‘It Follows’ Review

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Dir: David Robert Mitchell

Writer(s): David Robert Mitchell

Cast: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Lili Sepe, Olivia Luccardi, Daniel Zovatto, and Jake Weary

Synopsis: After a young girl gets involved in a sexual confrontation, she is followed by an unknown force.

 

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

 

You rarely see horror film reviews here because for some reason I have a bit of a hard time reviewing them. It’s not because I don’t like horror films – because I do – but there is something trying to tell people how the film works without giving away how it works and giving away an experience. That couldn’t be even more true with It Follows. So here’s the best I can do with it.

 

It Follows stars Maika Monroe as Jay, who after a date with Hugh (Weary) ends up sleeping with him and instead of the two becoming closer, Hugh chloroforms her, bounds her to chair and says that “It” will come after her and kill her unless she passes it on to someone else. What follows is an eerie, slow burn film filled with tension and a retro look and feel of a horror film.

 

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I thought about not review It Follows only because I didn’t see how I can actually review it without giving away some of the things in the film. Also, the film is getting a ton of attention from the horror community and some even calling it the best horror film in years (which the statement itself loses its appeal after being overused every week for a new film). I personally knew very little about the film, I knew it was out there and sort of new the premise, but didn’t see a trailer or knew who was in it. But, now the film is getting more attention as the film is set for a bigger release after it’s impressive limited release box office numbers. I can attest to that since my screening was almost packed.

 

Back to the film, director David Robert Mitchell tries to give the film a timeless essence, but things like cell phones, the internet and social media is referenced here and there. Even one of the characters, Yara (Luccardi), has a weird e-reader. However, Mitchell wants the film to the timeless feel over all of that as Jay’s sister Kelly (Sepe), Yara, and Paul (Gilchrist) are seen watching black and white movies on their old school TV. However, it doesn’t really matter and the timeless issue doesn’t get in the way in the film overall.

 

Also, Mitchell gives the film a very retro 80s feel. The film has beautiful cinematography, shots that zoom in and out of an actor or thing, and a score that can come straight from an 80s film. Honestly, after watching the film all I could think about is if this came out during the actual 80s it would probably be a cult-following film even more than it is going to be probably today.

 

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The film does fall into some horror tropes, like sometimes the music will kick in when something is coming, some jump scares – although they work very effective here because of the premise of the film – and the main character being seen as “crazy” because she is seeing something that no one else does.

 

When it comes to the “It” that follows Jay around, I kind of don’t want to give too much away, even the trailers are very vague when it comes to what “It” is. Hugh says that “It” can look like a stranger or someone you know, which automatically builds up the tension. The other thing about “It” is that it slowly walks toward you, think Michael Myers or Jason Vooorhees, but without the mask or blade. “It” also has a pretty unique approach and look. They way it has to be passed is, again, something you can totally see in an 80s movie and believe and when it comes to the look, well that’s just something for you to embrace when you see – although you can’t let “It” touch you otherwise, well, you know.

 

The cast is pretty great here, but the film does belong to Monroe. She brings a great vulnerability and dread to Jay as she has to suffer with “It” following her until she passes it on. She is constantly looking over her shoulder or locking herself in her room making trying to stay safe, but obviously it doesn’t really work. Keir Gilchrist who plays Paul gets probably the second amount of screen time. Paul has a thing for Jay and even though at first he doesn’t really believe anything is after Jay he goes along with it.

 

Luccardi and Lili Sepe, who plays Jay’s sister Kelly, Jake Weary’s Hugh, and Daniel Zovatto have their moments to shine but overall the story is focused on Jay, so their characters are put aside.

 

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Lili Sepe, Olivia Luccardi, and Keir Gilchrist

 

It Follows is a slow burn and minimalist approach to horror. It might, and probably will, test your patience in a lot of ways, but you can’t take away that It Follows has have a lot of originality to it. Things really don’t get going until the halfway point and even then, they still take a very slow pace for everything to get going for the final act. I will admit the final act of the film falls a bit flat in terms of everything else that was done before that, but it sort of works.

