HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (2014)

MZNJ_New_HYMHM_2

now playing

Only-Lovers-Left-Alive

bars

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (2014)

(Clicking the highlighted links brings you to corresponding reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

Only Lovers Left Alive may not technically be a horror film, but it’s main characters are vampires, so, it does fall into the category, though it is more of a character study then a thriller. Written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, who is one of the more interesting filmmakers on the indie circuit, the film does deliver a unique and refreshing spin on the tired and overused vampire genre and that alone makes it worth watching for.

The film tells the story of husband and wife Adam (Tom Hiddleston, Loki from the Thor films), a reclusive musician, and scholarly Eve (Tilda Swinton) who are both vampires who have lived for centuries. Adam lives currently in desolate Detroit while Eve lives in exotic Tangier. Both have long given up stalking humans for prey and find other more ‘civilized’ methods of getting their nourishment and have decided instead to pursue a more Bohemian lifestyle, soaking up all the cultural accomplishments of the world that the ‘zombies’…what they refer to normal humans as…take for granted. But when Adam begins to show signs of a moody depression, Eve comes to Detroit to comfort him. But their reunited bliss is short lived as Eve’s sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) joins them unexpectedly from L.A. and disrupts their happy bubble of seclusion with her uncontrolled behavior.

I really enjoyed this film and it’s portrayal of two beings who spend their eternal life immersing themselves in the accomplishments of mankind such as literature, science and music yet avoid being the neutered fops of the Twilight series. Jarmusch creates two fascinating characters who bathe themselves in the accomplishments of a race that generally overlooks them. But these two still retain their lethality and that’s what keeps this so interesting. They are dangerous creatures that choose not to rule at the top of the food chain, but remain aloof using their extended time here to experience and savor what ‘life’ has to offer, though they are themselves the undead. Obviously their little bubble gets burst by Ava, but it is how they adjust that keeps them so interesting and the film involving. The wisdom of the ages as they simply adapt the best they know how. And the director gives it all a subtle and witty sense of humor, as well. I really liked Jarmush’s use of his locations, from the desolate streets of after-dark Detroit to the seedy alleyways of Tangier where there is a drug dealer on every street. There is some sumptuous cinematography by Yorick Le Saux who captures the bleakness of Detroit’s abandoned cityscape and, ironically, the same ‘danger at every corner’ feeling of Tangier’s labyrinthian alleyways. The two vastly different locations are given a similar look to illustrate these creatures of the night’s choice to live in the shadows even in an exotic country like Morroco. Add to that a haunting score by Jozef van Wissem and you get a film dripping with atmosphere to go along with the engrossing and endearing characters.

And what really makes this film so involving, and Jarmusch’s script sizzle, are two truly wonderful characterizations/performances from his lead cast. Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston are mesmerizing as the couple married for over a century and who have been in the presence of the likes of Mary Shelley and Nikola Tesla and recollect fondly of these giants as if reminiscing about an old friend or favorite school teacher. Hiddleston gives us a reclusive musician and rock star who is known for his work, but remains an enigma to the world, a musical outlaw that is part Keith Richards and part Howard Hughes. He gives his character the air of a moody genius who never really appreciates his own accomplishments and has a fetish for old guitars. Swinton is the more upbeat and livelier Eve, who unlike her brooding, sometimes distant husband, revels in the culture of what surrounds her. She still enjoys life, despite having lived so much of it and wants Adam to share in her continued enthusiasm. The love between these two seems genuine as brought to life by the actors and they have great chemistry together. Supporting cast are also very good as Wasikowska gives us the untamed, wild-child Ava, who is stuck by way of her immortality in the eternal rebelliousness of youth and there is no malice when she turns their peaceful existence upside-down with her unchecked behavior. Rounding out is a good turn by Anton Yelchin as Ian, a musician and human friend of Adam’s who gets him his guitars and whatever he needs, as the wealthy Adam pays well and John Hurt as Eve’s mentor Marlowe.

This is not a film for everyone, especially those expecting the traditional bared fangs, spilling blood and wooden stakes. This is a really interesting character study of two fascinating, passionate individuals who happen to be vampires. There seems to be an underlying commentary about how the human race doesn’t appreciate it’s cultural, creative and scientific accomplishments and spoils everything it has, including it’s own life’s blood with sickness and disease…something our vampires must be careful to avoid. Overall, I found this an interesting, engrossing, original and sometimes ironically funny vampire film from a filmmaker that has staked out his career on being original… pun intended!

