Monthly Rewind for July

Hello, everybody!

The sixth edition of Monthly Rewind is here, and we’re doing July!

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

The Last Airbender

[REC] 2

Inception

Thoughts: Okay, let’s just get this one out of the way, M. Night Shyamalan’s adaptation of the hit animated series, The Last Airbender. I’m going to be honest, I have never finished the series, so I was going in with limited knowledge of the series, but even I knew that this movie wasn’t it. Forget the way too many close-ups – especially in a 3D movie – and a lack of character connections and changes, The Last Airbender suffers from being rather boring a lot of time. It saves everything for its “bombastic” third-act that was given away in EVERY trailer and TV spot.

Next is the sequel to the Spanish found-footage horror film, [REC]. The sequel picks up pretty much immediately after the first film, now following a SWAT team going into the building that has been closed off due to a virus, to find someone inside that could help with an antidote. I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t seen it, but I loved the first [REC] and while the sequel ups the action – given that these characters have guns – the sequel also changes the whole dynamic of the first movie and does something pretty cool to change it up. I’d definitely do a double-feature night, if you haven’t watched the movies before.

Finally, Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending sci-fi film Inception. And no, I’m not going to discuss if the ending was a dream or not, I have my opinion but that’s a WHOLE other post. Regardless, Inception does do everything to keep you on track on what level of the dream they’re in. If anything, you should appreciate the cast Nolan was able to put together.

 

 

2011

Horrible Bosses

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Attack the Block

Captain America: The First Avenger

Thoughts: Let’s start off with the comedy Horrible Bosses, following three friends (Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis) who hate their bosses that one night they think of the ways to kill them, and hire a “murder consultant” in MF Jones (Jamie Foxx). I didn’t think too much of Horrible Bosses before I saw it, but after watching the movie, I feel hard for it. The movie works when Bateman, Day and Sudeikis just let loose.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is next on the list, and while I wasn’t the biggest Potterhead out there (I stopped reading the books after Goblet of Fire) my investment came straight from what I was seeing on screen, and not a previous knowledge like many that were probably watching. That said, I still felt the weight of a franchise I grew up watching was coming to an end.

Next is the British alien invasion film Attack the Block. Featuring the feature film debut of John Boyega and a pre-Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker as residents in a block in South London that is invaded by aliens who are trying to break into the building. I instantly feel in love with this movie after the first watch. The movie has a young cast and Whittaker and a small role by Nick Frost as a dealer to punch up some of the scenes. It’s a great watch if you haven’t watched it yet.

Finally, Captain America: The First Avenger, a bonafide prequel to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Chris Evans brings Steve Rogers aka Captain America to life seeing his humble beginnings to turning into a superhero and a symbol of hope during the war. Add in Hugo Weaving’s portrayal as the villainous Red Skull, a touching performance by Stanley Tucci and a great and breakout performance by Hayley Atwell as Steve’s love interest Peggy Carter, Captain America: The First Avenger is arguably the best movie in Marvel’s Phase One.

 

 

2012

The Dark Knight Rises

The Amazing Spider-Man

Thoughts:  Well, look at this. Let’s start off with The Dark Knight Rises, which was the final outing of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series with Christian Bale playing Bruce/Batman going up against a powerful new enemy, Bane (Tom Hardy), who takes Gotham hostage by force and effectively. Rises gets a lot of hate, and while some of it may be justified, I think taking some time away from the movie “lessens” the hate. No, the movie isn’t perfect, or a great conclusion after the great The Dark Knight, but Rises is a descent cap off to the Nolan films.

Now, let’s move on from DC and a final installment, to Marvel/Sony and the hopeful beginning/reboot of The Amazing Spider-Man. Only five years after Sam Raimi’s last outing in Spider-Man 3 – a fourth installment was in the works, but Sony and Raimi didn’t agree on how to go with it – Sony Pictures went the reboot route with 500 Days of Summer director Marc Webb and Andrew Garfield to play the iconic hero. Retelling the story of Peter as he’s bitten by a genetically altered spider that gives him powers and becomes the hero, Spider-Man, while trying to juggle his own life with Aunt May (Sally Field) after the death of Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen), his high school doings with a growing crush on Gwen Stacy (played wonderfully by Emma Stone), and being hunted down by Dr. Curt Connors’ alter-ego The Lizard (Rhys Ifans).

