BARE BONES: THE DOMESTICS (2018)

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THE DOMESTICS (2018)

Flick takes place after a biological weapon attack by our own government kills off a large amount of the population. Those fortunate…or unfortunate…enough to survive have formed into vicious gangs that have cut out their own territories throughout the countryside. Enter mild-mannered husband and wife Nina (Kate Bosworth) and Mark West (Tyler Hoechlin) who have to travel through these dangerous territories to find safe-haven in Milwaukee.

Written and directed by Mike P. Nelson this is basically a suburban Road Warrior with a touch of The Warriors thrown in as this kindly duo have to defend themselves from a variety of gangs such as The Nailers and The Gamblers during their journey. There is plenty of violent action and quite a few eccentric and scary characters are met as the two try to survive each enemy territory along the way. It’s no secret that the especially timid Nina will find her inner alpha and this husband and wife team will learn to handle themselves against the crumbling of civilization and rekindle their fading relationship, too. It’s entertaining and fast enough paced, though basically stuff we’ve seen many times before. As for the leads, Hoechlin especially could have used a bit stronger screen presence, though it is Bosworth who becomes the family ass-kicker and the film’s focus by the last act. The solid direction does show some promise for director Nelson and it is worth a look despite the familiarity. Also stars Lance Reddick from The Guest and the John Wick films.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: THE SOLDIER (1982)

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THE SOLDIER (1982)

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

James Glickenhaus’s follow-up to The Exterminator finds a special black ops operative code-named “The Soldier” (Ken Wahl) called into duty when rogue KGB plant a nuclear weapon in a Saudi oil field. Their objective is to force Israel off the West Bank, or they will destroy half the world’s oil supply. Aided by an Israeli agent (Alberta Watson), The Soldier’s objective is to stop them at any cost.

James Glickenhaus writes and directs what basically is a grind-house version of a James Bond movie. As such, we just wish it was a bit better, even if it does try hard. There is plenty of action, but Glickenhaus hasn’t completely honed his craft yet and there are some moments of sloppy filmmaking that hold it back. Where Bond has style and class, this film has graphic violence and the subtly of a sledge hammer. That would be fine if it didn’t get more and more ludicrous as it goes along, yet is taken a bit too serious to have a fun time with it. It’s also disappointing that it’s climax is almost action-less and The Soldier himself is barely involved with the proceedings, while his team takes desperate…and ridiculously far-fetched…measures. As for the globe trotting locations, they are used so poorly the whole thing could have been filmed here in the US and no one would have noticed the difference. There is still some amusement, like a ski chase that begs the question, if you all had guns why didn’t you pull them out to begin with and a U.S. President (William Prince) who seems a little too trigger happy to go to war with our Israeli allies. There is also a cool soundtrack by 80s soundtrack specialists Tangerine Dream and a brief appearance by Klaus Kinski as a double crossing agent. As for Wahl, he tries hard but just doesn’t have the charisma for a big screen leading man…not that any of the other cast members should win any awards, for their work, either. A sad disappointment as this could have been a lot of fun had Glickenhaus just went with the absurdity of it all.

Overall, while a grind-house James Bond flick sounds like a blast, Glickenhaus drops the ball with a ludicrous script taken way too seriously. He also has a few sloppy moments, probably by trying to accomplish too much on a small budget and it’s climax is more silly than spectacular. Despite some globe trotting locations, they are used so poorly the whole thing could have been film here in the US and no one would have noticed the difference. Glickenhaus would make up for it with his underrated Shakedown six years later.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 2 and 1/2 bullets.

 

 

 

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES JULY 6-8

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Complete estimates are in for the weekend box office

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

1. “Ant-Man and the Wasp” $76 Million

2. “Incredibles 2″ $29 Million

3. “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” $28.5 Million

4. “The First Purge” $17.1 Million

5. “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” $7.3 Million

6. “Uncle Drew” $6.6 Million

7. “Ocean’s 8” $5.3 Million

8. “Tag” $3.1 Million

9. “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” $2.6 Million

10. “Deadpool 2” $1.7 Million

 

source: Box Office Mojo

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REVIEW: ANT-MAN AND THE WASP (2018)

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ANT-MAN AND THE WASP (2018)

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

Lackluster sequel took five writers…including star Rudd…to write the script and still produces a somewhat disappointing flick. Follow-up finds Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) under house arrest after his stint in Germany with the civil warring Avengers. Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), who are pissed at him for the blow-back from Germany, sneak him out to help them in an effort to rescue Pym’s wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) from the quantum realm. In their way is a quantum phasing villain named Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) who wants Pym’s equipment for her own purposes. If that’s not enough, slimy black market technology dealer Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) wants Pym’s equipment for HIS own greedy ventures.

