two) when I hit some authentic Mexican restaurants and it is really good it you add a little cheese to it. Now, at this point, I am going to end this lame joke about mistaking the dancing (which this film is ACTUALLY about) for the dip and I’m going to go right into the synopsis…
Surprise, nerds!  Simon Pegg makes a split-second, impossible-to-properly-
screencap cameo!


As a child, Bruce (Nick Frost) had a love for salsa dancing and was on his way to become a big deal in it. However, one night he ran afoul of some bullies and he vowed to never put on his sequined shirt or dancing shoes again. Now, as an adult, he finds himself working his days away while being mocked by his coworker Drew (Chris O’Dowd) but things start to look up as a new boss crosses the pond (Rashida Jones) and he learns she loves salsa. Now, Bruce is suddenly filled with the piss and vinegar mixture that created his love of salsa as a child and decides to once again dance. So, with the support of his sister and his friends, he seeks out his old mentor (Ian McShane) and sets forth to once again dance and even hit the competition circuit.
My girlfriend said I remind her of Nick Frost...am I suppose to be honored?
Or slightly offended because she just said I need to lose weight?

The out-of-focus man in the front was the true
star of the film.
Cuban Fury definitely has its moments and it did make me laugh on more than one occasion but there were some things that I couldn’t help but feel hurt the overall film. For example, did the film’s premise (while amusing to see a chubby Brit really love salsa dancing) really translate to a feature length film? A part of me—usually the part of me who was bored when the film started to drag in places—kept saying to the other parts of me that this one might have been better off as a short film. Sure, it made me laugh and I really liked the cast but the jokes were never ridiculously funny and there were too many moments where the film slowed down too much.
I had the same look the one time I decided to shave my chest...
the one time.


If you have "Ian McShane Plays a Salsa Coach" on your
movie Bingo card, you just won every game of
movie Bingo to ever exist.
I worry this next complaint will make me look like an asshole and make it look like I hated the cast but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Literally, every single person in this movie is an actor/actress I enjoy. Rashida Jones, Chris O’Dowd, Nick Frost and Ian McShane—I love all of them. However, certain elements of the roster felt ill-suited for their roles. I never expected to see Al Swearengen as a salsa dance instructor but McShane did the job alright. The casting decision I couldn’t get into was seeing Chris O’Dowd as an asshole and seeing Nick Frost as a romcom love interest. Now, I’ve seen O’Dowd pull off an egotistical jerk well in Gulliver’s Travels (in fact, he was about the only good thing about the film) but the way he played this jerky character didn’t seem natural for O’Dowd and it made for a lot of awkward moments…awkward but mildly amusing moments.

How all men should stand when attempting to seduce a co-worker or superior.


Then, as much as I love Nick Frost, I had a hard time seeing him as the romcom type. His character pursuing Rashida Jones’ character didn’t feel natural and it looked like even Frost didn’t have faith in his abilities to pull it off. Most of his interactions with Jones looked awkward and not in the “this character is awkward around women” awkward but like “this actor is awkward with the awkward character” awkward. He didn’t seem to have any troubles interacting with the rest of the cast but, even after his character is supposed to be comfortable around the woman he digs, he still looks like Frost, the actor, doesn’t feel completely at home acting around her.
The passionate love story between Ian McShane and Nick Frost, however, is
fiery hot!


However, overall, the complaints I had in the cast were minor and weren’t total entertainment-killers. Ultimately, however, pretty much the entire movie is just average. Cuban Fury isn’t terrible because it does have some moments that are amusing and there is some charm to it but the film does feel like it stretches its premise beyond its elasticity point and a lot of the cast doesn’t look like they really fit their parts. Now, if you’ll excuse me, just the quick tease of salsa con queso at the beginning of this review has me hankering and I need to run to the store for chips and dip.

The passionate love story between--shit, I did that joke on the last picture.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Snowpiercer

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Kids getting their snows pierced is just another way of rebelling against their parents.