 

The other thing about the film is that it has multiple layers. It’s one of the rare films that had me thinking after I walked out because of one scene. The scene is in the final act that takes place in a pool. Again, I won’t go into it because I don’t want to spoil it but if you pay attention to what is said by Jay and then focus on something that comes up after, it adds a bit more depth to what happened. I know that sounds confusing, but It Follows is really one of those movies you want to tell your friends about but not say much because you don’t want to ruin it for them. It’s also one of those you movies you might have to watch again, so you can catch some of the more nuance things going on.

 

All in all, It Follows brings some new things to the table for the genre and while it fumbles in some areas, Maika Monroe and director David Robert Mitchell do some great things that will keep this film above some of the rest. With the multiple layers the film has and the great moments, I can see why many are calling this a much-watch horror film.

 

It Follows

4 out of 5

‘The Gunman’ Review

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Dir: Pierre Morel

Writer(s): Don MacPherson, Pete Travis (screenwriter), Jean-Patrick Manchette (novel)

Cast: Sean Penn, Jasmine Trinca, Mark Rylance, Ray Winstone, Javier Bardem and Idris Elba

Synopsis: A sniper on a mercenary assassination team kills the minister of mines of the Congo. Terrier’s successful kill shot forces him into hiding Returning to the Congo years later, he becomes the target of a hit squad himself.

 

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

 

Based off the novel “The Prone Gunman” by Jean-Patrick Manchette, director Pierre Morel, who arguably, rejuvenated Liam Neeson’s career with Taken tries to do same here with Sean Penn. The Gunman takes some of the same elements from Taken but fails a little short of getting to Taken’s level.

 

While in Congo, a group of humanitarians try to do the best they can during a mining crises, little do some of them know, there are a few of them like Jim Terrier (Penn), Felix (Bardem) and Cox (Rylance) that have their own mission. Jim ends up killing a top official and, per orders, is told to leave the continent leaving his life behind and the love of his life Annie (Trinca) without a word. Jump to eight years later, Jim is back in Congo to do real good and build wells for the villages, until three men come to kill him specifically. Jim jumps into action, kills the men and then leaves looking for answers.

 

It’s interesting how the film is structured. If you walked in not seeing any of the ads you would think you are going to watch a political thriller/drama with the way the film opens with news broadcasts telling us what the Congo is going through. Not that it really matters, the film is not a commentary or trying to give us a message, in fact the Congo stuff is an overall problem for Jim, but we only spend the first twenty minutes of the film in it. Not that it really matters anyway right? You’re probably watching the film for the action.

 

Speaking of the action, excluding Jim taking on the three assassins at the beginning, it takes a while for the action to pick up. In fact, after Jim finds out why he’s being targeted – and when the film starts picking up steam – the action scenes come more often, and some of them don’t disappoint. A house shootout and a fight between Jim and one of the baddies are the highlights of the action scenes in the film.

 

So you’re probably wondering if Sean Penn could pull off being the aging Hollywood star/action star. Well the quick answer is, yes, yes he can. Penn nails a ruthless demeanor and brings the sense that this character knows his stuff and is someone you do not want to piss off. Penn even beefed up for the role, to the point that I think he demanded shirtless scenes or shots that showed up his physic, because holy cow was he buff. I will admit though, after the third shirtless scene, it got a little distracting.

 

The supporting cast is okay at best. The film does belong to Penn, but it is kind of a shame that the supporting cast is either underutilized or just bland, which is a shame because they are great talents. Trinca playing Annie doesn’t do much for the story expect being Jim’s way of having a better life, constantly needed to be protected or saved. Also, for a film being rated R, they never actually show her naked. I don’t want that to sound pervy, but there are moments where Annie is shirtless or is about to put clothing on and any other film would have shown the actress’s breasts, but Morel doesn’t, which I do tip my hat to him for it, but it is very noticeable in where it looks like the camera tilts up right away, another distraction.

 

Bardem’s Felix is a bit odd, I won’t spoil it obviously, but you can clearly tell his character is a bit slimly. Ray Winstone plays the only friend to Jim, Stanley, which against is heavily underused. Finally Idris Elba pops up as a mystery character, which is easily the most underused, although he does have a great scene with Penn before the last act of the film.

 

All in all, The Gunman has a strong lead with Penn who delivers some descent actions scenes and scenes that really suck you in. However, it does take a bit to really find its footing and even stumbles at times. Nonetheless, The Gunman will be sure to you entertain you in some way.