I actually enjoyed The Amazing Spider-Man, and thought Garfield’s Peter was descent enough, but the inclusion of Gwen Stacy as the main love interest was a good way to set it apart from Raimi’s films. Of course, Sony couldn’t help itself and ruined the potential franchise.

 

 

2013

The Lone Ranger

The Conjuring

Pacific Rim

Thoughts: The Lone Ranger got A LOT of flak when it came out. Most of it, at first, steamed from the public behind-the-scenes troubles with the budget and changing scripts. Then the movie came out and people still weren’t too big on it. The movie did suffer from tonal whiplash at times, plus it was a tad bit longer that it should have been – especially for a Disney movie. While even I wasn’t the biggest fan of it, I did find some of it decently enjoyable. The final action sequence on the train while the familiar theme plays throughout was actually pretty damn great.

Let’s move on to James Wan’s The Conjuring, the horror film that made a huge buzz when it came out. The movie is based on one of the case files by paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), who help a family after moving into to their new farmhouse that is haunted by an evil presence. The movie had some added layers going for it as a photo went around that a priest had blessed a theater after people started to experience things or pass out – much like The Exorcist when it first came out. The movie was rated-R, despite not having any gore or swearing in it, and the trailer that showed the “clapping game.”

I would arguably say that The Conjuring is one of Wan’s best films, especially horror, but given the film’s success – and spinoffs – I think it speaks for itself.

 

 

2014

Boyhood

Begin Again

The Purge: Anarchy

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Thoughts:  Let’s start off with Richard Linklater’s experimental 12-year film, Boyhood. Following the life of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from early childhood until his arrival at college, the film was definitely a passion project for Linklater and a testament to his filmmaking and patience, and the cast as well, to getting this done. The movie itself, is just fine, unfortunately.

Next is the indie musical dramedy Begin Again, with Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley. The film followed a disgraced music executive who happens to meet a young singer-songwriter, new to Manhattan, and strikes up a partnership to create something new, with a group of equally talented individuals. Begin Again is a great indie film with an equally great soundtrack that makes it worth every minute.

The Purge: Anarchy took the interesting concept from the first movie and allowed it to have more room to play. Moving the action from inside a house to the streets of Los Angeles with more characters and its political themes starting to creep out more. Honestly, this is personally my favorite of the Purge movies, and in my opinion, the best one.

Finally, the second of the rebooted Planet of the Apes movies, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Moving the action years after the first movie, and following a group of human survivors who now live in a world ruled by apes, Caesar (Andy Serkis) tries to keep the peace as much as he can, despite a rival ape, Koba (motion captured by Toby Kebbell) seeing the humans as a waste of time. The movie upped the action, drama and ape scenes that continued the soon to be trilogy.

 

 

2015

The Gallows

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Thoughts: Ugh, The Gallows. I never hated myself for watching a movie while I watching it – that feeling usually comes after – but this one did it. The concept is fine; 20 years after a horrific accident during a small town school play, students at the school resurrect the failed show to honor the anniversary, but when they go to practice at the school at night, something starts to haunt them. I like that, and there is probably one or two shots that look cool, but the movie is terrible with characters that I couldn’t connect or root for at all!

The marketing also tried really hard to try to make the villain character as classic horror villain like Michael Myers, Jason or Freddy – which really should have been the telling for me.

Next is the adaptation of one of my favorite books, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – although the book was just titled “Me, Earl and the Dying Girl” by Jesse Andrews (who also wrote the film). The film followed high-schooler Greg (Thomas Mann), who spends his time making parodies of classic movies with his co-worker Earl (RJ Clyer), when they eventually befriend Rachel (Olivia Cooke), a classmate, who’s been diagnosed with cancer. The film was a pretty good adaptation of the book, slightly changing some things, and expanding on others. Highly recommend both if you haven’t read or seen them.