Snowpiercer – 5 out of 5

Climate Change is a serious thing (I capitalized each word, that's how serious it is!). For some (like almost every scientist in the world), it’s real and it’s a huge threat (it really is). For others, it’s fake (it’s not) and they will go as far as to say it is a conspiracy to make us live ecologically responsible lives and take care of this floating rock that we live on (those monsters!) and they are usually the people who will post a status to showcase what an annoying asshole they are that reads “Where’s this global warming?” when the weather gets cold. Whether you want to deny the facts or not, Climate Change is here and it permeates into our pop culture and worms its way into our Sci-Fi films...even Sci-Fi films that are adaptations of graphic novels.
The sad irony is that, in order to stay warm, the people in the tail section of the
train had to burn graphic novels.

Take a moment and try to imagine the smell that
is in the back of that train...
In an effort to combat climate change, world scientists created a chemical agent that, in theory, would have reversed the effects. Unfortunately, it ended up causing a perpetual winter that froze the world and killed off all living things on the planet. A fortunate few were able to quickly board a train called the Snowpiercer—an experimental train that is capable of being both self-sustaining and capable of traveling along a world-wide expanding railroad track. However, the train runs on a very strict class system and the folks in the back are tired of being the poor and dirty. Curtis (Chris Evans), along with his second-in-command; Edgar (Jamie Bell), lead a team of hungry, angry masses on a bloody battle to get to the head of the train. But to get there, they will need help from a narcotic addict who designed the gate system for the train (Kang-ho Song) and take the train’s minister (Tilda Swinton) hostage. Once accomplished, they will be able go car to car in order to get to the engine and stop the man who started this, the builder of the train and the man behind the curtain; the mysterious Wilford. However, getting to the front won’t be easy as Wilford has followers in place to use lethal force to stop the uprising.
The train operators are trying to explain to her how horrifying her coat is but
she just won't hear of it.

I feel the rich could have easily stop this uprising if
they allowed the poor to hang out in the
aquarium car for an hour or two a week.
Dystopian futures have always been the rage with science fiction films so the real challenge is trying to figure out how to do something unique with them. Hell, even the concept of the lower class rising up in revolt against the entitled masses of the dystopian future is nothing new—that’s The Hunger Games bread and impoverished butter. However, Snowpiercer was able to bring about a Sci-Fi story with some very familiar elements and make it stand out thanks to great characters, incredible performances, and a surreal edge that made the film both light and heavy in tone.
I feel like I'm glossing over the sex appeal factor with Tilda Swinton's character.

It wouldn't be a dystopian post-apocalypse film without
strangely dressed eccentric rich people doing
drugs and rave dancing.
Snowpiercer had it all: There was some funny, lighthearted moments that made me laugh, brutal action sequences that feed the primitive side of me, and some delightfully wicked absurd moments that gave the film an aloof spirit at times. There were moments that were able to be both silly and kinda frightening at times. Whether it be the ridiculous nature of the train itself, its self-sustaining ecosystem, the near religious obsession the passengers have towards the train’s engine and Wilford, or how outrageous the upper class of the train looked (they had a freakin’ dentists office up there), the film and director Joon-ho Bong (who also did The Host, which I highly recommend—no, not that The Host) would, without apology, mix the gritty, dark feel the journey of Curtis, Edgar and the other lower class passengers were engaged in with something that made you wonder if you might have been taking an extremely mild trip. This mixing of tones could have easily worked against the film and come off looking like the film went through two drafts—a dark one and a silly one—and, after a hilarious sequence that involved a lot of slapstick falling about, the pages to the script got mixed together but, in the end, these two elements ended up working in concert and helped to keep the film moving, helped to keep me, a viewer, sympathetic to the new sights the lower class was seeing on their journey to the front (seriously, it really helped to make you feel the confusion they were going through), and, most of all, keep the film’s tone fresh and stop it from ever becoming monotonous and boring.
Believe it or not, there is actual context to this picture...yes, even the shoe
on the head.