The Gunman

3.5 out of 5

‘Run All Night’ Review

Run All Night

Dir: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writer(s): Brad Ingelsby

Cast: Liam Neeson, Joel Kinnaman, Ed Harris, Common, Vincent D’Onofrio, Genesis Rodriguez, and Bruce McGill

Synopsis: Mobster and hit man Jimmy Conlon has one night to figure out where his loyalties lie: with his estranged son, Mike, whose life is in danger, or his longtime best friend, mob boss Shawn Maguire, who wants Mike to pay for the death of his own son.

 

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

 

We have grown accustom to seeing Liam Neeson kick major ass and shoot people in the last few years. I know that sounds like there is a “but” coming, but I assure you, I love watching Neeson beat the crap out of people half his age as much as the next person. The nice thing though is that Neeson tries to bring something – if he can – new to every role. In Run All Night, he does it again and we better enjoy it if Neeson’s claim about hanging up his action film boots in the next couple of years is true. If they are, Run All Night will be one of the great ones we can look back on.

 

Run All Night follows aging hitman Jimmy Conlon (Neeson) – once known as the Gravedigger – who is a bit down on his luck, a drunk, and is forced to taking some handouts from his best friend, and mob boss, Shawn Maguire (Harris) and Shawn’s son Danny (Holbrook). As you have seen in every ad for the film, Jimmy ends up shooting Danny when he was going to shoot Jimmy’s son, Michael (Kinnaman), for reasons I’ll leave out of the review, and after the events they are put on Shawn’s hit-list. The estranged father and son must outrun Shawn’s men, the cops, and a hitman named Price (Common).

 

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Overall the story is simple, but it does have some layers to it which is welcomed because otherwise it wouldn’t be as good as it was. The film takes a bit to get moving, but it serves to set up the relationship between Jimmy and Shawn, which is one of the strongest components of the film. However, director Jaume Collet-Serra fumbles other aspects of the film that either slows the film down or some really questionable decisions that can irritate you.

 

Collet-Serra tries to make New York City its own character in the film, but at the same time makes it feel cheesy. When there is going to be a new scene, the camera zooms out and makes a CGI transition to the new location where it will zoom in. That kind of thing works better in a video game and not in a film. I don’t want it to sound nitpicky, but it is does feel out of place here and distracting, the good thing is it doesn’t happen every time.

 

The action is fine, Neeson changes up his usual fist fights for shootouts, expect for a bathroom brawl. The set-pieces work well enough, although Collet-Serra messes around with the editing at moments that make it hard to know what’s going on or see the action. The highlight of the film is definitely an early car chase and a burning building action sequence.

 

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As for the actors, Neeson as Jimmy is always reliable and is again here, although he will probably play his least sympathetic character here for some. Jimmy does love his son, even though Michael wants nothing to do with him. He also doesn’t want his son to end up like him and constantly tells him not to fire a gun. Joel Kinnaman does okay as Jimmy’s son Michael. Kinnaman balances some lack of sympathy for Jimmy and danger as he is being chased down by every hitman and cop in the city.

 

Ed Harris as Shawn is great and it’s kind of a shame he’s not in it more, but his scenes with Neeson are the best scenes in the film. They play well off each other and you can really scenes the friendship, brotherhood, and history they convey in those scenes. Common pops in as hitman Andrew Price, who is this unstoppable force in his very limited scene role. Common has shown he’s a good actor in the right role, but anyone could have played this role really even though he handles himself well.

 

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The rest of the cast is filled out by Boyd Holbrook who plays Danny, who has a significant amount a screen time before he bites the dust. Bruce McGill plays Shawn’s right hand man and even though McGill is a great actor he is heavily underused, to the point that I think he only has a few lines of dialogue. Genesis Rodriguez plays Michael’s wife Gabriela who doesn’t really add much to the story and finally, Vincent D’Onofrio plays Detective Harding, who is trying to get Jimmy to confess to his crimes and make a deal with him. There is also a cameo appearance by a well-known actor that really comes out of nowhere and I was left wondering why there weren’t more scenes with him in the film.

 

All in all, Run All Night stumbles a bit when it slows down, but when it comes the action and the cast, it is a great time to watch.