Finally, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. The first movie to start continuing their stories from the last film including bringing back characters like Jeremy Renner’s Brandt, Simon Pegg’s Benji and Ving Rhames’ Luther. The movie follows Ethan as he tries to stop an unknown organization from causing chaos and getting stronger. The movie also gave us the introduction of one of the better female characters in the series Ilsa Faust, played by Rebecca Ferguson.

 

 

2016

Captain Fantastic

Ghostbusters

Lights Out

Train to Busan

Thoughts: Captain Fantastic gets a special mention here because it’s one of the rare movies I’ve seen Viggo Mortensen in, where he’s not surrounded by Hobbits or elves.

Let’s move on to the much-talked about female-led Ghostbusters, directed by Paul Feig. The movie gets a LOT of hate for whatever reason you want to insert from fans, I however, did end up enjoying the movie for what it was. Is it a little too much with jokes not really landing sometimes? Yes. Does the core cast of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon work? Yes. Is Chris Hemsworth good in the movie? Yes. The movie itself? It’s fine.

Next is the surprisingly good Lights Out. Based on the (also good) short film by David F. Sandberg – who got the chance to direct the feature – the short was simple, when the lights go out, a monster appears. The movie expands on that concept and follows a mother (Teresa Palmer) who’s little brother is seeing a monster every time the lights go out, and it may be connected to her mother’s past. I watched the short when it first came out and loved it. So when I heard the movie was coming out, with James Wan producing of all people, I was thrilled to watch it.

Thankfully, the movie was effective and the expansion worked for the most part. It gets a little clunky when it’s trying to unpack the backstory, but the scares are effective.

Lastly, the excellent South Korean zombie horror action film Train to Busan. The film follows a group of survivors who try to keep a zombie virus outbreak come affecting them while on a train from Seoul to Busan. The film is effective on every level from the zombie action, to the actual characters we get to know from the focal point of a father trying to keep his estranged daughter safe, to married couple trying to work things out a group of school kids and more.

 

 

2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming

War for the Planet of the Apes

The Big Sick

Atomic Blonde

Dunkirk

Thoughts: Let’s first talk about The Big Sick, a semi-autobiographic account of the real-life early relationship between Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. The two wrote the screenplay together with Kumail playing himself and Zoe Kazan playing Emily. The film is very heartfelt, funny and charming, and the fact that it’s loosely based on what really happened, Kumail and Emily falling for each other, the culture clash, and Emily contacting a mysterious illness, The Big Sick works on every level it can to keep you invested.

Let’s talk now about Atomic Blonde, the first solo outing of David Leitch, who co-directed John Wick, and starred Charlize Theron as an undercover MI6 agent who is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to find a missing list of double agents when one of the agency’s agents is killed. The was drench in nostalgia from the clothing, music and style, with a great supporting cast of James McAvoy, Sofia Boutella, John Goodman, Toby Jones, Bill Skarsgard and Eddie Marsan. But I’m sure the big thing that got people going was the action. We were all familiar now with what Leitch and his stunt team 87eleven were no capable of and Atomic Blonde didn’t hold back its punches. Atomic Blonde may just be an okay movie, but the action, especially the final act’s “long take” action scene, is what makes Atomic Blonde stick out.

Next is Spider-Man: Homecoming, which works on two levels as it’s yet another Sony reboot to Spider-Man, but this time it brings Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man was already introduced in Captain America: Civil War, but this was his, mostly, first solo outing. Holland does a great job of bringing a believably young Peter to the big screen, as he deals with high school including his crush Liz (Laura Harrier), keeping his secret from Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), trying to impress Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) and not trying to get killed by The Vulture/Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton).

I know there are people that have problems with Homecoming, which is fair, because even I know Homecoming isn’t entirely great, but we got Spider-Man back in the MCU which was a great move by Sony.

Finally, Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. The war film which is told through different perspectives that all merge together showing the rescue of Allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk as the German army closes in. The film is highlighted by Hans Zimmer’s score that is playing throughout the film, almost non-stop and the cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema.

