Monthly Rewind of April

Hello, everybody!

The fourth edition of Monthly Rewind is here, and we’re doing April!

I mentioned in the last post that I’m going to change how I did these going forward, and that’s going to happen here. I originally did all the movies I watched that month and gave my reactions to all those movies, good or bad. The new change is that I’ll still be doing that, but this time with only the movies that really left an impression or stood out. I’m not saying I won’t mention the bad movies, but for the most part, it’s going to be the ones that stood out.

If you know something came out during that month, or year, and it’s not on here. It’s a good chance that I haven’t seen it – yes, even after all these years – or I just completely missed it while putting the list together. It’s a lot of movies after all.

Alright, let’s get started with 2010!

 

2010

Kick-Ass

The Losers

The Good the Bad the Weird

A Nightmare on Elm Street

The Human Centipede

Thoughts: Alright, let’s start off with The Human Centipede, you know, the movie that has three people surgically connected to each other ass-to-mouth. I do kind of get why so many people like this movie, but honestly I can’t get behind it myself. I saw it with a crowd that really dug it, and while the movie promised it was the “most grosses movie you’ve ever seen!” it really wasn’t. It fact, beside the general concept, it’s rather tame compared to other movie with a concept like this.

Next is the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street, and oh man did I NOT like this movie. Like at all! While the movie had some descent imaginary, oh man did I NOT like this movie. Like at all! While the movie had some descent imaginary – the only standout to me is the scene when Rooney Mara’s Nancy is “micro-dreaming” in the pharmacy as sees Jackie Earle Haley’s Freddy coming for her – and that is most likely thanks to music director Samuel Bayer (who hasn’t directed another movie since), who gave the movie a grimy feel. The movie itself, from what I can remember, was very generic, with no real bigger standout moments – at least for me. Haley was a good “replacement” for Robert Englund, but the script didn’t do him too many favors.

Kick-Ass, based off the comic of the same name, brought the superhero movie genre to the ground level and made them a little more edgy than what we were getting. It’s also our lead getting the crap beat out of him and having to be saved by a kid, who actually knows what she’s doing. The movie was a nice little breather from other comic book movies, especially with Chloe Grace Moretz’ breakout performance.

The next movie, also a comic book adaptation, is The Losers. Honestly, to me, one of the under-appreciated comic book movies out there. Simple concept, a CIA special forces team are betrayed and they want payback, but it’s definitely held together by the cast and how they all play off each other, the humor, and how ridiculously fun it is. I mean seriously, look at this cast; Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Columbus Short, Oscar Jaenada, Holt McCallany and Jason Patric.

Finally, one of my personal favorites of all time, the Korean hit The Good the Bad the Weird. Set in 1940s Manchuria, two outlaws and a bounty hunter clash over a treasure map, while also being pursued by the Japanese army and a group of bandits. I first saw this at the Chicago International Film Festival, and immediately fell in love with it. The three main leads, the score and the action just blew me away when I first saw it, and still does to this day. Highly recommend if you haven’t seen it yet.

 

 

2011

Insidious

Fast Five

13 Assassins

Thoughts: Let’s start off with Takashi Miike-directed (which should tell you what you’re getting into already) 13 Assassins. The film followed a group of assassins who band together on what is basically a suicide mission to kill an evil lord. I saw this at the no-longer film festival Actionfest, in a packed theater who was already rowdy before the movie even started. That did play a factor in my enjoyment of the movie, but the movie itself is a huge buildup to its massive third act where we see the titled assassins let loose on the lord’s men, and to take a line from the movie it was a “total massacre.”

Next, is the James Wan-directed horror Insidious. This is one of the more modern horror movies that made me audibly gasp in a movie theater along with the whole theater – the famous scene of the lipstick demon behind Patrick Wilson. It’s also James Wan, who at this point I was wholly behind as the new master of horror.