3 and 1/2 fangs.

blacula_1_rating

bars

COOL STUFF: CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER on BLU-RAY

MZNJ_cool_stuff

now playing

captain-america-2-bluRay

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER Blu-Ray

I really enjoyed this Captain America sequel (see full review here), and that alone for me was reason enough to pick it up on Blu-Ray. The picture is obviously gorgeous and the sound is top quality, as is per usual with these Marvel flicks when they’re released on home media.

There are some nice extras but, it is on the short side when compared to some of the other Marvel releases. We get a making of documentary which is a cool look at putting together some of the action scenes, a small featurette on Anthony Mackie and an even smaller featurette on Cap’s little black book that he carries… you’ll have to watch the movie first, to find out what’s in that. There are some deleted scenes but, nothing special, which is no surprise, as the film gets a lot done in it’s tight 138 minutes. There is audio commentary from the directors and writers and an amusing gag reel, which is a lot of fun. Again, not a lot of stuff here but, this is one of the best of the Marvel films so far, and to me, it’s worth owning for the film content alone.

So, If you liked this movie, the disc is definitely worth owning just for the film itself, if you were expecting a ton of extras and maybe even a peek at the upcoming Avengers: Age Of Ultron, you might feel a little short changed. But, this is an awesome flick so, I was perfectly happy just to see it again in HD!

bars

COOL STUFF: PUMPKINHEAD on BLU-RAY

MZNJ_cool_stuff

now playing

pumpkinhead

PUMPKINHEAD COLLECTOR’S EDITION Blu-Ray

I love Pumpkinhead (see full review here), it’s a favorite horror, especially around the Halloween season, and one of my favorite movie monsters. The film has never been released on video or DVD in it’s proper aspect ratio, so, those like myself who didn’t catch it in it’s limited theatrical release in 1988 have yet to see it in all it’s glory… until now!

Scream Factory once again takes a cult classic title and gives it the proper respect it is due. The remastered picture looks absolutely gorgeous with rich colors and clarity that preserve the wonderfully spooky imagery director Stan Winston brought to this creepy tale of backwoods revenge. The image is presented in a sumptuous 1080 HD and there is remastered DTS audio to go with it. It’s like seeing it and hearing it for the first time.

As for the extras, there are commentary tracks from writer Gary Gerani and the creature FX team and about 3 hours of interviews and featurettes to chew on. Everything from the previous MGM DVD special edition is there, as well as, some new interviews from producer Richard Weinman and actor John Di’Aquino (Joel), as well as, an interview filled tribute to the late Stan Winston… which brings about my only criticism. The Stan Winston tribute documentary goes on for about 15 minutes too long. At about the 35 minute mark, the interviewees seem, at that point, to be rambling on and it becomes tedious and loses a bit of it’s focus. Some judicious editing would have kept this at a more reasonable length and still preserved the essence of it’s fond look back at working with the FX legend and the impact he had on these individuals. There’s a lot or repetitiveness as it drags on and would have lost none of it’s heartfelt purpose with losing a few minutes.

But, aside from that one meager critique, this is an absolute must have for fans of this flick. It is a gorgeous looking edition filled with extras that take you back behind the scenes of the making of a cult classic that sadly never got the proper attention it deserved… until Scream Factory got a hold of it. Another great collector’s edition from the awesome folks at Scream Factory! Pumpkinhead has truly been resurrected at last!

bars

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES SEPT 5-7

MZNJ_New_WBO

Complete estimates are in for the  weekend and The Guardians rule the top once more!

1. “Guardians Of The Galaxy” $10.2 Million

1. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” $6.5 Million

3. “If I Stay” $5.75 Million

4. “Let’s Be Cops” $5.4 Million

5. “The November Man” $4.2 Million

6. “As Above/So Below” $3.72 Million

7. “When The Game Stands Tall” $3.7 Million

8. “The Giver” $3.6 Million

9. “The Hundred-Foot Journey” $3.2 Million

10. “Lucy” $1.95 Million

source: box office mojo

bars

MONSTERZERO NJ’S SATURDAY NIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE: LEPRECHAUN and RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 3