The look of a man who realizes he's in too deep or
the look of a dude who is scared that fart that
is loading up may be something more.
Aside from delivering a really great story that was both dark and heavy, and light and strange, the film also delivered great characters that were easy to sympathize with and cheer for. It’s easy to cheer for the poor and abused to rise up and try to take a slice of the pie (unless it’s in real life, then fuck those poor bastards. Right, Fox News and every Conservative friend I have on my Facebook friends list?) but the characters need some detail to keep us invested. If Katniss was just a poor working girl competing in the deadly Hunger Games we might cheer for her survival, sure, but what if she was struggling not only to stay alive but to stay alive so that she could figure out what man she wanted in her life? Well, in that case, we’ll all fall all over ourselves to see that she gets to live so that she can find love. Snowpiercer does this but it’s not for reasons of the heart…unless you count those members who are trying to get their children that were taken away by Wilford.
"If Wilford won't give me back my child, I will have no choice but to prepare him
a very special chocolate pie!"


Along the journey towards the engine and when there was time to kill in-between sessions of fighting and murdering off Wilford’s forces, we get tidbits of the lower class’ history and we see how hard the early days of train life was. Seeing what motivates Curtis along or that maybe drugs aren’t the only thing that gets Kang-ho's character to agree to help them is just another well developed aspect the film has going for it and another thing that kept me glued to the television and completely forsake bathroom breaks. These characters are only enhanced by truly epic performances from the main cast.
Laugh it up and smile your face off, Kang-ho Song.  You've earned it!


Whether it be the brooding and holding-on-to-deep-seated-pain-one-can-see-behind-his-eyes performance from Chris Evans or the wickedly eccentric and colorful performance from Tilda Swinton or the quiet reserve of John Hurt as Gilliam, one of the oldest members of the lower class, or the surprise appearance of Actor’s Name Withheld for Spoilers Purposes as Wilford, each actor was just magical to watch and were capable of making their characters believable in a slightly strange world and were able to keep the film moving forward like some sort of engine-powered vehicle that runs along a predetermined track…what do they call those things again? Oh yeah, a monorail.
The War Doctor is here!  We're saved!

Class Warfare gets bloody in this adaptation of Fox New's
worst nightmare.
Snowpiercer is a dark journey with just enough levity to it to make the build up to the film’s climax feel like it was a mixture of The Matrix sequels with a dash of Willy Wonka and The Wizard of Oz thrown in. The film is exciting with its action and intriguing with its plot reveals and character confessions. While on paper, it may seem like a typical Sci-Fi film that would move along predictable lines, the film proves to be much more and ends up being a bittersweet tale of human survival with a very strong ending.

The film also had an interesting marketing campaign that involved Ed Harris
standing behind people and whispering in their ear that they should
"totally see this movie."

Deliver Us from Evil

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Deliver them from evil but deliver me a pizza...I'm sorry, I really had nothing else to put here.



Deliver Us from Evil – 2 out of 5


Ever since those liars victims of the Amityville house told the world their story and said it was based on a “actual events,” Hollywood has been in love with the concept of selling supernatural horror films as pseudo-reenactments. Recently, this trend has been exploding and literally 9 out of every 10 horror movies that come out are being hailed as “based on a true story.” Sure, the movies take huge liberties with these supposed “actual events” and, more often than not (like with this film), the “true story” part means they just took some real people and put them in a clusterfuck of a demon invasion but even with these liberties and the fact that the “actual events” part is nearly 100% bullshit, sometimes they are capable of being very entertaining and, occasionally, scary. Sadly, Deliver Us from Evil was not one of those.
                                                                                                                     Screen Gems
Any parent who buys this stuff animal to put in their child's room is probably
not hunted by evil but is evil incarnate.


