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Rating History

Adult World
Adult World (2014)
21 months ago via Flixster
½

Another disappointment in another package that looked too good to be true. Emma Roberts, Evan Peters and John Cusack....seems like a good time...and then 20 minutes rolled by and I thought hours had passed. Sometimes, when you watch a movie, it is over before you realize it, and other times, minutes are like millennia. This is a perfect example of the later. I actually checked the status bar several times though out the movie.

The good: Roberts was fine, even though I found her rather whinny, but that is to be expected because that is what the character called for. The best part about the movie was actually her interactions with John Cusack. I was very excited to see Peters in another role, but this was not special for him at all. This is a role that could have been played by anyone. I would guess that Peters got the part because he worked with Roberts previously. I know all three are more talented than they seemed to let on in this film. The stand out actor in this for me was Chris Riggi. He did a great job. I thought at times the character had some conflicting moods, but it worked for me.

I would like to stay a little reserved on my feelings of the bad, because I really did not enjoy much. I did not like the character Amy. She was too self-involved. I understand she was trying to be deep, but as everyone could see, she was not very deep. I was a modest fan of Cusack as the mentor, but even he came off as confusing at times. Also, a completely wasted talent in Cloris Leachman. If it weren't for the fact that I just watched the movie I would have immediately forgotten she was in this, along with Shannon Woodward. In, and out.

As this is a character/coming of age piece, there isn't much else to talk about. Both aspects for me failed. There are some great coming of age movies out there, but I seem to keep finding bad ones lately.

Just looked up a few box numbers and the thing only made $19,731. I hope the production budget was extremely low. It also didn't really score that well on any of the reviews.

Hopefully, I will have a chance to see Roberts and Peters in some other movies where they can really shine (Or I guess I could just defer to American Horror Story).

The Lazarus Effect
21 months ago via Flixster
½

So, wow. I had medium expectations going into this, but I was definitely let down. This movie seems to have a major identity crisis. At some points it is a horror movie with a lot of cliché nonsense like flickering lights. And at others it was a hybrid Lucy/Limitless movie. Somehow the movie reminded me of a hybrid between Splice and Mindhunters. I also think at one point they tried a little paranormal activity thing. I didn't understand why though. There was no reason to use the security cam at the point as a frame of reference.

I don't have a lot to say about this because it was so disappointing. The trailers made it look like a nice little horror film, but it was barely that. I think Olivia Wilde just took the role to be a bad guy for once. I also had higher expectations for Evan Peters and Mark Duplass. No one cast member really stood out. Oh wait, the dog did a really good job at standing still and being angry on command.

I would like to also address the relationship between the two main characters. I honestly don't think they gave two craps about one another, and when it became necessary to pump the drug into Wilde and bring her back to life, I honestly wondered why he even bothered. It didn't seem like he really wanted her around before that except for as a team member.

Another gripe, and I will tread lightly because it does involve plot that is not revealed in the trailer. There is a sequence that winds up being more important than I think it should be. This whole thread seems pointless and as a way to resolve the story line really didn't work for me.

I think we could have started the movie up about half way through, and then when the credits role actually continued the story. How it ended seemed more interesting to me than the whole movie. I don't want a sequel, but if they did one starting at that point, I would be kind of fascinated to see where it went.

Speaking of sequel potential, this movie only cost $3.3 million (I actually guessed $2 million, because nothing about the special effects were that great) and made $36 million. That actually means that people went out to see it, and since everyone speaks in franchise it may get a sequel. As long as they keep that budget down, they could probably make some more pocket change.

In closing, I would normally say, "Go and see this if you like blah, blah, blah," or perhaps make a night out of this and another strand of familiar movies, but I really don't think you should waste your time watching this movie. With so many others out there, there really is no reason to stop and watch this one.

Lone Survivor
Lone Survivor (2014)
21 months ago via Flixster

Lone Survivor 6/10 or 3*

In watching this, I found myself feeling very guilty for the first 1/4 of the movie because all of the set up was boring me. Having said that, once the action kicked into high gear, I was up and ready for anything. These guys are friggin' inhuman. I understand that is what they are trained for, but damn.

Role Call: Ben Foster stood out the most for me. I don't think of him and think, "badass," but definitely have a new perspective on him. I know he is a fantastic actor, but always in the supporting roles. Maybe he will eventually get his stand out lead for the Oscar performance that I know he can bring. Taylor Kitsch, a long star in the making. Collider Movie talk/Schmoesknow's Christian Harloff would often say that Hollywood sometimes wants to shove the next big actor down our throats, and I have always thought that about Kitsch. He did a great job in this, but I am still not seeing all the star potential. Other roles he has played have been entertaining, but I need to see why Hollywood really forced him at us. Mark Wahlberg: Dude is always a badass in his own way. I feel like every role he does any more, he does a good job. I think he really brought some A-Game toward the end of the movie. Emile Hersch: I would never expect to see in a movie like this, but he did fine. He is just such a small dude. Never really thought of him as SEALS material. Great in a role like the Girl Next Door though. Jerry Fererra: random role for Turtle, but he looked good. Then Eric Bana: Dude should just be in every war movie that ever comes out any more...he is getting real close.