Finally, Fast Five! The movie basically took the reboot route here as the movie was no longer about stealing DVD’s, or working with a crime lord, but instead started becoming heist movies. It introduce Dwayne Johnson to the series and had a, still to this day, exciting and thrilling final act with the Brian and Dom dragging the vault across the streets of Rio.

 

 

2012

The Cabin in the Woods

Lockout

Headhunters

Thoughts: Let’s keep the Actionfest trend going here with the Swedish film Headhunters. The film followed an accomplished headhunter who obtained a valuable painting from a former mercenary (played by Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), and the cat-and-mouse game they play afterwards. To the best of my memory, Headhunters was the third Swedish film I had ever seen, and it was in the dark, mystery drama genre like The Girl in the Dragon Tattoo that I loved.

Next is the forgotten about, Escape from New York knockoff, Lockout. Starring Guy Pearce as an ex-CIA operative who may or may not have committed espionage against the U.S, but instead of going to prison, he’s given a chance to earn his freedom by going on a mission to rescue the president’s daughter from outer space prison that has been taken over by its violent inmates. I’ll be honest, it’s not all that great, but it was rather enjoyable seeing Pearce play it a little more loose and as an action hero for a change.

Finally, The Cabin in the Woods. The meta-horror film that you could make the argument is the be-all-end-all horror film. The cliché horror trope of college kids going to a cabin in the woods and they start getting attacked, until they learn that they are part of something bigger. It’s honestly a super smart horror film with great characters once you really dig deep into it.

 

 

2013

Evil Dead

Thoughts: The rare month where only one real movie stood out to be, and that was the remake/reimaging of Evil Dead. I, like many, was very skeptical about the remake considering the legacy of the franchise already, but DAMN did Fede Alvarez do this movie justice! The gore, the griminess, the dread of it all, I was all for it.

 

 

2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Oculus

The Raid 2

Brick Mansions

Locke

Thoughts: Let’s start off with the remake of District B13, Brick Mansions starring Paul Walker and original film star David Belle. The movie takes the action from France to Detroit, following the bare bones premise of the original; a cop teams up with a resident of the blocked off city run by a crime lord to stop him from devastating the city. Problem is the movie doesn’t have the same flare and substance like the original. Which is a shame since Brick Mansions was the last movie that Paul Walker completed (having shot most of Furious 7 at that point).

Next is the Tom Hardy-led, and really only star of the movie, Locke. The movie followed Hardy’s Locke, a construction manager who gets a call that makes him drive from Birmingham to London at night. So yes, it’s a movie about Hardy sitting in a car driving all night as he takes constant phone calls trying to keep his family life intact. It’s a rather enthralling performance by Hardy, and one that proves Hardy can indeed carry a movie himself.

Moving on to the horror-drama Oculus, directed by Mike Flanagan (Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House series) which starred Karen Gillan as a woman trying to prove that an evil mirror has been behind her families deadly past, and trying to clear her brother’s name. I remember watching this and immediately loving it. It was the first movie I saw with Flanagan’s name on it, and I loved how he edited scenes together almost seamlessly. On top of that, the family drama aspect was good “filler” in between the horror moments.

Next is The Raid 2, the sequel to the heavy-hitting action film The Raid. The sequel takes a different approach by taking the action outside, and upping the ante on the fight scenes, introducing the now famous Hammer Girl, and the awesome final fight between Iko Uwais’ Rama and Cecep Arif Rahman’s The Assassin in a restaurant kitchen. It does have some pacing problems, and takes a more story driven approach for the most part, but The Raid 2 is a wholly worthwhile action sequel.

Finally, let’s talk about, arguably, my favorite movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America: The Winter Solider. Directed by The Russo Brothers, who then took over the MCU directing wise, took a more spy 70s thriller approach to the sequel, giving the movie a completely different feel, and the result worked. I honestly only have one thing that I “dislike” and that’s the return of Toby Jones’ Dr. Zola.