New York police officer Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) is very dedicated to his job and dedicated to the point that he pretty much ignores his wife (Olivia Munn) and his child. One night, he and his partner Butler (Joel McHale, for some reason), come across a crazy woman who attempted to murder her own baby at the local zoo. As Sarchie digs deeper, he soon finds that three vets from Iraq discovered something sinister and were possessed by a demon and their supernatural possession is spreading like an infection. Now, Sarchie must team with an unorthodox priest named Mendoza (Édgar Ramírez) to try and stop the evil.
                                                                                                                     Screen Gems
Even McHale looks like he's questioning the casting decisions in this film.


After a lifetime of watching horror films, I’ve pretty much burned out my ability to feel fear when I’m watching them. Or, it’s possible, that horror films haven’t been good for the last 20 years and I’m just saying it’s my fault that they don’t resonate with me. Either way, it’s rare for a horror film to raise my heart rate or even make me feel nervous about an incoming scare. Delivery Us from Evil is one of those prime examples of a film that wastes its potential of creating a fertile breeding ground of true, sleep-depriving horror…and it’s not even a “found footage” film.
                                                                                                                      Screen Gems
"There's probably scary stuff over there...but we'll just stay here and wait for
a bad joke from McHale."


Even though the film failed to scare me, there were a lot of things I felt worked extremely effectively in the film. For example, it was directed by the dude who gave us Sinister (Scott Derrickson) and that movie creeped me the fuck out. It was clear that Derrickson could have succeeded in creating another great spooky atmosphere in this film and, for the most part, he did. Like in Sinister, he utilized light and shadow like he was the horror director version of Bob Ross and made the film look absolutely gorgeous (which is a weird compliment for a scary movie). Every scene where something scary had the potential to happen looked fantastic and would make me think something truly horrifying was about to arrive on screen. Derrickson knew exactly how to light a sequence so that you saw just enough but also had enough darkness to obscure the objects and horrors so that you could barely see them. The only downfall was these great sequences of tension building and tone establishment was ruined by a weak, predictable “jump” scare that only serves as an immediate justification for horror and does nothing to create true, deep terror that builds in the entire body (and usually stores in the bowels in order to literally scare the shit out of you).
                                                                                                                    Screen Gems
So, are demon possessed people completely incapable of stealth and subtlety?


Another thing I really enjoyed about Deliver Us from Evil was the use of sound. Much like how Scott Derrickson made light and shadow his trained monkeys to do his bidding, he made the sound in the film something that was almost a character all by itself. Nearly every second of the film is filled with sound that does nothing but enhance the atmosphere that Derrickson was creating. Whether it be the strange use of the music from The Doors that is kinda thrown into the story or the use of quiet static and children laughing or even the use of deafening cacophony of maddening noise, all of these elements worked in concert with the visuals to create a landscape that was completely unnerving…which would all get ruined by a cheap, “Oh look, a screeching cat in a closet” jump scare (and I’m not making a joke about the old cliché about having a throw away scare that involved a cat jumping out of the closet, there is literally a scare that involves a screeching cat in the closet. Aim for the skies with those scares, movie).
                                                                                                                   Screen Gems
"The demon made me jump...also, the demon maxed out all my credit cards
before it made me jump."


Finally, I really enjoyed Eric Bana in his role as Ralph Sarchie. His performance was quite strong even though he was playing the formulaic horror film stock character that begins as a skeptic and ends a true believer because of the shit he’s seen (it would be cool to see a horror film where the protagonist believes right away only to find out that there was a scientific explanation all along and his belief that the supernatural caused the disturbance was wrong and he ends up being a skeptic before the credits roll). Unlike the usual “I don’t believe that nonsense until the end of the film” character, Bana made this character’s transition from non-believer to believer a bit more realistic than most horror films go. Not to mention, his interactions with Édgar Ramírez made for some strong scenes in an otherwise boring film—also, Ramírez was excellent in his role as the cigarette smoking/hard drink drinking priest Mendoza.
                                                                                                                     Screen Gems
Sarchie is covering his crotch like he's worried the demon will possess his
testicles.

