Friday, June 28, 2013

Remains (2011)

Number Rolled: 56
Movie Name/Year: Remains (2011)
Genre: Horror
Length: 88 minutes
Rating: NR
Director: Colin Theys
Writer: John Doolan, Steve Niles
Actors: Grant Bowler, Miko Hughes, Lance Reddick, Tawny Cypress, Evalena Marie, Sean Leser, Bobby Rice, Terence Schappert, Anthony Marks, David Gere, Jessica Alexandra Green, Christina Santiago, Kevin Shea, Greg Nutcher

We are introduced to Tom, Jensen and Tori as they work in what must be the worst casino in all of Vegas. They are locked out of harm’s way during a backfired experiment and when they emerge they find the world has changed significantly. Zombies roam the halls of their horrible casino and attack the living outside. There are few survivors left, aside from them, and it seems they might be less trustworthy than the undead.

I have never been so bored by a zombie movie in my life. I mean, I love zombies! The book I’m writing is a semi-twist on zombies. It’s pretty rare that I’m actually bored by the subject. Even in movies that I’ve disliked, it wasn’t boredom that did it.

It seems that “Remains” is short, only a mere 88 minutes. Well, it was the longest 88 minutes ever. At least four times during the movie I looked at the clock and groaned. For a few minutes near the end of it I really thought I was going to get to say the last part was good. A couple of scenes passed that had me laughing my ass off, but then it just went back to sucking.

Most of the actors were unmemorable. Only four stood out (for better or worse). Evalena Marie was ridiculously unbelievable, but Grant Bowler, Tawny Cypress and Miko Hughes were outstanding. The flop of the movie could not be blamed on those three. I expect nothing less from Cypress (who I knew from Heroes), but this was my first memorable exposure to Bowler and Hughes. It was a pretty good first impression and I will be keeping an eye out for more of their work.

The reason this movie didn’t get a lower score is because I actually liked their interpretation of zombies. The creatures looked awesome (except for one or two) and the “rules” they went with were rare, but understandable for what they were going for.

I’ll leave you with this question: who the hell drives around in a zombie apocalypse with their windows down?!

Overall Opinion – 2/5

P.S. This was based on a comic book series with the same name.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

S.W.A.T. (2003)

Number Rolled: 6
Movie Name/Year: S.W.A.T. (2003)
Genre: Action & Adventure
Length: 117 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Director: Clark Johnson
Writer: Robert Hamner, Ron Mita, Jim McClain, David Ayer, David McKenna
Actors: Samuel L Jackson, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, LL Cool J, Josh Charles, Jeremy Renner, Brian Van Holt, Olivier Martinez, Reg E. Cathey, Larry Poindexter, Page Kennedy, Domenick Lombardozzi, James DuMont, Denis Arndt, Lindsey Ginter, Lucinda Jenney, E. Roger Mitchell

Jim Street’s partner, Brian Gamble, is a little impulsive. During a S.W.A.T. mission, he goes against orders and accidentally shoots a hostage in the attempt to shoot her captive. The heat falls and both Jim and his partner are taken out of S.W.A.T. altogether. Jim opts to take a much less glamorous job in the gun cage, while Brian gets rid of his shield completely and leaves the force. We follow Jim as he’s picked up by a returning Sergeant and brought back onto the force. After being tested and going through a few low-key missions, his unit is called to escort a highly dangerous international criminal to a federal prison.

I found this movie very fun to watch. It’s everything you expect out of an action/adventure; big explosions, lots of guns, etc. To be honest, I enjoyed it at a higher level than I scored it. There was just a single glaring issue I couldn’t ignore when the credits rolled.

To be frank, the storyline was stupid. I didn’t realize until I did my research after the movie that it was based off an old TV show (of the same name). That fact explained so much. For as entertaining as the movie was, the story felt patch-worked. If it had been broken up into around three episodes of a TV series, it would have made so much more sense. Instead, they tried to fit too much into it and nothing really flowed as well as it could have.

I have no problem, however, with the actors. Even if I ignore the fact that I’m a huge fan of a couple of them, everyone else was spectacular, too. With big names like Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner and Colin Farrell, though, the only surprise would have been if they’d dropped the ball. Personally, I think the sun shines out of Michelle Rodriguez’s ass, so I’ll refrain from commenting on her at all.

In the end, it’s more enjoyable than it should be.

Overall Opinion – 3.5/5

Monday, June 24, 2013

Abduction (2011)

Number Rolled: 31
Movie Name/Year: Abduction (2011)
Genre: Thriller
Length: 105 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Director: John Singleton
Writer: Shawn Christensen
Actors: Alfred Molina, Maria Bello, Jason Isaacs, Denzel Whitaker, Michael Nyqvist, Jake Andolina, Ken Arnold, Lily Collins, Taylor Lautner, Antonique Smith, Sigourney Weaver

Nathan is your basic high school student. He’s on the wrestling team, has a horrible issue with talking to his crush and sneaks over to parties with flowing warm beer in big red cups. Pretty much, he’s as cookie cutter as it gets. That is, until he stumbles across a site with his picture on it, a site that shows him on a list of missing children. With his crush, Karen, by his side, Nathan’s world begins to unravel and a much more violent one takes its place.

Critics and fans trashed this movie, and I have to agree with some of their points.

First, the movie did go by a recipe and, although the product of it wasn’t bad, there were a few missing components. Several glaring plot holes are easy to see by the end of the movie and some of the script seemed a little more forced than necessary. Next, even without the holes, the story wasn’t quite as strong as the movies in this genre tend to be. The storyline of a main character either forgetting, or never knowing something, about themselves and going on a mission to find out the answers is a very easy story. It plays on the fears of the audience, based around the obvious and age-old question: Who am I? Because it’s such an easy storyline to utilize, it has to have something special to it or it becomes boring. This movie walked that line; dangerously looking over to the boring side.

What I disagree with the critics on would be the acting. It’s unfortunate that the actors got trashed as much as they did. For Lily Collins, Sigourney Weaver and Alfred Molina, I think their bad press came from the relatively weak script. For Taylor Lautner, though, I think it was something else entirely.

I absolutely abhor the fact that I have to mention this movie; especially since it was mentioned in every single review I found on him for “Abduction.” Every single critic review I read seemed to only judge him based on this movie against the Twilight series. It really is horrible that his work in that movie is going to follow him like skunk stench in the perfume section of Macy’s, because I think Taylor Lautner did amazing with what he had. I also think he should be reviewed for “Abduction” on the work he did for “Abduction”; not the work he did for “Twilight.” Wouldn’t that just make sense?

I didn’t hate the movie, there were a few parts that had me enthralled, but I didn’t love it either. It was closer to mediocre than anything.

Overall Opinion – 3/5

P.S. I kept thinking Lily Collins was Nina Dobrev throughout the entire movie.