 

 

Run all Night

4 out of 5

‘Chappie’ Review

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Dir: Neill Blomkamp

Writer(s): Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell

Cast: Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Ninja, Yo-Landi Visser, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver

Synopsis: In the near future, crime is patrolled by an oppressive mechanized police force. When one police droid, Chappie, is stolen and given new programming, he becomes the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself.

 

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

 

Neill Blomkamp burst on the scene with his hit sci-fi/political commentary film District 9 and won everyone over with how great the film was, in both in storytelling and visual effects. He then went on to do another political commentary sci-fi film Elysium, which wasn’t welcomed by many and seen as a disappointment, even to the point where Blomkamp himself coming out a couple weeks ago saying he “fucked it up.” Now, Blomkamp returns with another sci-fi film in Chappie. While this one isn’t all together a political commentary film, it does bring up another question that has been asked in other films, but Chappie presents it in another format – Can Artificial Intelligence work?

 

In the near future Johannesburg, crime has become so rampant that the police force and a corporation, TetraVaal have teamed up and created a robotic police force that they call Scouts. Their creator Deon Wilson (Patel) however wants more. He takes it upon himself to create an advanced A.I. that will give a machine to ability to think and feel for themselves, and when TertaVaal CEO Michelle Bradley (Weaver) denies him the opportunity, he takes a recently decommissioned Scout and put the A.I. program in him. Meanwhile, three desperate criminals, Ninja (Ninja), Yolandi (Visser), and Amerika (Cantillo) who need to pay off a local crime boss, kidnap Deon and the Scout so they can get Deon to “turn off “ the Scouts and use the Scout to pull off a heist.

 

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When Deon tells them he can’t really turn off the Scouts, he sees this as an opportunity and proceeds with his A.I. experiment which works. When the Scout comes to life, it’s Yolandi who dubs it “Chappie” (Copley). It’s here where things start to get complicated. Ninja wants to only use Chappie for the heist while Yolandi wants the childlike machine to find his own way, Deon wants the same thing, but also sees this as the next step in technology and maybe civilization.

 

Moreover, Deon has a rival of his own at TertaVall in Vincent Moore (Jackman). Vincent is a former soldier who has his own warfare machine – called The Moose – that doesn’t have the funding thanks to the Scout program. He has a combination of seeing the Scouts as obstacles and less superior to his Moose, but also jealously because his idea is constantly shut down. Everything, of course, comes to a head-on collision at the end.

 

While the human element is all there at the forefront and is the reason why everything in the story is happening, the real star of the film is Chappie. Sharlto Copley brings Chappie to life using motion-capturing and of course the team of animators. Copley brings the right amount of childlike innocence, naiveness, and humanity throughout the film that make you root for him and just want to watch him do whatever he does. Whatever problems you have in the film, Chappie should be one of – if not – the highlight and best thing in the film.

 

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The other enjoyable performances come from the South African rap group Die Antwoord, Ninja and Yo-Landi Visser, who play versions of themselves. They act as surrogate parents teaching Chappie what they know even though they don’t see eye-to-eye on how to raise him. Ninja wants Chappie to see the harshness of the world the hard way, which leads to a very heartbreaking scene and one that was hard to watch, while Yolandi teaches Chappie what it means to be a “Black Sheep.” Obviously, Deon doesn’t want Chappie to pick up on their activity and wants him to be the future. As for Ninja and Visser’s acting, they actually weren’t that bad. There is always that risk of non-actors taking away from powerful scenes because it isn’t their comfort zone, but the rappers handle themselves well. Ninja does play more of the aggressive one and is the least likable of already “unlikeable” characters. Of course they only act aside each other and with Patel and Cantillo, who does fine in his role.

 

Patel also does fine as Deon, nothing out of Patel’s usual reliability. Hugh Jackman is the “easy” villain, and I’m not taking about his mullet either. Jackman does seem to be enjoying himself. I will way Sigourney Weaver is heavy underused as the CEO of the company. She really doesn’t do much expect sit in her office and has verbal confrontations with Deon and Vincent.