MZNJ_SNDF

now playing

double feature_Lep_ROTLDp3

bars

This week’s double feature focuses on Trimark Pictures and two of it’s more popular releases Leprechaun and Return Of The Living Dead 3. Trimark was formed in 1985 and was renown for producing genre themed titles, such as these two, predominately for direct to video release, though there were some theatrical releases such as Peter jackson’s Dead Alive. Trimark merged with Lionsgate in 2000 but, in the 15 years of it’s existence it was quite prolific. I am not a huge fan of either of these two flicks but, they are entertaining and just needed a little bit more skill behind the camera and they could have been something really special, though both have a cult following and certainly pass the time well along with a few brews.

leprechaun

bars

LEPRECHAUN (1993)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

Leprechaun at no time expects to be taken seriously and while it is obviously a horror/comedy, the mix doesn’t always quite work. The story opens with Daniel O’Grady (Shay Duffin) returning from Ireland and making the outrageous claim to his wife (Pamela Mant) that he has caught a leprechaun and now, with it’s gold in hand, they are rich! But the vicious little fairy creature (a scenery chewing Warwick Davis) has followed him back here to the O’Grady farm in South Dakota, wants his gold back and will kill to get it. After dispatching O’Grady’s wife, the man manages to seal the creature in a crate, locked in with a four leaf clover, and then proceeds to have a heart attack. 10 years later, a single father (John Sanderford) and his daughter Tory (Jennifer Aniston) have bought the house and are fixing it up with the help of a trio of not-so-handymen (Ken Olandt, Mark Holton and Robert Hy Gorman). No surprise to say, the gold is found, the creature accidentally freed and now the occupants and their hired help must battle the murderous leprechaun as he terrorizes them for the return of his stolen booty. Will they make it to the top-o-the morning?

Leprechaun is a silly flick and I get that. I think my problem with it is that at times the humor and horror elements don’t quite mix. Sometimes it is a little too silly for it’s own good. It’s also a little too anxious to exploit the Leprechaun clichés and with a moderately small body count, a little too hesitant to embrace the horror elements. Directed and written by Mark Jones, who did a lot of TV work and a lot of it aimed at teens or young audiences, seems to be holding back when the film needed a more devious and over-the top-hand like a Sam Raimi or Eli Roth. It’s moderately fun, but could have been a real treat in the hands of someone willing to have a much better time with the premise. The film’s FX are mixed, with visuals looking cheap, yet, the gore and Davis’s make-up looking very good. The film does have a TV movie feel, which is probably due to it’s TV veteran director and while it does provide some chuckles, especially watching a pre-Friends Jennifer Aniston going one on one with a little critter in a green leprechaun outfit, it just doesn’t really cut loose and run with it’s story and really spatter us with red and green like it should.

Cast performs well enough. Davis is the star and the diminutive actor is the only person who seems to understand exactly the degree of horror and comedy this flick needs. Whether it is slaughtering his prey or, dispensing typical leprechaun shenanigans, Davis is perfectly over-the-top. Maybe he should have directed. Aniston is a cute and feisty heroine and she seems to take her role seriously which helps make it work as well as it does. Olandt is the hunky handyman, love interest and he is fine as that, but the film wisely sidelines him and let’s the livelier Aniston take center stage when battling the nasty fairy creature. The rest are fine including Pee Wee’s Big Adventure’s Mark Holton who plays a sort of man-child house painter that is oddly comic relief in a film that already has comic elements.

To rap things up, I am moderately entertained by Leprechaun, but it’s not a favorite and I think it could have been much better with a far more twisted hand guiding behind the camera and writing the script. There is solid work by Warwick Davis as the title villain and at least the character is dead-on in terms of the proper mix of horror and comedy. It’s fun too, to see Jennifer Aniston…before Friends, Brad Pitt and needless generic rom/coms…as our heroine and it did generate enough interest to produce a series of increasingly silly sequels. Worth a look and could have a bit more impact viewed closer to St. Patty’s Day.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 2 and 1/2 (out of 4) gold seeking Leprechuans!

leprechaun rating

****************************************************

plus

returnofthelivingdead3

bars

RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 3 (1993)

Second sequel to the cult classic Return Of The Living Dead decides to drop the humor and play it’s story straight with some surprising elements of Romeo and Juliet thrown in for good measure. I really wish I could like this more, but a weak middle act really brings it down after a solid beginning and then a really gory and over-the-top finale.