 

 

2018

Sorry to Bother You

Teen Titans GO! To the Movies

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Thoughts: Sorry to Bother You gets a shout out here because of how freaking OUT-THERE it is, especially the longer it keeps going. The less you know about the movie, especially this one, the better the craziness is. However, if you do watch this, please STICK. WITH. IT.

Next is probably one of my biggest surprises in a long time, Teen Titans Go! To the Movies. Based on the new-style animated series, the meta approach of the movie saw the Teen Titans, mainly Robin, trying to get his own movie as superhero films are the big trend in Hollywood. The movie was just funny on all accounts and I loved it!

Finally, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, the last outing of the IMF – movie-wise with the seventh and eighth installment on the way (eventually) – where Ethan and his team try to stop a global nuclear war from happening. I don’t know where Fallout falls in the ranking of Mission: Impossible movies, but Fallout does have an awesome chase sequence in the streets of Paris.

 

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 July were?

My Worst, Disappointing, Least-Like Movies of the Year

It’s the end of the year boys and girls, you know what that means? It’s list time!

I’ll put up my list of “Best/Favorite” movies of the year later, but with all those best and favorite movies I have, I had to sit through some stinkers. Some of these I knew weren’t going to be any good walking in, but I ended up taking the hit anyway. The list ranges all over the place, so don’t think I’m attacking certain movies because it’s easy. I walk into every movie with a clear mind and soaking up the movie for what it’s worth. Good or bad.

The list will have the movies in alphabetical order, just to be fair, and because I really don’t want to go through the trouble anymore of picking a number one because they weren’t good enough to make it on my other list. Like all lists, this is my opinion! So if you don’t agree that’s perfectly fine, and probably justified. Finally, there are other movies that could have gone on the list, but these are the ones that truly stuck out. Alright, let’s get this over with.

 

Dishonorable Mentions

Blackhat (Universal Pictures/Legendary Pictures/Forward Pass)

Hitman: Agent 47 (20th Century Fox/TSG Entertainment/Infinite Frameworks Studios/Fox International Productions)

Hot Tube Time Machine 2 (Paramount Pictures/MGM)

Taken 3 (20th Century Fox/EuropaCorp/Canal+/TSG Entertainment/M6 Films/Cine+)

The Transporter Refueled (EuropaCorp/Fundamental Films/TF1 Films Productions/Belga Films/Canal+)

 

 

Disappointments/Least-Liked/Worst Movies of the Year

Aloha (Sony Pictures/Fox/Columbia Pictures/Vinyl Films)

Cameron Crowe’s latest film was hit with criticism with “white-washing” and keeping the film from critics to review just a couple days before release (not the only film on this list that did that). However, watching the film you can see why they kept it away from critics. Aloha had a great cast of Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, John Krasinski, and Bill Murray. Sadly, they couldn’t save this. The film tries to have high stakes, but only when it wants to, and it even felt ridiculous at times. Overall, the film was very uneven that at times made the film boring.

aloha

Fantastic Four (Fox/Marvel Entertainment/Marv Films/TSG Entertainment)

This one definitely goes into the disappointing and worst section. 20th Century Fox can’t nail down “Marvel’s First Family,” and it is strike three for them. Of course, it didn’t help that there was so much behind-the-scenes drama between the studio and director Josh Trank, and the troubling reshoots and scenes in the trailer that are nowhere in the film. Despite all that, like I said in my review: The fans lose in this, not Fox or Trank, us because we want to see a good Fantastic Four movie and what we got crap. Started out good, but crap nonetheless.

fantastic-four-poster

Jupiter Ascending (Warner Bros./Village Roadshow Pictures/Dune Entertainment)

I really wanted to like this movie more than I did. There are some great scenes in there, but the film felt way too big for its own good. The Wachowskis seemed like they were doing a lot of world building, but it all felt too condense and rushed with nothing having time to breathe. Dare I say, it probably would have worked better as a mini-series instead of a movie, but that’s just my opinion. The first sign was indeed the release date switch, when they pushed back the release date by a year.

