Friday, July 19, 2013

The Tall Man (2012)

Number Rolled: 89
Movie Name/Year: The Tall Man (2012)
Genre: Thiller
Length: 105 minutes
Rating: R
Director: Pascal Laugier
Writer: Pascal Laugier
Actors: Jessica Biel, Jodelle Ferland, Stephen McHattie, William B. Davis, Samantha Ferris, Colleen Wheeler, Eve Harlow, Janet Wright, Ferne Downey, John Mann, Teach Grant, Garwin Sanford, Jakob Davies, Lucas Myers, Katherine Ramdeen, Georgia Swedish, Priya Lily Campbell

Julia was a nurse at the free clinic in a small town undergoing hardship. She survived her lost husband (the previous doctor of the town) and lives with a woman (Christine) and their young David. Even if the mines had not failed and the town begun to break down, the people still would have been tense. An urban legend going by the title of “The Tall Man” has been stealing children in the night. One at a time, the children disappear and are never heard from again. Young David seems to be next on the legend’s list.

This is one of those movies that attempts to reinvent the wheel and is completely successful at it. When I first read the description on Netflix, I was certain I could tell someone what it was going to be about before I even watched it. Meanwhile, there was no way I could have possibly been able to predict the ending just from the blurb Netflix gave me.

There was no recipe. In fact, this was probably the single most successful thriller I’ve ever seen. The questions associated with the mystery part of it continued to build until the movie was nearly over. Straight up until the fact were revealed, I predicted absolutely nothing in a genre I’m usually pretty good with.

The actors were amazing; fully throwing themselves into their parts with so much heart that it was impossible not to believe them. Jessica Biel was absolutely breathtaking, but she wasn’t alone. Everyone from the kids to the older actors gave performances that could not be beat.

Critics didn’t quite trash this; in fact, they were split straight down the middle. Looking over reviews, you’ll find that almost no one agreed on anything. One review would tell you it was thought-provoking and original, the next would tell you it was too long and tedious. I know why the critics were split on this movie, though. It starts off as though it could be going into supernatural territory. Who is the Tall Man? Is he a ghost? Is he the boogeyman? So, it’s easy to go into this movie thinking it’s in a different sub-genre than it actually is in. Don’t go into it thinking Sam and Dean could take on this bad guy, the storyline is much more complex and much more grounded than that.

That’s what makes “The Tall Man” terrifying. Through its twists and turns, it becomes obvious that there’s a sociological morality involved that can’t be ignored. One that makes you realize just how plausible the plot actually is.

Zombies, witches, genetically mutated creatures – they’re all amusing, entertaining and thrilling in their own right. However, there is nothing scarier than a movie that takes a situation that could actually happen and shines a light on it, forcing you to face your own fears.

Parents, you’re going to want to hug your kids after this one.

Overall Opinion – 5/5

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

LOL (2012)

Number Rolled: 54
Movie Name/Year: LOL (2012)
Genre: Comedy
Length: 96 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Director: Lisa Azuelos
Writer: Lisa Azuelos, Kamir Ainouz
Actors: Jean-Luc Biodeau, Douglas Booth, Vivian Le Borgne, Bridget Brown, Jim Carrane, Miley Cyrus, Sam Derence, Nora Dunn, Lina Esco, Trevor Fahnstrom, George Finn, Gina Gershon, Ashley Greene, Jay Hernandez, Loretta Higgins, Ashley Hinshaw, Thomas Jane, Vichaan Kue, Demi Moore, Austin Nichols, Dennis North

Lola is a typical teenage girl. She expects the next year of her high school life to be amazing. Instead, it starts right off with betrayal. Attempting to get back on her feet after her ex disappoints her, she grows closer to a friend of theirs. Trying to find some way for her family, school and romantic lives to co-exist, while her mother starts dating again, turns out to be rather difficult.

I feel as though this movie was not only geared toward teenagers, but written by one. I have no idea if it’s true, though. I know this movie was based off a French movie by the same name, but I have been unable to locate a reputable source for the writer’s biography. Actually, I couldn’t even find an untrustworthy source or rumors. She (or he) exists, but I just don’t seem to have the skills necessary to find anything out about her (or him). But, I digress. The story is shallow and superficial, like something a teenager would write before they learned more about the world and love.

I really think teenagers would enjoy this film. I don’t believe for a second that I’m the movie’s target demographic, so it’s a little hard for me to pick apart what I didn’t like about the story. The teenagers seemed a bit more vapid and dull that I remember them being back when I was one. It really wasn’t even a full decade ago, so I hope I’m not just forgetting things already.

That being said, I can give you this. I think Miley Cyrus is a better singer than an actress. Take that as you will.

Overall Opinion – 2.5/5

Monday, July 15, 2013

Rango (2011)

Number Rolled: 23
Movie Name/Year: Rango (2011)
Genre: Children & Family
Length: 107 minutes
Rating: PG
Director: Gore Verbinski
Writer: John Logan, Gore Verbinski, James Ward Byrkit
Actors: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Alfred Molina, Bill Nighy, Stephen Root, Harry Dean Stanton, Timothy Olyphant, Ray Winstone, Ian Abercrombie, Gil Birmingham, James Ward Byrkit, Claudia Black, Blake Clark, John Cothran, Patrika Darbo, George DelHoyo, Maile Flanagan, Charles Fleischer, Beth Grant, Ryan Hurst, Vincent Kartheiser, Hemsky Madera, Alex Manugian, Mark McCreery, Joe Nunez, Chris Parson, Lew Temple, Alanna Ubach, Gore Verbinski, Kym Whitley, Keith Campbell

Rango is a domestic chameleon living among the props of his single-lizard tank. Though he is lonely, he’s unprepared for the accident that sends him into the desert. On a quest to search for water, he comes upon a western town named “Dirt.” There he will face others for the first time and have to figure out who he is.

To be honest, I found the story a little weak at times. The plot seemed to switch gears at an alarming rate and the holes it created were never quite filled for me. If this was as much of a child’s film as it was portrayed to be, it wouldn’t have mattered. However, I found that a great deal of this movie wasn’t for kids at all. I’m not disputing the PG rating, but I am going to say that I think it is very close to being PG-13. One more mature-themed joke would have put it over the line. Either way, the trailers made it look like it was for young children, which I found to be erroneous. I certainly wouldn’t have brought a child younger than a pre-teen to see this.

There were also these owls narrating the entire film and, although it had a couple of cute moments, I thought it was highly unnecessary and actually detracted from what was going on.

Despite all that, I found the movie to be thoroughly entertaining. I enjoyed the animation type and even with a sometimes weak story, it still managed to captivate me. This is definitely a movie parents can enjoy with their pre-teen, or older, kids.

Overall Opinion – 3.5/5