The film starts with army brat Curt (J. Trevor Edmond) sneaking his sexy, rebellious girlfriend Julie (Melinda Clarke, billed here as “Mindy”) into the secret army base his dad (Kent McCord) works at and witnessing a horrible experiment where a corpse is re-animated using the gas from a mysterious metal drum. When Curt’s dad tells him later on that he has been reassigned, Curt and Julie run away, but a motorcycle accident takes Julie’s life. Three guesses where Curt takes her body and what he does with it. Suffice to say, Curt and the re-animated Julie are now on the run, not only from the military, but from a vicious gang of Latinos they have a bad encounter with and Julie’s increasing hunger for human brains. Will true love prevail or will Julie eat the love of her life and anyone else who crosses her path?

Written by John Penney and directed by Re-Animator producer Brian Yuzna there is a lot this flick gets right and it’s sad the middle act slows things down and really kills the momentum of this otherwise fun and gory flick. Yuzna is a decent director, but doesn’t have quite the pacing or devious imagination Re-Animator‘s Stuart Gordon had in that classic and the film could have used it for the stretch of time Curt and Julie are on the lam. The set-up is well-done and well-handled, introducing us to both the young lovers and the zombie filled drums from the first flick. Once Julie is re-animated, the couple flee into L.A. and things really slow down as they hide out in the sewers from an army clean-up team and a gang of bad acting Chicanos. A lot of time is spent hanging out in a sewer pump room with a character called Riverman (Basil Wallace) and it’s only when the Latino gang lays siege to their hideout and Julie goes on the attack, with her makeshift body piercings (the pain helps her control her hunger) that the film slams into gear and the gory over-the-top fun begins. From that point on, Yuzna delivers, as we return to the secret base where a rescue attempt to free the imprisoned Julie leads to a zombie breakout bloodbath. And it all works and really well. It’s too bad that the middle of the film is such obvious filler and they couldn’t have padded the time with something more entertaining. It’s like the middle act came from another movie. Back on the plus side, there is some really well done makeup and gore effects and some very inventive zombie designs, as the military is trying to use them as bio-weapons, and it all makes that last act…complete with an oddly sweet and tragic final scene…work really well, as did the opening act setting up the story. But that darn middle act really slows the gears down and keeps this from being a consistently entertaining horror treat.

The main cast are all good. Edmond is a solid hero and believable as a frustrated army brat tired of loosing friends and his feeling of stability, when dad is reassigned. He then does a good job demonstrating love is stronger than brains and guts, as he protects his girlfriend, who is now basically a homicidal monster. Mindy Clark is very good as Julie and once re-animated she does a great job conveying Julie’s confusion, fear and at the same time, hunger and aggression. She really tugs the heart strings when Julie is captured and imprisoned in the army base and it’s one of the few times, outside Romero’s “Bub” in Day Of The Deadthat we feel pity and endearment for a zombie. McCord is solid as Curt’s dad, torn between duty and family and Superman II’s Sarah Douglas gets to play a good, bad girl as the army officer chomping at the bit to take Col. Reynolds’ (McCord) work away from him and proceed with her own gruesome experiments. Basil Wallace also gives us some surprising depth to his Riverman character and he has some nice scenes in the last act. The rest are adequate, thought, I felt the actors playing the Latino gang members were overdoing it, as was the script with the Spanish catch phrases. Do L.A. Latinos really say ‘esai’ that much? Ay! Caramba!

Overall, this is an entertaining enough thriller with a very effective set-up and a really good and gory finale. One that is sadly dragged down by a mid-section that is obvious filler to pad out the running time till we get to that finale. Too bad, a more imaginative and interesting way of making use of that time wasn’t found, as the middle act is simply dull till the blood and body parts start to really flow again. The scenes in and under L.A. lack the energy and imagination of what came before and comes after and it’s a shame. The main cast, especially our leads, are solid and there are some really imaginative gore and zombie FX to go along with a clever way of continuing the franchise, while taking it in a new direction. I really want to like this more, but that flabby middle definitely looses it some points. I still recommend it, if you haven’t seen it and “Mindy” Clarke does give us what might be one of the sexiest zombies on film.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 2 and 1/2 (out of 4) zombie hotties, though I wish I had it in my heart to give it more.

return of the living dead 3 rating

****************************************************

bars

TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: DON’T GO IN THE HOUSE (1980)

MZNJ_New_TON

now playing

Dont-go-in-the-house

bars

DON’T GO IN THE HOUSE (1980)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

Finally caught up to this low budget horror. I remember friends seeing it in 1980 when it came out and not being overly impressed. Not sure why I didn’t join them at the time, but finally having seen it after over three decades, I must say I’m not overly impressed either. I know this film is held in much better regard by some, but I personally thought it was pretty dull.