                                                                                    Screen Gems
Man possessed or someone on their way to
The Gathering?
While this film looked, sounded and was acted great, I just couldn’t get into it because (and I already mentioned this) it wasn’t scary. The film’s story was more focused on seeing Sarchie investigate than they were seeing scary things come across the screen. While it makes sense that we have a cop investigating issues and it might make sense that this dynamic might explain why the film only delivers on easy scares (because they might have forgot to add the scary stuff, I guess), however, it ultimately made the film very dry and boring for me. With no scares in sight to grab my attention and a story that just meanders around a lot of investigation, I was in more fear of falling asleep than I was in having the piss scared out of my bladder.
                                                                                                                   Screen Gems
Is it a requirement that you must look like you're listening to "Turn Down For What"
when doing an exorcism?


One of the worse things about the movie and one of the most unnecessary and entertainment killers for me was the comedic relief that was brought in by Joel McHale. While it isn’t uncommon to have some funny stuff happen in your scary stuff (I felt Insidious 2: Electric Boogaloo did this quite well), the bad one-liners and punch lines did nothing but ruin the tone and atmosphere that Derrickson had so painstakingly created. It was like you were watching a great drama filled with human emotion and then they end the scene with a guy getting hit with a pie in the face. It felt out of place with the direction of the story and, most of all, it felt forced because they had Joel McHale in the role and not a dramatic actor who just so happens to utter a funny line of dialogue from the script.  While I enjoy McHale in funny stuff, he just felt out of place in this film.
                                                                                                                    Screen Gems
Seriously, why Joel McHale?


While Deliver Us from Evil has a great teaser trailer that promised heart-pounding creeps, the film ends up wasting the potential and all the care Derrickson put into the look of the film for cheap, uncreative scares that did little to make me even fidget in my seat. Movies like The Conjuring can make the whole “based on a true story” gimmick work (even if you feel the whole possession, demons, ghosts, and the idea of finding a Conservative who doesn’t hate some minority group to be complete fiction) and that film felt authentic and it was easy to lose yourself in the realistic looking (as realistic as hauntings can be to a skeptic like me) events but Deliver Us from Evil felt embellished and completely made-up. Nothing about the unfolding story felt like it could have happened and it felt so phony that even the character of Sarchie (who is 100% a real dude) comes off looking like he was the creation of some script writer. Overall, the film delivers a weak story and scares that match the generic horror film title. In the end, I guess I’ll stick with the documentary of the same name because that film was much better…and scarier, too, because it was about a priest who molested kids and went unpunished. If that shit doesn’t scare you then what the hell is wrong with you?

Walk of Shame

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Is there a Walk of Pride?  Or a Walk of Unbridled Enthusiasm?  Or Walk of Crippling Depression?




Walk of Shame – 2 out of 5

I’ve never been the one night stand type of dude so, to me, the walk of shame always meant walking out of Old Country Buffet by yourself and making that long, embarrassing trip to the car while you’re alone with your thoughts and you’re forced to come to terms with the fact you just ate at OCB and you’re praying to whatever deity that will listen that you won’t bump into someone you know. However, according to the more promiscuous members of our society, the walk of shame, apparently, is the act of leaving a person’s home in a disheveled state after a sweaty night of stinky sex with someone you may, or may not, know the last name of. I’m not 100% sure, though, if these events are accompanied by a wacky misadventure.
The misadventures I have from hitting OCB and not the club usually involve
getting to a restroom before it's too late.  Never do they involve sleeping with
random people.