jupiter_ascending_ver3

Maggie (Liongates/Roadside Attractions/Grindstone Entertainment Group/Gold Star Films/Lotus Entertainment/Silver Reel/Gold Star Films/Matt Baer Films)

I wasn’t expecting too much of Maggie, but I walked in open-minded (as always) to watch a different take of the zombie genre. Arnold Schwarzenegger as a father dealing with his daughter, played by Abigail Breslin, being infected with virus that is turning people into zombies was interesting to see. However, Maggie’s slow burn didn’t really do the film any favors as the film felt too slow at times and when something powerful happened it took me a while to actually register it because I had to catch up at times. One thing that made me put the film on the list was the ending. The ending looked like it was going to go down a very powerful route, but instead went out in a whimper, and didn’t take the risk that that film could have really made and where they were potentially hinting at. I will say that Arnold as a father figure was great to see.

maggie

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (Paramount Pictures/Blumhouse Productions)

I was a fan and defender of the Paranormal Activity films up until the third installment, and I enjoyed most of the spinoff The Marked Ones, but the series showed signs of losing it during the fourth installment. It seemed like the series just didn’t care anymore, and while it tried to add new things to the series, it just never kicked off the way they probably thought it would. As for The Ghost Dimension, the last of the series, it just didn’t do it for me. The supposed answers we were promised were rushed and lackluster, and the ending was just weak and not a good end to the series at all. The movie felt like just another installment that was setting up the real final installment. Another case of a good series losing it momentum by the end, and overstaying its welcome.

paranormal_activity_the_ghost_dimension

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/Happy Madison Productions)

I didn’t walk in really expecting much from this. I’ll admit, I enjoyed the first Paul Blart: Mall Cop. It had its funny and goofy moments, but it knew what it was and didn’t take itself too seriously. Unfortunately, the sequel did take itself a little bit too seriously for its own good. The jokes fell flat the majority of the time, and to be honest it just wasn’t that good. All the charm and goofiness the first film had was stripped away and replaced with unnecessary fat jokes and lame/awful jokes.

paul_blart_mall_cop_two

Point Break (Warner Bros./Alcon Entertainment/DMG Entertainment/Studio Babelsberg)

Despite my slight optimism for remakes in general, Point Break was a shallow and pointless remake that didn’t do much for me – and probably anyone – and while it had it’s very short and brief moments and a great performance with Edgar Ramirez, Point Break failed on all spectrum’s.

point_break

Seventh Son (Universal Pictures/Legendary Pictures)

Seventh Son felt a bit messy. The movie isn’t horrible, but the movie sometimes feels like you’re already familiar with some aspects of the world and it’s a little off-putting at times. One scene in particular threw me off only because they made the scene feel like it was really important, but emotionally it didn’t come out that way because there was no real investment in character involved.

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Terminator Genisys (Paramount Pictures/Skydance Productions)

Terminator Genisys had some potential, Arnold Schwarzenegger came back, after some fans wanted him back, Alan Taylor was directing, and the film was going to add some new things to the timeline that we all know. Then that second trailer came out. You know, the one that gave away what could have been the biggest twist in the series and potentially a great moment to watch onscreen for the first time. Yeah, that one. Knowing that going in really hurt the movie, and despite their being another layer to the twist, it still wasn’t enough to forgive them for spoiling that big plot point in the trailers, TV spots, and posters.

terminator_genisys_ver6

The Gallows (Warner Bros./New Line Cinema/Blumhouse Productions/Management 360/Tremendum Pictures)

Another addition to the Found Footage horror subgenre was The Gallows, and like some of the films before it: it wasn’t good. Despite some cool and eerie shots in the movie, one of the characters – mainly holding the camera – was annoying to the point that it took me out of the movie. I can handle annoying characters, but holy hell did he reach a whole new level. Moreover, the motivation and reveal of why the events happen ended up making no sense whatsoever and seemed like a last minute thing. The Gallows may be the worst Found Footage movie I’ve seen.

gallows

The Green Inferno (BH Tilt/High Top Releasing/Worldview Entertainment/Dragonfly Entertainment/Sobras International Pictures)