The film tells the story of demented Donny Kohler (Sopranos’ Dan Grimaldi) who lives with his mother and works at a trash incinerator. Poor Donny was burned by his mom as a form of punishment as a child…so, not sure why he chose a profession that involves fire…and it has left him mentally unhinged with a lot of inner turmoil. He even hear’s voices. When mom passes away, his fear of her is lifted and the anger at her for her actions bubbles to the surface urged on by the whispers in his head. Now Donny gets back at his abusive mother by taking his anger out on innocent young women who he lures to his large spooky house and then sets them on fire with a flame thrower. Can this maniac be stopped? Will Donny keep finding ways of getting pretty young girls to enter his home despite his obviously creepy demeanor?

I thought that this flick was pretty dull. Director and co-writer Joseph Ellison (with Joe Masefield and Ellen Hammill) has a decent eye for his shots, but otherwise brings this film very little in terms of suspense, tension or atmosphere. There is some definite late 70s, early 80s nostalgia, especially with the addition of some disco songs on the soundtrack and a lengthy segment set at one such disco, but the film only gets creepy in the last five minutes or so and that’s it. There is also a hint at one point that the voices Donny hears may be something more demonic then his own twisted mind, but that comes too little, too late. One of the film’s problems is that Donny is the focus of the film and telling the story from his point of view needed a far better written character and a far better actor. As a result he isn’t very interesting and by having no clear protagonist, we have no one to care or root for. His victims are all met moments before their demise and despite his burning them alive being a gruesome way to go and those scenes, especially the first, are effective, the victims are all just generic flamethrower fodder. Donny, despite being a weirdo and loner, has a friend at work, Bobby (Robert Osth) who for some reason wants to bond with him, but that’s it. And that’s another thing, Donny is such a strange guy and seems to outwardly make people so uncomfortable, that it’s hard to believe he gets these women to come back to his house so easily, or that Bobby is so intent on being friends. I would think inner alarms would be going off about this guy soon after meeting him. There are some unintentionally funny bits such as Donny talking with his burnt corpse victims or a lengthy scene of him buying clothes to go to the disco, that seems pointless but oddly amusing. And the disco scene itself, that ends with him setting a pretty woman’s hair on fire, is chuckle inducing as well. There is some entertainment value here but not enough, as overall it’s dull and derivative of better flicks.

As the only main character, Dan Grimaldi is pretty wooden as Donny. He seems to be taking the role seriously, but gives the demented man very little personality to make him interesting. He is just as creepy when talking with his potential victims as he is with his corpses and again, it makes it hard to believe any woman would come back to his house. Had he played Donny more as a normal, charming young man outside and secretly a maniac behind closed doors, it would have made him more interesting and scarier as we would know who he really was, but his victims would remain unaware till too late. But he acts like a creep all the time and it’s befuddling only his boss at work seems to notice. This may also be the fault of director and script, but Grimaldi’s wooden performance doesn’t help. The rest of the cast, including Robert Osth, are fairly flat and most are just there for the small body count. There is a priest character that comes in late (Ralph D. Bowman), but he really doesn’t get to do much till the final act and ultimately served little purpose.

There is not much to recommend about this flick. Some people give this film high marks, I don’t see it. The lead was wooden and the character was such a creep, it seemed ludicrous he gets any of his victims to go home with him. There are some effective kills and some legitimately creepy moments here and there, but unless you count some unintentionally funny scenes, like the one at the disco, the film is overall kind of dull and we’ve seen the nut talking to his dead mom thing before. There is hint at a demonic presence, but it is only a hint and is never utilized or expanded on till the final scene, then the credits roll. I can see why my horror movie loving friends weren’t impressed back in 1980 and I, even with the nostalgia, wasn’t very impressed either. All I can say is that if you are a fan of flicks of this era and since it has good regard from others, you may have to check this one out to make up your own mind about it. As for me, what little did work was far overshadowed by the rest that didn’t.