 

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So now we have to answer the question, does Chappie work? Yes and no. Blomkamp has said “I get so caught up in the concepts and ideas” which can be easily seen in the film. A lot of Chappie works as a sci-fi action film with great visual effects. A highlight is an extended fight scene with Chappie defending our heroes from The Moose. That’s not to say the film doesn’t great drama, because it does. The score is also great, although why wouldn’t it be since it is by Hans Zimmer. However, the question about A.I. comes and goes, and the beginning of the film says that the Chappie program has changed the world, then we get a title card that says “18 Months Earlier,” so we don’t really see how it’s changed the world and it is left up to us, the audience, to imagine it.

 

There are some messages that are flat out stated, like the Black Sheep message, but the message of whether A.I. is a good idea or bad is never really stated and even if you find it, it could get a bit muddy. There is also a moment in the film – I won’t mention the character’s name, but you’ll know it when you see it – that makes, even for a film, a really dumb and extremely dangerous decision even for the real world.

 

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All in all, Chappie works on some great levels like Copley’s portrayal as Chappie, Die Antwoord, and the visual effects. But when it comes to answering the big question that is posed throughout the film, it lacks a bit in answering them.

 

 

Chappie

4 out of 5

‘Focus’ Review

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Dir: Glenn Ficarra & John Requa

Writer(s): Glenn Ficarra & John Requa

Cast: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Adrian Martinez, Rodrigo Santoro, BD Wong, Brennan Brown, and Gerald McRaney

Synopsis: In the midst of veteran con man Nicky’s latest scheme, a woman from his past – now an accomplished femme fatale – shows up and throws his plans for a loop.

 

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

 

Con Artist films are always tough. The cast and crew have try their best to not give too much away, but gives us enough that they don’t lose the audience. But, if they do lose the audience, they have to get them back right away. Basically, con artist films have to play a con on the audience, but do it in a great way or the audience will turn on them. Focus, surprisingly, keeps us engaged enough that we don’t turn on the film, but it struggles from time-to-time to keep us engaged.

 

Focus follows Nicky (Smith), a lifelong conman who hires an eager protégé Jess (Robbie), after a failed attempt to scam him. However, he sees the potential in her and decides to take her under his wing. He doesn’t hold back and the two go down to New Orleans for Super Bowl to show how big Nicky’s operation, and eventually they start falling for each other, which goes against Nicky’s rule of “there’s no room for heart in this game.”

 

I’ll be the first to admit that I was not really suspecting much from Focus, but I was mildly surprised how much of the film actually worked. The film even works as two parts, I don’t know if directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa divided the work, but the first half of the film focuses on Nicky teaching Jess everything he knows and setting the ground work for their relationship especially for things later on. The second half of the film takes place in Buenos Aires where Nicky reunites with Jess after a fall out in New Orleans and where he is doing a job.

 

Ficarra and Requa create some great tension when need be and that is when the film is at its best. When the film starts to slow down it does take away from film and leaves little to be desired. Nothing against Smith or Robbie, because they do have some great chemistry but after great tense filled scenes, the slowing down scenes are just that: slow. There is also some technical things, like the Super Bowl game, isn’t really the Super Bowl even though they are playing it at the Mercedes Benz Stadium and it’s a championship game. Small stuff I know, but still.

 

The supporting cast is also great, sometimes stealing the spotlight from Smith and Robbie. Adrian Martinez plays Farhad, an old friend of Nicky’s and the comic relief, and while his character is a bit thin but whenever he shows up it does add some air to the scenes. BD Wong appears as a Chinese high stakes gambler, in one of the better scenes of film and really does steal the show a bit from Smith. Rodrigo Santoro is a racing millionaire who hires Nicky for a job and is the weakest of the supporting roles, probably only because he doesn’t have much to do. Finally Gerald McRaney is Santoro’s character security agent, and McRaney is always reliable and is the same here.

 

However, Focus belongs to Will Smith and Margot Robbie. Will Smith brings back the usual charisma that we all loved about him and proves that he could still lead a film, if the doubt was in anyone’s eyes. Margot Robbie holds her own against Smith and continues to prove she is a star on the rise and is here to stay.

 

All in all, Focus might stumble from time to time, but with a great cast and standout scenes, it becomes more than an average con artist film.

 

 

Focus

3.5 out of 5

‘The Lazarus Effect’ Review

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Dir: David Gelb

Writer(s): Luke Dawson and Jeremy Slater

Cast: Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde, Sarah Bolger, Evan Peters, and Donald Glover

Synopsis: A group of medical students discover a way to bring dead patients back to life.