I’m not the biggest Eli Roth fan, but I’ve slightly enjoyed some of his movies in the past, but The Green Inferno was rough to watch, and not in the way it was supposed to be rough to watch. None of the characters were really all that likeable, with the expectation of maybe two, and even the slow burn and waiting for everything to go to hell isn’t worth the wait. Some of the gore is good – that’s what the film is really about anyway – but overall this wasn’t good at all. This is definitely one of the worst films of the year.

green_inferno_ver2

The Lazarus Effect (Lionsgate/Blumhouse Productions/Relativity Studios)

This one had a ton of potential and even had the cast lead by Olivia Wilde and Mark Duplass to back it up. Unfortunately, the potential of the film disappeared once the film became a supernatural slasher-esque film in the last act. The Lazarus Effect had a great premise behind it, but the execution of it lacked power and left the film underwhelming to watch.

lazarus_effect

Tomorrowland (Walt Disney Pictures/A113)

This one hurt. I was actually conflicted to put Tomorrowland on this list and not put it as an “Honorable Mention” on my “Favorite/Best” movies of the year. However, that wouldn’t be extremely fair to the other movies. Tomorrowland had ton of potential, had a great team behind the camera and in front of the camera, but ultimately it was the lack of execution and beating over the head theme (which I loved, but sill) that made this probably one of the biggest disappointments, if not the biggest, of the year.

tomorrowland-poster-imax

So, what were your biggest disappointments, worst, or least-liked films of the year?

‘The Gallows’ Review

gallows

Dir: Travis Cluff & Chris Lofing

Writer(s): Travis Cluff & Chris Lofing

Cast: Reese Mishier, Pfeifer Brown, Ryan Shoos, and Cassidy Gifford

Synopsis: 20 years after a horrific accident during a small town school play, students at the school resurrect the failed show in a misguided attempt to honor the anniversary of the tragedy – but soon discover that some things are better left alone.

 

 

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

 

I’ve mentioned it before, but I don’t feel comfortable reviewing horror movies. Not because I don’t like them, because I do, but because half of the fun of watching a horror movie is experience it and no matter what people tell you – myself included – that experience does need to be experienced and not told. Moreover, it’s harder to review a movie that you also didn’t like entirely. If I don’t review a movie on here it is for a few reasons. One, I feel like it needs to be experienced. Two, I don’t have time or Three, I don’t like. However, since I’ve skipped a few reviews on movie I’ve seen and never really posted a review to a movie I didn’t really enjoy, here’s my review of The Gallows. Don’t worry, it’s not going to be a complete bash.

 

The Gallows is shot in the found footage style so the movie opens up in an old video tape playing from 1993. The recording is from the high school play, “The Gallows” which ends in the accidental death of lead Charlie (Jesse Cross), as he’s being hanged in front of an audience and what we assume is his family. We jump forward to 2013, and the current students at the school somehow managed to convince the school board to revive the play in honor of Charlie.

 

We are introduced to our main characters from here. Reese (Reese Mishier), a former football player who is the lead in the show in the part that killed Charlie. Pfeifer, the leading lady of the play and the “theater girl”; Reese’s friend Ryan, who is a “joker” and the movies camera guy at the beginning of the movie, and Cassidy, Ryan’s cheerleader girlfriend. Reese is having a hard time getting into character and delivering his lines so Ryan gets the idea to ruin the set for the play the night before the play is set to, each means going in the middle of the night. Reese is reluctant, but eventually agrees and Cassidy tags along. While there they experience weird banging and then find Pfeifer. Of course, everything goes to hell.

 

It very clear from the drama club involved and some of the parents that Ryan “interviews” early in the movie that Charlie’s death has become something of an urban legend – the movie says it’s based in Nebraska – in terms of the school having weird things happen like; locked doors, weird noises, lights going on-and-off, etc. That already sets us up for what’s to come.