2 flame thrower wielding psychos.

dont go in the house rating

 

bars

BARE BONES: LONE SURVIVOR and SABOTAGE

MZNJ_bareBones_Marquee

now playing

Humerus-Bone1

lone_survivor

LONE SURVIVOR (2013)

Writer /director Peter Berg hits all the marks with this incredibly intense and moving action/drama based on true events in Afghanistan. The film’s story sends a four man SEAL team (Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsh and Ben Foster) behind enemy lines to track a Taliban leader for capture. When an unfortunate encounter with a local family alerts the enemy to their presence, the four SEALS must now fight for their very lives, surrounded and outgunned. Berg delivers drama and action that is equally riveting and even manages to slip in a message that not all perceived ‘enemies’ are bad people. An incredibly well-made, well-acted and nail-bitingly intense thriller that also contains a nice homage and tribute to the real men from the actual mission it honors/portrays. Also stars Eric Bana and is based on a book by author Patrick Robinson and ex-Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell who is the real life soldier Mark Wahlberg’s character is based on and was on the mission the story is taken from. Highly recommended!

three and one half stars rating

Humerus-Bone1

sabotage

SABOTAGE (2014)

Arnie’s newest film is sadly a crude, vulgar and worst of all dull crime thriller that fails on pretty much every level except for a few intense action scenes. The blood-soaked story has Schwarzenegger playing John ‘Breacher’ Wharton, who is head of an undercover DEA unit accused of stealing $10 Million in drug money during a raid. But, now his team are being offed in gruesome fashion and Breacher and FBI investigator Caroline Brentwood (Olivia Williams) must find out if it’s cartel revenge or something else. Director and co-writer (with Skip Woods) David Ayer tries way too hard to make this a gritty, hard nose thriller and thus turns it into a gory, foul-mouthed mess that can’t decide if it’s a cop thriller or slasher movie. The acting is terrible on most fronts, the characters are borderline comic book level and the plot edges close to being a train wreck. I understand Arnold wanting to play a character that wasn’t necessarily a clean cut good guy for once and I liked that aspect of it but, it’s such a bad movie in terms of the script and the ‘trying too hard to be hip’ direction that it sinks the Austrian Oak’s attempt to do something new. Also stars Sam Worthington and current ‘man-babe’ Joe Manganiello. Terrible.

2 star rating

Humerus-Bone1
bars

BARE BONES: NON-STOP and LOCKE

MZNJ_bareBones_Marquee

now playing

Humerus-Bone1

Non-Stop-Movie-Poster-Liam-Neeson

NON-STOP (2014)

The presence of Liam Neeson can elevate most films to another level, but even he can’t salvage this thriller which starts out ridiculous and switches gears to ludicrous in it’s last act. Neeson plays alcoholic and paranoid US Air Marshall, Bill Marks (how did he get this job?) who is framed for the hi-jacking of the very flight he is on. Jaume Collet-Serra (House Of Wax) does a good job of directing this silly film, from a script by three people no less, but can’t save it from the fact that it just gets more outlandish and unbelievable as it goes on. There is some tension and suspense, and certainly a lot to chuckle about, but all it really succeeds in doing is evoking memories of those silly, over the top Airport movies from the 70s, but without Shelly Winters and George Kennedy. Also stars Julianne Moore whose character’s purpose in the film still eludes me.

2 and 1-2 star rating

Humerus-Bone1

locke

LOCKE (2014)

Probably the best movie you will ever see about a guy driving from one place to another talking on the phone in his car. What could have been a real snooze fest is brought to intense life by a riveting tour de force performance by Tom Hardy and skilled direction from Steven Knight, who also wrote the script. The film takes place over just a few hours as Ivan Locke leaves his construction site job to join a woman who he impregnated during a one night stand. The entire film is he communicating with various individuals as his choice to be with this practical stranger, as she gives birth, causes his idyllic and successful life to come crashing down around him. It takes a lot of skill to make a flick like this work and work it does.

three and one half stars rating

Humerus-Bone1
bars

MONSTERZERO NJ’S SUMMER 2014 MOVIE FAVORITES AND FLOPS!

MZNJ_New_RN

I didn’t get to see every Summer release. Some, like the latest Transformers And Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, are not flicks that interest me so, they will be curiosity rentals at some point. But here is a rundown of what I did see and thus what were favorites, surprises and, in turn, the disappointments for the Summer of 2014. Click on the poster for the full review!