HE'S GOING TO PUT CORNINGSTONE ON!!!
Megan Miles (Elizabeth Banks) is a local reporter who is ready to aim for the stars and move on to bigger and more lucrative things. However, after her fiancé leaves her and she learns that she didn’t get the job she was hoping for, she is left to wallow in unhappiness. Her besties, Rose (Gillian Jacobs) and Denise (Sarah Wright), convince her to break out of her clean cut ways and just get out and party in a skimpy dress and let loose on some random dude. After many shots of tequila, Megan meets Gordon (James Marsden) and heads to his house for some nasty times. While trying to sneak out while he’s asleep, Megan learns that the job is now, in fact, hers and she needs to get to the station and wow her potential new employers with her incredible ability to read the news (but not as good as Ron Burgundy). The only problem is that the entire city seems out to get her as one horrific thing after another creates an obstacle for her to hurdle over in her high heels.
It's like the entire city is against a woman practicing sexual freedom.


"We're officers here to arrest you for wearing a skimpy dress and having the nerve
to believe you have the right to express your own sexuality!"
I never saw a single trailer for this movie or even knew of its existence until recently. I read the synopsis and really didn’t think much of it. However, I kinda thought I was going to be in for a surprise when the beginning portion of the movie made me let out some genuine laughs. Sure, the opening credits are a little sad because they are basically a collection of shot-for-shot remakes of viral news videos that use to be the hit thing on such sites as eBaum's World and Digg but, as the film got moving, I was laughing a little bit here and there. The problem occurs, ultimately, that the film starts to get very repetitive and it ends up being substantially less funny than when it started. Additionally, the repetitive nature ended up making the film feel a lot longer than what it was as the premise is stretched long passed its elasticity point.
Another thing stretched to the limits, my patience with Megan Miles' stereotypical
stupid friend.

"Tits McGee is off today..."
I swear, this will be my last Anchorman reference.
The movie’s occasional funny moments start to quickly be replaced with a lot of very uncomfortable moments as every single person Megan Miles meets on her awful journey is out to use her in some manner and it is usually of the sexual nature. Whether it is right off the bat with a taxi driver demanding a lap dance to help her or a little boy who wants to see her boobs in exchange for help, literally every male figure that comes in contact with her finds her to be something sexual to conquest in some disrespectful manner. While this “sexual assault” vibe may have been amusing for one joke, it quickly becomes grating as the film ends up being one long slut-shaming gag that ends up making the film feel about as uncomfortable as riding alone in an elevator with Robin Thicke and about as creative and witty as a Larry the Cable Guy bit. It also ends up showing a little bit too much of director/writer Steven Brill’s deepest desires and fantasies.
Another disturbing fantasy of Brill's...James Marsden having his pants pulled off
while he plays acoustic guitar.


Sure, the film may change gears a bit by changing the formula of being dudes wanting to do  nasty things to Meghan Miles to women attacking her for dressing like a street walker but, in the end, the abuse she gets from both sexes is more deplorable than humorous.  On the surface, there actually may be some commentary to be made but with the fact that each scene is accompanied by a weaker and weaker punchline, all social insight that can be made feels like it is undone by a writer's own shady views of women and their sexuality.

Also shady, Kevin Nealon in a helicopter.  He doesn't belong there!


Through all of this, Elizabeth Banks is great in her role and is able to be funny in the face of humor that seems to do nothing but repeat itself and the rest of the cast does it job quite well—with the exception of Sarah Wright’s character. That character was the stereotypical dumb friend and she ends up having scenes that could have served the overall humor better if they were just eliminated. In the end, Walk of Shame should have been just called Slut Shaming: The Movie since that really is the only joke the film has in it. Granted, I will admit that I did laugh at times in the film and, even though it was kinda offensive, there is a scene with Megan Miles and some drug dealers and crack addicts that I found to be very amusing and sorta endearing but, in the end, the film had a premise that was stretched way too thin and not enough of a variety to its gags to make it watchable beyond a single time.


In all seriousness, I really did find Pookie the Crackhead
to be hilarious.