 

Thankfully, The Gallows is only 81 minutes long, because the movie doesn’t have a lot to offer. The movie is like your run-of-the-mill found footage movie. It follows the same beats and fake-out moments that we’ve seen in other movies with the same concept, but doesn’t do anything to make it their own. It does nothing to reinvigorate the subgenre and even with its “different” approach in terms of cameras, which could have been a good way to try some awesome stuff, all it does is make the process of watching the movie harder with overused aspects.

 

What made the movie harder to watch is the cast. The filmmakers probably tried to add something to them by making them use their real first names, but their delivering in lines is just bad. They clearly feel scripted and at some points the characters and the actors playing them feel wooden. The only expectation really is Pfeifer, who is by the default the best actor in the movie. Even worse than that, the characters are unlikable – especially Ryan. He doesn’t come off as funny or cool, he actually comes off as a dick and bad friend. Reese is conflicted, but you can tell with a scene at his house why he’s supposed to be distance, but that’s an excuse. Cassidy is just kind of there.

 

I will give The Gallows some credit. There are a few, and I do mean a few, cool and eerily shots that I really liked and worked well with the environment. One scene in particular worked really well with the lighting and the sudden visual that you know is coming, but when it happens it surprisingly works.

 

The execution of story, if that’s what you want to call it, is frustrating. Some of the setup never pays off, maybe to the fast pace and short runtime, but none of things that are supposed to be surprising work because of the weak story and the fact that it is so contained within itself and the characters. The Gallows has very brief moments of what could lead to great storytelling or even a cool moment, but then it takes it away and goes back to the genre’s tropes which make you angry because you want to see how that could be done.

 

My main problem with the found footage subgenre is that, most of them, are the same. Without getting too much into, The Gallows has what we’ve seen in other films before it. And if you’ve seen enough found footage movies, you’ll know what I’m talking about. You even forget about it, because it reminds us at the beginning and, of course, with the constant recording. But, the worse part is the rushed endings, which The Gallows suffers from.

 

All in all, The Gallows doesn’t bring anything new to the found footage subgenre. The few good visuals are far-and-between in what is a easily going to be a forgotten movie by the end of the month.

 

The Gallows

2 out of 5

July Movie Releases

Hello!

 

It’s July everybody! The Summer Movie Season is almost over, but it’s not going down without a fight. July has some great movies coming out, especially some anticipated movies for some. So let’s get to it.

 

1st

Terminator Genisys

I, like many out there, am a huge Terminator fan. Many have been critical of the series since Terminator 3, some of that criticism is justified, so when this movie was announced, some were off-putted, while some were looking forward to what they were going to do. Genisys looks to have changed the timeline of the well-known franchise with some twists. Sarah Connor is well-aware of Kyle Reese beforehand and saves him from a T-1000. She also has Arnold’s T-800 protecting her, but the big difference is the what the trailers have spoiled: John Connor is a terminator. It’s a rather odd – and stupid – move for a studio to give away a big twist like that, so my only hope (and some others) is that they studio has some more twists that they are hiding.

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3rd

Magic Mike XXL

Ladies! The sequel to Magic Mike is here for all your enjoyment. Guys, suck it up.

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10th

The Gallows

A new horror movie that has had some success on the festival circuit will haunt theaters finally. The movie takes places 20 years after an accident during a small town school play. Some students try to set the play back up-and-running during the anniversary, but of course things don’t go according to plan. The movie has gotten some more online traction thanks to the viral campaign of the “Charlie Charlie” game. The movie looks to have an atmospheric horror to it, which could hopefully set it apart from other horror movies.

 

Self/Less

Ryan Reynolds and Sir Ben Kingsley star in this sci-fi thriller about a dying rich man (Kingsley) who sees his chance to live “forever” as he transfers his consciences to a younger body (Reynolds). While he enjoys his younger body, something goes wrong and starts to see memories of his body’s former life and starts to look for answers. The film looks pretty interesting and I’m interested to see how they approach the material. The film also stars Matthew Goode,

 

Minions

A spinoff/prequel of the Despicable Me movies follows the loveable yellow minions before they meet Gru. The movie takes place during the late 60s and the minions are under the wing of Scarlett Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock), who is trying to take over the world. The minions were some – if not – they favorite thing about the Despicable Me movies, so fans will mostly likely pour into theater for this one.  