 

 

2015

Furious 7

Ex Machina

Thoughts: Let’s start off with Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, the sci-fi thriller that was the talk of the town and year for those that ended up watching this in theaters. The film lead by Domhnall Gleeson as a programmer who is selected to participate in an inclusive ground-breaking experiment involving A.I., played by Alicia Vikander, created by Oscar Isaac’s Nathan. The film was completely thought-provoking, and all of that was because of the cast who one-hundred percent committed to everything in the film, including a dance sequence by Isaac and Sonoya Mizuno.

Then we have Furious 7, the last Fast & Furious film that starred Paul Walker, and one of the more personal films in the series. The thing that everyone remembers from the movie is the tribute to Walker and his character at the end, which is fair, since it was a touching tribute. The movie was also directed by James Wan, which was refreshing (he did have a non-horror movie at this point in Death Sentence), and it was the last movie directed by series writer Chris Morgan (who started writing the movies since Tokyo Drift).

 

 

2016

Hardcore Henry

The Jungle Book

Sing Street

Thoughts: Let’s start off with the “one-shot” first-person view action movie Hardcore Henry. The movie’s concept came from the viral music videos from the band Biting Elbows like “Bad Motherfucker” which was also directed by the movie’s director Ilya Naishuller. So yes, the movie is basically like a video game. The action scenes are pretty well thought out, and you could actually tell what’s going on for the most part, but it’s definitely not for everyone, especially the easily motion-sickness people.

Let’s go from one ambitious movie to another one in Disney’s The Jungle Book. I didn’t have the same connection to the animated movie like a lot of people do, so I was pretty much going in freshly minded. Thankfully, the movie surprised the hell out of me, cause I really dug it. The big takeaway was of course what Jon Favreau was able to pull off with the special effects, which were highly impressive and groundbreaking, and something Favreau brought with him to do the new Lion King movie this year.

Finally, let’s talk Sing Street. This was one I didn’t know too much about before watching. I had seen the trailer once, and thought it looked okay, but the movie itself was great! The film is set in Dublin during the 80s, and follows a group of kids start a band, mainly done by one kid who wants to impress a girl (of course), at a catholic school. It’s a very well done coming-of-age story with an amazing original soundtrack. Look for it if you hadn’t seen it.

 

 

2017

Colossal

The Fate of the Furious

Free Fire

Thoughts: Okay, let’s start off with The Fate of the Furious, the eighth installment of the Fast & Furious franchise, but it’s on here not for the reason that you think. I, like some I’m sure, saw Fate of the Furious as a massive step down from the last movie, and you can make the argument that it was because it was hard for the franchise to continue without one of the franchise’s leads. It was a huge question mark, and for the most part, they really didn’t execute it too much. Then there was some of the behind-the-scenes stuff between Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, and Diesel with Universal. Unfortunately, we now have to wait a little longer to see if the series can bounce back since F9 is now delayed a whole year (Hobbs & Shaw doesn’t count since it’s a spinoff).

Next is the Anne Hathaway-led Colossal, which followed Hathaway’s Gloria, an out-of-work party girl who is forced to leave her lifestyle in New York and has to go back to her small town home. While she gets accustomed to her now new life, a giant creature ends up attack Seoul, South Korea and eventually she learns she had a connection to it. And if you haven’t seen the movie or read anything about, DON’T. Go watch the movie just with that information, because Colossal is one of the prime movies that lives us to the motto “the less you know, the better.” I will admit that the reveal and what follows is kind of wacky, but director Nacho Vigalondo is known for wacky concepts (watch is other great film Timecrimes from 2007)

Finally, Free Fire, which immediately jumped to my favorites of all time list after one watch. The movie is set in Boston during the late 70s, where two gangs meet at a warehouse to make a deal, but of course, it goes wrong and a shoot-out ensues. The movie is held together by its impressive cast of Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Jack Reynor and Sharlto Colpey; to name a few. Highly recommend.

