Friday, May 24, 2013

Bad Kids Go to Hell (2012)

Number Rolled: 74
Movie Name/Year: Bad Kids Go to Hell (2012)
Genre: Thriller
Length: 92 minutes
Rating: R
Director: Matthew Spradlin
Writer: Matthew Spradlin, Barry Wernick
Actors: Judd Nelson, Ben Browder, Amanda Alch, Marc Donato, Augie Duke, Roger Edwards, Ali Faulkner, Cameron Deane Stewart, Jeffrey Schmidt, Chanel Ryan, Collin Cole, Eloise DeJoria, Ice Mrozek, Rodney Johnson

Have you ever seen The Breakfast Club? Eighties children, I know you have, and I’m fairly certain the rest of you have, too. In case I’m wrong I’ll tell you about it. It’s a movie about a group of kids from different cliques that get stuck in a Saturday detention and find common ground to become friends. It’s really very heartwarming and filled with hope. Take that movie, put in a vengeful ghost and you have Bad Kids Go to Hell.

It’s really very interesting to see what a single change in base plot can do to a movie. They took an amazing classic movie, added that one extra ingredient, and came up with a vastly mediocre horror/thriller that had a relatively decent ending. Although it was mediocre, I found that I really enjoyed watching it. I might even watch it again someday.

Mostly, I wasn’t impressed with the actors, but one of them did make a fan out of me. Cameron Deane Stewart, who played the main character (Matt Clark) was really good. I think part of the reason I found the movie had so much entertainment value, despite the many flaws, was because of his acting. He took a part that could have easily been portrayed just as cheesy as the film and made it actually seem believable. I was impressed. I don’t see anything else on Netflix that he’s been in, and a simple visit to IMDB revealed that there isn’t much anyway, but if I come across anything later on I’ll be quick to add it to my instant queue.

Even though I’ve labeled the movie as mediocre, I’d still recommend it to people. Provided they consider it more of a Breakfast Club parody than a serious attempt at horror.

Overall Opinion – 3/5

Addendum – This movie was based off a graphic novel (with the same name) by Matthew Spradlin. I have not yet read it, but I would believe this storyline could be more successful as a graphic novel than a movie.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sonny (2002)

Number Rolled: 9
Movie Name/Year: Sonny (2002)
Genre: Drama
Length: 110 minutes
Rating: R
Director: Nicolas Cage
Writer: John Carlen
Actors: James Franco, Brenda Blethyn, Harry Dean Stanton, Mena Suvari, Seymour Cassel, Brenda Vaccaro, Josie Davis, Willie Metcalf, Janet Shea, Cary Wilmot Alden, Nicolas Cage, Scott Caan, Graham Timbes, Wallace Merck, Doug Barden

James Franco plays Sonny in the one and, so far, only film directed by Nicolas Cage. Sonny is a veteran just out of the army and going home. In an effort to escape his past as a prostitute, he begins to try and get a straight job. As much as he would like to become “square,” he finds it to be a much more difficult process than he initially figured. Weighing his own wants against his loyalty to his mother and the easy road against the hard, Sonny travels down a path that could change his life forever or lead him right back where he didn’t want to be.

There’s a very good reason that Nicolas Cage has only directed one film. Sonny is that reason. To be honest, I don’t know where to file this movie away in my brain. It was a little like watching porn with a lot of story line. I saw James Franco’s ass more in this movie than I saw his face. Ok, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point.

The storyline wasn’t terrible. There are a lot of movies depicting prostitutes wanting out of the business, but just taking that lead role and twisting it to be from a male perspective is relatively unique. I would have liked it more if it weren’t quite so predictable. The ending was amazing, though. It reminded me a bit of In Bruges.

I’m not a spectacularly big James Franco fan. In fact, I tend to prefer his underrated brother, Dave Franco. That being said, I don’t think any other actor could have come as close to saving this movie as J. Franco did. His depiction of emotional turmoil kept me from hating the movie as much as I could have.

If you’re a fan of the actors or the director, it’s not a bad movie to watch once. It’s got some good parts, but I wouldn’t expect anything more than mediocre from it.

Overall Opinion – 3/5

Addendum – I was discussing this movie with a friend. She’d asked me what movie I watched for tonight’s blog. I told her and she said she hadn’t seen it until I said, “The one and only movie directed by Nicolas Cage starring James Franco’s butt.” Immediately she recognized it, asked me if that was the movie where he played a prostitute and said, “it was… special….” Take that as you will.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Yes, Virginia (2009)

Number Rolled: 11
Movie Name/Year: Yes, Virginia (2009)
Genre: Children & Family
Length: 25 minutes
Rating: TV-PG
Director: Pete Circuitt
Writer: Wayne Best, Matt MacDonald, Chris Plehal
Actors: Neil Patrick Harris, Beatrice Miller, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Alfred Molina, Michael Buscemi, Kieran Patrick Campbell, Nicholas Sireci, Andrew Cherry, Taylor Hay, Julian Franco, Andrea Kessler, Chuck Nice, Robb Pruitt, Marge Royce

Virginia is an eight year old girl looking forward to the appearance of Santa Claus on Christmas. During that time, a bully manages to convince her that the legendary character might not be real. From that moment on, the little girl wanders her hometown in search of something, anything, that will give her hope that he is real.

To be honest, I think this may be my favorite animated Christmas story ever. It didn’t just portray the symbols that represent the holiday, but the underlying emotions of hope and kindness as well. If you ask me, the story and the movie are perfect. Even the method of animation used seems just right.

It’s obviously a movie meant for children, but it is a story told with such passion that even adults can find some interest in it.

I wouldn’t change anything and I have no complaints.

Overall Opinion – 5/5