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17th

The Stanford Prison Experiment (Limited Release)

Based on an actual event that happened (look it up, pretty interesting stuff). The movie looks to follows the same events in where it takes twenty four male students and out of seventy-five that were randomly assigned to play the parts of prison guards and prisoners in a mock prison building experiment. The film stars Olivia Thirlby, Ezra Miller, Thomas Mann, Billy Crudup, Keir Gilchrist, Moises Arias, Callan McAuliffe, Ki Hong Lee, Michael Anagarno and Ty Sheridan.

 

Mr. Holmes (Limited Release)

Ian McKellen plays an aged and retired Sherlock Holmes who looks back at his life and grapples with an unsolved case, while leaving out in the country. Some early reviews say the film is very good and the performances are standout, especially by Sir Ian McKellen himself.

 

Trainwreck

Amy Schumer plays a writer for a big time magazine that has to do a story on a big time doctor, played by Bill Hader. Hader’s character starts to fall for Schumer’s character, the problem is that she doesn’t believe in monogamy and starts to have mixed feelings about dating him. The movie is directed by Judd Apatow from a script by Schumer herself.

 

Ant-Man

Marvel releases their next film in their Marvel Cinematic Universe, which isn’t without its own missteps. Edgar Wright was attached since its inception back in early 2007 when Iron Man was first announced and ready for release, but after many years Wright dropped out before the film was ready to shoot. The film has gone through some script changes, but Marvel and new director …. Have promised that the movie is still good and fans will be happy. I’m looking forward to it especially after the last trailer which showed it’s great mix of action, drama, and humor in the only way Marvel can.

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24th

The Vatican Tapes (Limited Release)

A horror movie that sees a priest and two Vatican exorcists doing battle with an ancient satanic force to save the soul of a young woman. I know what you’re probably asking, what’s so different from the other exorcists movies? Well one advantage is the cast. The film stars Djimon Hounsou, Michael Pena, Dougray Scott, Kathleen Robertson and Olivia Taylor Dudley.

 

Pixels

Based on the short that the movie takes its inspiration from, Pixels has the Earth attacked by aliens using 80s video games and the only way to save the world is video gamers that are masters of those video games. The film stars Kevin James as the President with Adam Sandler, Josh Gad and Peter Dinklage playing his old friends and other video gamers set to save the world. The cast, with the expectation of Dinklage and Gad, had me worried (I’m looking at you Sandler!), but the last trailer I saw actually made it look like fun, and it could be at least enjoyable. Hopefully.

 

Paper Towns

John Green adaptation are now the “it” thing in Hollywood. The Fault in Our Stars was a smash hit and now Paper Towns may be on the verge of that success as well. Green’s other’s books are also getting adapted with Looking for Alaska looking like the next one coming. But, Paper Towns should hold over fans until then.

 

Southpaw

Jake Gyllenhaal is getting down and gritty – and freaking ripped – for this boxing drama. Seriously, look up pictures of him for this, he is jacked! Anyway, the movie looks like a great redemption and boxing family drama. Gyllenhaal has given a great string of performances lately and it looks like it’s going to continue with this. The film also stars Rachel McAdams, Naomie Harris, 50 Cent, and Forest Whitaker.

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29th

Vacation

A sequel/sort of reboot to National Lampoon’s Vacation that sees the youngest Rusty, played by Ed Helms, taking his family(Christina Applegate, Skyler Gisondo, and Steele Stebbins) to Wally World and ending up in his misadventure with his family. The film also stars Leslie Mann, Keegan-Michael Key, Charlie Day and Chris Hemsworth. It also brings back original stars Beverly D’Angelo and Chevy Chase as Rusty’s parents.

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31st

A LEGO Brickumentary (Limited Release)

Simple stuff: A documentary on the legacy of LEGOs.

 

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

The series has always found a way to improve and even reinvented itself. It shows no stopping at that with Rogue Nation. I’ve always been a fan, so I’m looking forward to what they do here and with its great casting, I’m sure we are in for a fun ride.

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What are you looking forward to?