 

 

2018

A Quiet Place

Isle of Dogs

Avengers: Infinity War

Thoughts: Now, to probably and arguably, the best April of this list, we’ll start off with Wes Anderson’s stop-motion/CGI film Isle of Dogs. I know Anderson isn’t for everybody, and I really just started getting into Anderson myself. I did like Isle of Dogs, but I’d be lying if I said I preferred this to The Fantastic Mr. Fox, because I love Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Next let’s talk about A Quiet Place, directed by John Krasinski, which followed a family trying to live in a post-apocalyptic world that is haunted by monsters that are ultra-sensitive hearing. The movie itself is almost like a silent-movie, and movie experience was something that really took people by surprise. People took online to say that their theaters were absolutely silent as to not ruin the experience, and when a movie can do that, especially a horror movie, that’s saying something.

Finally, the last movie of the list is Avengers: Infinity War. The culmination, at that point, of the Marvel Cinematic Universe which is wholly remembered for the ending. The ending of a comic book where the heroes lose and the villain, although some make the argument that Thanos was the hero, so he’s the hero? Regardless, ten years of superhero movies, all coming down to this, what a way to leave the theater, and for Marvel to take the chance? Oh boy!

 

And that’s it everyone. Admittedly, this was still a lot movies, but I can’t help that enjoy a lot of movies more than others. But more importantly, I want to know what you guys think about this. Let me know what your favorite movies in February were?

‘A Quiet Place’ Review

Director: John Krasinski

Writers: Bryan Woods, Scott Beck and John Krasinski

Cast: Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe and John Krasinski

Synopsis: A family is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound.

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

Silence in horror films is always used in two ways. One, it’s used before a jump scare to scare the crap out of you, but since we’ve seen so many horror films we can predict those most of the time. Two, a way to set something up – most likely before a jump scare right before the killer or monster pulls a character out of their hiding place. But, what John Krasinski has done for A Quiet Place, his first directed horror film mind you, is something special. Not only the movie mostly a silent film, but silence almost feels like its own character.

A Quiet Place follows a small family of father Lee (John Krasinski), mother Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and their two children, Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Regan (Millicent Simmonds) – although their names are never said during the movie, only in the credits – as they try to survive after creatures have destroyed, what seems like most of the country. What makes matters worse, is the creatures are attracted to sound, so staying silent is key to surviving this new world. However, staying silent isn’t as easy as you think.

I’ll start off by saying, if you are not a fan of slow-burning horror, you probably won’t enjoy most of A Quiet Place, especially since most of the movie is silent, and most of the dialogue is said through sign language. It also takes a while to become a full-blown monster movie. That being said, that’s one of the reasons why I loved the film. A Quiet Place also works as a drama, and an effective one, because we get to know the characters from the very beginning and we care about them enough until the credits roll.

However, credit where credit is due to John Krasinski, who has only directed two feature films. Both have fallen into drama and comedy, but watching this, you would assume Krasinski has directed more than that. Not only that, you would think he’d directed some horror movies. His decision to make this a nearly silent movie is both ambitious and a risk, and one that completely pays off in the end. Even some of the decisions he makes his characters take, like creating a system with light bulbs to let others know the monsters are nearby, or even creating a sound suppressing box for the baby. Of course, there’s more, but that’s getting into spoiler territory.

Top that off with the cast he was able to get. Krasinski’s father figure tries his best to protect his family and even teaches his young son how to catch fish, which isn’t even the most touching scene in the movie. Emily Blunt as the mother is absolutely fantastic in this, and pretty much gets the most out of the movie, as her character is pregnant for most of the movie (not really a spoiler guys). Newcomer, Millicent Simmonds, as the daughter has a very prominent role that thankfully wasn’t spoiled in the trailers, so I won’t even hint at it here either. Unfortunately, Noah Jupe doesn’t get enough development, but out of everyone, he does have the best fear face (is that a thing?).