 

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

 

If you could bring someone back from the dead? What if you knew they wouldn’t be the same? Would you? That’s what The Lazarus Effect tries to ask its audience. That is until it becomes a run-of-the-mill pseudo-supernatural slasher horror film. While the film does address these issues early on, it completely ignores them in the end of cheap scares and an ending that leaves you wondering, and not in the way you think.

 

The film follows Zoe (Wilde) and Frank (Duplass), leaders of a project trying to give people a second chance with something called the Lazarus Serum. The serum will bring the subject back to life – in this case, the subject we see at the start of the story is a dog – and after an accident in the lab, Frank and the team, Clay (Peters), Niko (Glover) and Eva (Bolger), duplicate the experiment to bring Zoe back from the dead. When Zoe comes back, everyone starts to suspect that Zoe isn’t acting like herself and maybe something could truly be wrong with her.

 

Surprisingly – or thankfully – The Lazarus Effect is just eighty-three minutes long, so everything moves incredibly fast and takes place majorly in the lab. The other thing is the film is low budget as it comes from one of Hollywood’s best micro-budget companies, Blumhouse Productions. Not saying the micro-budget hurts the film, director David Gelb does the best he can with what he has in terms of lighting and the cast.

 

Speaking of the cast, they are all pretty much likeable with the little time we have with them. We actually get to spend time with them before everything goes to wrong. Zoe and Frank were actually going to get married three years prior to the events of the film before they got a grant to start experimenting with the Lazarus Serum. Zoe is religious and Frank is a man of science, so the two do get into a conversation what happens when you die with Eva (Bolger), which brings up some of the questions of science vs. religion, but also the question of morality about brining someone back from the dead.

 

Evan Peters plays Clay, who is the comic relief of the film and plays the smart stoner of the group. Donald Glover plays Niko, who is never fully developed other than he has a crush on Zoe and has known her for a while. Sarah Bolger’s Eva is the outsider of the group as she comes in to document the group, and when everything goes wrong she starts to develop a little more as a character.

 

Like I mentioned, the film itself asks the question, what happens when you bring someone back to life? Will they be the same person or different? Better yet, what happens scientifically to the body? The Lazarus Effect does delve into these issues a bit for the first half of the film and even makes few solid points, but Zoe becomes Evil Zoe, it forgets all the science and becomes less interesting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a slasher film, but when a movie introduces some actual questions about morals or anything that’s worthwhile to ask, and then avoids it, I lose interest.

 

Since we spend some time with these characters we understand why Frank decides to use the Lazarus Serum on Zoe. He loves her and doesn’t want to lose her, so when he knows the Serum works at least for bringing someone back – after testing it on the dog we see early in the film and ads – we get it. Of course the question we the audience ask ourselves is, should he do it?

 

Again, the film balances itself on science, supernatural, religion – only briefly – and trope-filled horror elements. Sadly, by the end it follows more of the latter. Not saying it isn’t good, but after everything they set up at the beginning, it was a bit disheartening to see it go into what it became.

 

All in all, The Lazarus Effect asks some big questions, but doesn’t really answer them in a good way, if at all. The performances helps the film be more than other films about the same subject out there, it just sucks that it didn’t really reach its full potential.

 

 

The Lazarus Effect

3 out of 5

March Movie Release

Hello there!

 

Can you believe it’s March already? Anyway, besides it being my birth month(!) there are some great films coming out in March that we can look forward to. Let’s start listing them shall we

 

(All releases date are based on IMDB and Box Office Mojo. The list has wide release and large limited releases.)

 

6th

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Faults: The movie follows an expert on mind control played by Leland Orser, who is hired by Claire’s (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) parents to take her away from a cult called Faults and try to break their grip on their daughter. The film is a combination of comedy, drama, and thriller and is produced by the team that made You’re Next and The Guest, which I’m huge fan of. The film is also directed by Winstead’s husband Riley Stearns which is nice to see.

 

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: The sequel to the surprising hit from a couple years ago that brings back the veteran cast of Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Judi Dench, and Dev Patel. This time they have Richard Gere added into the mix. I didn’t see the first film so I don’t think I’ll be catching this.