Peyton Reed returns to direct and can’t get a whole lot out of this writer heavy, but content weak screenplay. Biggest problem is that aside from Pym’s noble goal of rescuing his long lost wife, one never gets the feeling that there is all that much at stake here. There’s never a sense of urgency to the proceedings and it just seems like a game of who’s got the miniaturized lab as it goes from one set of hands to another. Ghost is a decent villain, but all she wants is to stop phasing in and out of dimensions and so she’s more of a nuisance than an actually threat. When the only other villain is the comical Burch, we have a film without a real menace to liven up the convoluted proceedings. Films like this need a strong villain to click. Sure after the intensity of Avengers: Infinity War we needed something lighter and more fun, but thin and light are two different things and this film simply could have used more weight and been a bit livelier in the fun department. This seems very by-the-numbers and could have gotten a lot more out of the dynamic between Rudd’s Ant-Man and Lilly’s Wasp. The actors work well together, but the material here is weak. On the bright side there are some fun action sequences, like a romp through the streets of San Francisco and Luis (Michael Peña), Kurt (David Dastmalchian) and Dave (Tip Harris) are back to provide laughs as Scott’s former gang turned legit security advisors. This superhero sandwich may be light on meat, but is still edible and at least never boring.

Except for Goggins, Hannah John Kamen, Pfeiffer and Larry Fishburn, as a former friend of Hank Pym, the cast are all returning from the first Ant-Man flick. Rudd is charming and fun as Lang/Ant-Man though we wish he and the other four writers gave him some far more clever punchlines. Evangeline Lilly fairs a bit better showing some real superhero potential as the smart-ass, kick-ass Hope/Wasp. She and Rudd have a nice chemistry, even if they play out the cliché “they broke up between films and now are rediscovering their attraction” scenario. Douglas is a veteran and again is charming as the grumpy Pym. Pfeiffer doesn’t have a lot of screen time, but makes an impression and is a welcome addition to the gang. Hannah John-Kamen is solid as Ghost and a bit sympathetic, though she isn’t portrayed as a real threat. Fishburn is fine as a former friend and associate of Pym who may…or may not…want to help Hank retrieve Janet. Goggins is OK as the more comical than diabolical Burch. Like his Tomb Raider villain, he could have been more intimidating, but isn’t. As our bumbling trio, Peña, Dastmalchian and Harris are fun, though their presence in this story seems a little forced. Judy Greer, Bobby Cannavale and Abby Ryder Fortson also return as Lang’s “family”. A solid cast, but let down a bit by a sub-par script.

In conclusion, there was a lot of potential here with a good cast, but a weak screenplay keeps this more in the realm of mediocre than Marvel-ous. The story doesn’t present a scenario that evokes urgency or suspense and the one-liners are less imaginative and fun this time. The direction seems by-the-numbers and the creative spark of the first flick isn’t quite there. The actors help elevate this a bit with an energetic and fun Wasp from Evangeline Lilly and some amusing moments from Rudd and his trio of side-kicks. There is more than one villain, though none of them are truly villainous, so, at least there are some fun action/fight scenes to keep us somewhat entertained. Never boring, but never especially exciting either. Stay through the credits for two additional scenes that answer questions as to when this entry takes place in the scheme of Avengers: Infinity War.

-MonsterZero NJ

  Rated 2 and 1/2 ants.

 

 

 

 

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 10 HORRORS/THRILLERS THAT’LL GET YOUR BIKINI BLOODY!

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HAPPY 4th of JULY!

Bathing beauties Katherine McPhee and Sara Paxton (The Innkeepers) stranded on an island in a shark infested lake in Shark Night!

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The Fourth of July has arrived filled with beaches, BBQs and babes in bikinis! And as summer is bikini season…and horror’s second favorite time of year…MonsterZero NJ has made a list of ten fright/suspense flicks with lasses in less getting tanned and terrorized!…and because I know you’re going to ask, Jaws 2 was chosen over the original because it has more bikinis for the buck and is structured more like a slasher flick than it’s classic predecessor!

Armed with a machete and a bikini, Melissa George plans to keep her organs in Turistas!

HAPPY 4th of JULY!

-MonsterZero NJbars

BARE BONES: TAU

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TAU (2018)

Pretty petty thief Julia (Maika Monroe) finds herself kidnapped and held prisoner by a man named Alex (Ed Skrein) who is conducting sinister experiments in his secluded computerized home. All she needs to do to escape is somehow befriend and outwit his complex artificial intelligence, Tau (voiced by Gary Oldman). That’s kind of it!

Netflix debuted film is directed by Federico D’Alessandro from a script by Noga Landau and is a silly and far-fetched movie that evokes other films like 1977’s Demon Seed for one. The script is sloppy and one wonders why a genius like Alex can’t figure out how to effectively restrain Julia, who is always escaping confines and causing havoc. It has some amusing sequences and some shockingly graphic violence, but is just too weakly scripted to make effective use out of it’s scenario. We should have been far more scared for Julia, but Alex is a lame villain and Tau becomes charmed by her far too quickly for us to feel she’s in peril for too long. Producer/lead Monroe is a feisty heroine, though sometimes we feel her heroics are handed to her a bit too easily by script conveniences. On the other hand, if you have a foot fetish, bondage fetish, Maika Monroe fetish, or all of the above, this may be your Gone With The Wind. Currently streaming on Netflix.

 

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES JUNE 29-JULY 1

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Complete estimates are in for the weekend box office

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

1. “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” $60 Million

2. “Incredibles 2” $45.5 Million

3. “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” $19 Million

4. “Uncle Drew” $15.5 Million

5. “Ocean’s 8” $8 Million

6. “Tag” $5.6 Million

7. “Deadpool 2” $3.45 Million

8. “Sanju” $2.5 Million

9. “Solo: A Star Wars Story” $2.3 Million

10. “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” $2.29 Million

 

source: Box Office Mojo

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