When it comes to the monsters, it takes a long while before we get a get look at what they look like. The design is rather interesting, especially once you realize that Krasinski actually changed the design at the last minute, and while the monsters probably aren’t ground-breaking new they are extremely vicious.

All in all, A Quiet Place is an effective horror thriller, and even a drama. Using silence as a key element has been done before, but I’ve personally never seen it the way Krasinski used it here in the film. The film only has a few minor missteps, but nothing that really takes away from the film. Personally, I loved A Quiet Place, and this is how horror thrillers should be done in my book.

A Quiet Place

4.5 out of 5

April Movie Releases

Well hello there!

It’s April, and to some studios, it’s the unofficial start of the Summer Movie Season. That said, this year could really take the cake, as Marvel pulled the unthinkable coup of moving their biggest films, and one of the most highly-anticipated movies of the year to this month. Let’s take a look shall we?

 

6th

Limited Release: Pandas

In the mountains of Sichuan, China, a researcher forms a bond with Qian Qian, a panda who is about to experience nature for the first time.

 

Limited Release: You Were Never Really Here

Based off the book by Jonathan Ames, and written and directed by Lynne Ramsay (We Need to Talk About Kevin), a traumatized veteran, unafraid of violence, tracks down missing girls for a living. When a job spins out of control, Joe’s nightmares overtake him as a conspiracy is uncovered leading to what may be his death trip or his awakening. The film also stars Alex Manette, John Doman, Ekaterina Samsonov and Judith Roberts.

 

The Miracle Season

After the tragic death of star-volleyball player Caroline “Line” Found (Danika Yarosh), a team of dispirited high school girls must band together under the guidance of their tough-love coach in hopes of winning the state championship. The movie co-stars Erin Moriarty, Helen Hunt and William Hurt.

 

Chappaquiddick

Ted Kennedy’s (Jason Clarke) life and political career become derailed after he is involved in a fatal 1969 car accident that claims the life of a young campaign strategist, Mary Jo Kopechne (Kate Mara). The trailers have been rather weird to me, and while it’s based on a real event, I’ve never actually heard about this. However, with a cast like this, it could be good. The film also stars Ed Helms, Clancy Brown, Jim Gaffigan, Olivia Thirlby and Bruce Dern.

 

Blockers

Three parents (Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz and John Cena) try to stop their daughters from having sex on Prom night. I’m pretty sure the concept itself lends itself to being a little funny, and after seeing the trailer, I feel like that’s true to say. The movie does look like it’s going to go into the cringy and maybe raunchy area, but the sight of seeing John Cena playing against type will probably be fun. Blockers co-stars Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan, Gideon Adlon and Colton Dunn.

 

A Quiet Place

Directed and co-written by John Krasinski, a family lives an isolated existence in utter silence, for feat of an unknown threat that follows and attack at any sound. Krasinski also stars along his real-life wife, Emily Blunt. The concept is awesome, and I can’t wait to see what Krasinski does with it. I mean, not only are we getting a brand new horror film, but a horror film where you can’t make a sound otherwise a monster – which we haven’t seen yet, which is great – will get you. Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe co-star as the children.

 

11th

Beirut

A U.S. diplomat (Jon Hamm) flees Lebanon in 1972 after a tragic incident at his home. Ten years later, he is called back to war-torn Beirut by a CIA operative (Rosamund Pike) to negotiate for the life of a friend he left behind. Beirut co-stars Shea Whigham, Mark Pellegrino, Douglas Hope and Dean Norris.

 

13th

Borg vs. McEnroe

The story of the 1980s tennis rivalry between the placid Bjorn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason) and the volatile John McEnore (Shia LaBeouf). Borg vs. McEnroe co-stars Stellan Skarsgard, Tuva Novotny and Robert Emms.

 

Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero

The true story of the most decorated dog in American military history — Sgt. Stubby — and the enduring bonds he forged with his brothers-in-arms in the trenches of World War I. The voice cast includes Logan Lerman, Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Ezzell and Gerard Depardieu.