 

Unfinished Business: Vince Vaughn leads this comedy about a new business owner that takes his new associates (Tom Wikinson and Dave Franco) on a trip to close a big deal they need in order stop their business from going under. The movie looks pretty funny and has the characters going on some crazy adventures like getting involved in a police riot and being involved in some crazy drinking game.

 

Chappie: Neill Blomkamp’s new film has a world where crime is patrolled by a mechanized police force, but one droid, the titled Chappie voice by Sharlto Copley) is stolen and given new programming by Deon played by Dev Patel, and is the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself. Blomkamp has become a fast growing name and Chappie looks like another film that will get him up there. The film also stars Sigourney Weaver and Hugh Jackman as a man trying to get Chappie and destroy him.

 

 

13th

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Run All Night: Liam Neeson plays an aging hitman that is forced to take on his former boss, played by Ed Harris, to protect his son (Joel Kinnaman) after a failed assassination attempt. The movie looks pretty good and honestly anything with Neeson kicking some ass is worth the price of admission. The stakes looked to stacked against the father-son duo as they have a hitman (Common) and corrupt cops (led by Vincent D’Onofrio) after them.

 

Cinderella: Kenneth Branagh brings a Disney princess to life in the ongoing live-action adaptations of old Disney films with Cinderella. Downton Abbey star Lily James is tackling the big role playing Cinderella with Helena Bonham Carter playing her Fairy Godmother, Cate Blanchett playing Lady Tremaine aka evil Stepmother, Richard Madden playing Prince Charming and Hayley Atwell playing Cinderella’s Mother, which it looks might be a bigger role in the live action adaptation than the animated film. I’m not quite sold on the film just yet after Maleficent and Snow White and the Huntsman both where a bit underwhelming.

 

 

20th

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Do You Believe?: Another religious film that has different stories converging together. I’m not a religious film type of guy, not because I don’t think they’re any good, but I’m not the demographic for that type of film. The films has some note-worthy names like Sean Astin, Alexa PenaVega, Mira Sorvino, Ted McGinley and Cybill Shepherd.

 

Danny Collins: Al Pacino plays the title character who is an aging rock star who decides to change his life after he discovers a 40-year old letter written by John Lennon. The film also stars Bobby Cannavale, Jennifer Garner, Annette Bening, and Christopher Plummer. I’ve seen the trailer twice now and I’m not entirely convinced, but might give it a chance.

 

The Gunman: When you think Sean Penn do you think action star? Yeah, I don’t either, but that’s what we’re getting with Pierre Morel (Taken) directed action drama The Gunman that has Penn playing a former Special Forces soldier with PTSD that sets to clear his name to be with the one he loves. The movie is based on a novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette and the movie has a jam packed cast of Idris Elba, Javier Bardem, and Ray Winstone.

 

The Divergent Series: Insurgent: The sequel to Divergent, it brings back the cast of the first film and adds some new actors like Jonny Weston, Naomi Watts, and Octavia Spencer. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first film so I don’t know if I’ll continue to support the series.

 

 

27th

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Serena: Based on the book by Ron Rash, the film is set in North Carolina during the Depression and George Pemberton’s (Bradley Cooper) timber empire becomes complicated when he marries Serena (Jennifer Lawrence). The film out in a very limited release late last year but is getting another limited release in theaters this month. I haven’t really heard anything good about the film and have not read the book, so who knows what’s going to happen. The film also stars Rhys Ifans, Sean Harris, and Toby Jones.

 

While We’re Young: Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts play a middle-age couple whose lives are overturned when they meet a younger couple enter their lives (Amanda Seyfried and Adam Driver). I saw the trailer to this, never hearing about it before, and I have to say this actually looks pretty good.

 

Home: The animated film follow Oh (voiced by Jim Parsons), an alien who is not liked by his own kind, who lands on Earth and meets Tip (voiced by Rihanna) and goes on a crazy adventure and finds out what it means to be different. The film looks like a fun time and is filled out by a voice cast of Jennifer Lopez and Steve Martin.

 

Get Hard: Will Ferrell plays a millionaire who is committed for fraud and is bound for San Quentin so he turns to Kevin Hart’s character to prep him because he think Hart’s character is a criminal. The movie actually looks pretty funny and the odd couple of Ferrell and Hart looks like it works on screen.