THE FAVORITES

  1. guardians of the galaxy

    GUARDIAN’S OF THE GALAXY – Not at all familiar with the comic but, the movie was a lot of fun with a devious sense of humor and a lot of action to go along with the eccentric but, endearing characters. I had a blast! ***1/2expendables 3

  2. THE EXPENDABLES 3 – I don’t care what the box office results were, I had a rip roaring good time with this third installment and loved seeing the cast in action especially the return of Snipes. ***1/2
  3. godzilla-new-posterGODZILLA – I really enjoyed the true King Of The Monsters’ return to the big screen but, will admit I didn’t absolutely love it like I wanted to. I didn’t mind it taking over an hour for him to finally appear but, once he did, the annoying cut-aways got frustrating fast. At least the last act smack-down in San Francisco made up for a lot of that. ***1/2dawn_of_apes_teaser_poster
  4. DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES – The second installment of this really good reboot series is an action packed epic from Cloverfield’s Matt Reeves and it is not only a very entertaining film but, takes the plot of the worst of the original Apes films, Battle For The Planet Of The Apes, and puts it to much better use. *** 1/2MALEFICENT-poster
  5. MALEFICENT – Angelina Jolie stars in one of the Summers biggest hits and for me a very pleasant surprise and a very entertaining fantasy adventure with lots of eye candy. Jolie gives an enchanting performance as the classic villainess with a new twist and knows when to go over the top and when to be subtle. Sure she should have been evil for a bit longer but, Jolie chews up the scenery masterfully and we are right there with her! ***1/2

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Lucy-2014-Movie-Poster

  1. LUCY – Sure Lucy was a dumb movie with some very skewed science but, it was an audaciously fun popcorn flick with loads of over the top action and another good performance by Johansson and it pairs her with the ever endearing Morgan Freeman. Silly… yes… fun… hell, yea! ***deliver-us-from-evil
  2. DELIVER US FROM EVIL – Not a great movie but, an effective mix of cop thriller and supernatural horror, supposedly based on the true case files of NY detective Ralph Sarchie, that delivers some action and chills and manages to give us one of the more effective exorcism scenes in the very overplayed exorcism film sub-genre.  ***

THE FLOPS  (and NEAR MISSES)

  1. amazing-spider-man-2-posterTHE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2  – Avoids Spider-Man 3 territory but, still makes many of it’s same mistakes and even drags in a few from Batman And Robin. Thankfully saved from being a complete mess by some really fun action scenes and the great chemistry between Garfield and Stone that lights up the screen whenever they are together. I have lightened up on it a bit since revisiting it on Blu-Ray but, it’s still the second weakest of the combined Raimi/Webb films. **1/2xmen_DOFP-poster
  2. X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST  – Not a mess or anything, just not very involving and none of the action scenes really stayed with me or overly impressed me. It was never boring but, was far from the delightfully hip and entertaining First Class. The 70s nostalgia fell flat and that really irked me as First Class was so 60s! **1/2

Source: MonsterZero NJ

bars

SUMMER 2014 BOX OFFICE TOTALS

MZNJ_New_WBO

Complete box office for the Summer movie season!

DOMESTIC U.S.

1. “Guardians Of The Galaxy” $274.6 Million

2. “Transformers: Age Of Extinction” $244.3 Million

3. “Maleficent” $238.5 Million

4. “X-Men: Days Of Future Past” $233.2 Million

5. “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes” $205.2 Million

6. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” $202.8 Million

7. “Godzilla” $200.6 Million

8. “22 Jump Street” $190.2 Million

9. “How To Train Your Dragon 2” $173.4 Million

10. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” $162.4 Million

WORLDWIDE

1. “Transformers: Age Of Extinction” $1.07 Billion

2. “Maleficent” $748.5 Million

3. “X-Men: Days Of Future Past” $745.4 Million

4. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” $708.3 Million

5. “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes” $611.2 Million

6. “How To Train Your Dragon 2” $592 Million

7. “Guardians OfF The Galaxy” $547.7 Million

8. “Godzilla” $508 Million

9. “Edge Of Tomorrow” $364.1 Million

10. “22 Jump Street” $314.4 Million

 

source: joblo.com

bars