 

Truth or Dare

A harmless game of Truth or Dare among friends turns deadly when someone – or something – begins to punish those who tell a lie or refuse the dare. Let’s be honest, a movie about the game we played at parties when we were younger sounds dumb, but at this point, we shouldn’t probably doubt Blumhouse Productions at this point. They’ve already done Happy Death Day, which is basically Groundhog Day, but Truth or Dare looks rather odd. I don’t know if it’s the way they change the people’s faces when they are “controlled” or what, but I don’t know. Truth or Dare stars Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane, Hayden Szeto, Nolan Gerard Funk, Sophia Ali, Aurora Perrineau, Morgan Lindholm and Sam Lerner.

 

Rampage

Based on the classic 1980s video game, Primatologist Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) shares an unshakable bond with George, an intelligent silverback gorilla that’s been in his care since birth. When a rogue genetic experiment goes wrong, it causes George, a wolf and a reptile to grow to a monstrous size. As the mutated beasts embark on a path of destruction, Okoye teams up with discredited genetic engineer, Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) and the military to secure an antidote and prevent a global catastrophe. I mean come on, it’s giant animals fighting each other with The Rock. Rampage co-stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Joe Manganiello, Marley Shelton, Jake Lacy, Jack Quaid, P.J. Byrne and Malin Akerman.

 

20th

Traffik

A couple off for a romantic weekend in the mountains are accosted by a bike gang. Alone in the mountains, Brea and John must defend themselves against the gang, who will stop at nothing to protect their secrets. Traffik stars Paula Patton, Omar Epps, Roselyn Sanchez, Laz Alonso, Dawn Olivieri, Luke Goss, Missi Pyle and William Fichtner.

 

I Feel Pretty

A woman (Amy Schumer) struggling with insecurity wakes from a fall believing she is the most beautiful and capable woman on the planet. Her new confidence empowers her to live fearlessly, but what happens when she realizes her appearance never changed? I’m not the biggest fan of Amy Schumer, I’d probably even say I’m not, but I kind of enjoyed Trainwreck and Snatched, but those movies looked at least okay and funny. This does not. I Feel Pretty co-stars Michelle Williams, Busy Phillips, Aidy Bryant, Rory Scovel, Tom Hopper, Emily Ratajkowski and Naomi Campbell.

 

Super Troopers 2

A sequel that was funded by crowd-sourcing; when a border dispute arises between the U.S. and Canada, the Super Troopers are tasked with establishing a Highway Patrol station in the disputed area. I can’t honestly remember if I liked or enjoy the first movie – I haven’t seen it in a while – and the trailers haven’t really grabbed me in the way I think it should for a comedy sequel that fans have been dying to see. The original cast will return with Rob Lowe, Emmanuelle Chriqui and Tyler Labine also starring.

 

27th

Limited Release – Disobedience

Based on the novel by Naomi Alderman, a woman returns to the community that shunned her for her attraction to a childhood friend. Once back, their passions reignite as they explore the boundaries of faith and sexuality. Disobedience is lead by Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams.

 

Avengers: Infinity War

The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe. Marvel pulled the ultimate surprising move by moving Infinity War a week earlier than original intended, much to fans praise. This also makes this first Summer Movie Season where a Marvel film won’t open in the last few years. Either way, we finally get the ten-years-in-the-making film early and I’m okay with that.

New Podcast – Deadpool 2 Teaser, Another Ben Affleck/DCEU Rumor & More

The Movie Pit Podcast is up!

Remember the podcast is also on iTunes, if listening on Youtube is too inconvenient. Also, I’m doing special Q&A section on the podcast next week, since it’s a holiday, so SEND ME QUESTIONS! Movie or non-movie related are welcomed. Finally, be on the look out for a review of Justice League this weekend.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-movie-pit-podcast/id1249582608?mt=2