They all did a great job, but I thought that the stand out here was Peter Berg. Berg is a good director, and in a movie like this, I feel like it shows. He got good/great performances out of his cast, and I would imagine he has built up a good rapport with many of them. Berg is hit and miss overall, but the ones that he does well have always really caught my attention.

The stunts in this were all fantastic. I cringed over every bullet wound, and laceration. Every fall between the rocks made my stomach drop as if I were watching an above water account of The Impossible all over again.

My biggest qualm: I kind of knew what would happen as the story progressed. It is called Lone Survivor for goodness sake. Doesn't that take the mystery out of the story? This being a relatively faithful retelling of accounts I suppose was the bigger story.

Overall, I did enjoy the movie. It was a beautifully shot film and a well acted one. I wish that all movies could look this crisp on the screen.

Fun Facts: This movie was made for $40 million and pulled in $149.3 million. That is pretty good. And here we see another original script succeeding, and on a modest budget. Rotten Tomatoes has a 75%/87% score. So, my 6/10 is a little low, but not completely out of the ballpark.

If you want a good action sequences, or some good acting and military brotherly love, this movie will be for you. Maybe tie this in to a long night of military movies with something like American Sniper, The Hurt Locker and Blackhawk Down. That would make for a hell of a night.

Horns
Horns (2014)
21 months ago via Flixster
½

Horns 5/10 or 2.5*

This is going to be an odd one to talk about because I honestly don't know what in the world I just watched. It was a murder mystery with an element of science fiction and some kind of religious thing too. I would also like to start off by pointing out that this is the first movie I have seen Daniel Ratcliff in outside of the Harry Potter world. I will get to The Lady in Black eventually.

I am not sure whether to start with the goods or the bads, because unfortunately the bads outweigh the goods. I still gave it a very average score, but I am kind of an eternal optimist, and find most of my movie going experiences worth the watch. Hmmm, the good, I did enjoy the special effects. I definitely enjoyed the scenes when people would tell Ratcliff the truth, no matter what, and I did enjoy some of the mythology, but I think that is about where it stops.

Ratcliff played a decent role. I really began to believe the motivations of his character the madder he became, and the more rage filled he was. At the beginning, I had a hard time believing he was really that torn up. Upset, sure, but nothing about what he was doing made me feel like he cared, especially not the a-typical lines about how he loved his girlfriend. The cast they placed around Ratcliff was fine too, but the shining star in the cast was probably Juno Temple. I feel like whatever she is in, she is very good. I also feel like she gets naked in a vast majority of her roles too. Kudos to her I suppose and the entire audience that loves things like that (admittedly, sometimes this guy). Anyway, she was great, but to comment on the nude scene, they could have done the entire movie without one. It did not add or detract from the passion of the scene. So that's that. Max Minghella, Joe Anderson, James Remar, Kathleen Quinlan and David Morse were all fine, but there wasn't anything particularly compelling about any of them. The casting decision that caught me off guard was Heather Graham. Oh wow. What has she done besides Hangover in the last handful of years that they could so easily cast her in this tiny role? Oh well. Moving on.

Time for more bads. I thought that the way that the film was laid out with the extensive scenes in the past was all wrong. Although these scenes did give character development and motivation, they were too long and I think the movie would have played smoother if they would have just done the whole thing chronologically. This of course leads me to my next problem, they could have cut about 20 - 30 minutes of that movie out and I think it would have been just as effective. Maybe more glimpses into the past as opposed to full story and it would have flowed a bit better. Another problem with the story was a lack of explanation on the some of the plot devices that just worked out naturally with no explanation. There are a lot of assumptions made that the audience would have to just follow along blindly shaking the collective head to really make some of the leaps from point A to point B. I was still able to follow, but there was a little too much convenience at times. Maybe a little more time spent on the mythology and transformation and little less in the extensive past and it would have worked better as well.

I dunno. I was entertained overall for sure, but having no expectations going in and not having them lifted or let down coming out really does nothing for me. Very middle of the road blah.

I cannot seem to find a production budget, but the movie only took in about $3.3 million. I hope there wasn't too much of a loss. Honestly, a few issues with the story and some tightening up of some scenes and the movie would have been moderately good. Last fun fact: Alexandre Aja also directed High Tension and The Hills Have Eyes. His dark tone is meant for movies like these. I just hope he can put out another freak fest and mess with my head like he did in The Hills Have Eyes.

For a viewing, what it all really boils down to is do you have time to kill? Do you have low expectations? Would you like to see Ratcliff smoke a cigarette? Did you wonder what happened to Heather Graham? Then this movie is for you.