adaptation

[Movie Review] ‘The Disaster Artist’ is Real Hollywood Movie!

disasterartist_posterThe cinematic embarrassment that became a cult phenomenon now has its own movie dedicated to the madman at its core. Many wondered, how could anyone make a good movie out of what is widely considered one of the worst movies ever made? Jame Franco and his team have don’t exactly that thanks in large part to its surprising earnestness in relation to its titular subject and love of the property as a whole.

It perhaps could have been too easy to make a mockery of the lore behind, The Room. A enigmatic crazy person, Tommy Wiseau (portrayed by James Franco with a bizarre accent and a dream–to come to LA with the hopes of becoming a star. In tow with his best friend, Greg Sestero (Dave Franco), the two struggle to make their dream a reality so they decide to manifest destiny themselves. Tommy conjures up a big time American drama in which he will star alongside Mark and together they will force Hollywood to know their names–and boy did they ever. (more…)

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[Movie Review] You’re Gonna Want to Play ‘Gerald’s Game’

We as horror fans are lucky to have Mike Flanagan. The man is making concepts that have no right work, do so in spectacular fashion. From murderous mirrors, or a killer stalking a deaf victim all the way to making the original Ouija suck a little less–now if only someone would help Before I Wake finally see the light of day. 

Now, we’ve got Gerald’s Game. A movie that, in large part, takes place in a single location. Jessie (Carla Gugino) and her hubby Gerald (Bruce Greenwood) decide to take a trip to their lake house and in an effort to spice if their marriage Gerald handcuffs Jessie to the bed. However, when Gerald’s role playing fantasy goes awry he suffers a heart attack and dies before he can uncuff Jessie. Left in an impossible situation she is forced to confront her traumatic past while searching for any clue that help her escape the cuffs. 

How fitting for the latest Netflix Original to come out in 2017 just a month after we experienced a total solar eclipse. A similar event plays a pivotal role in Jessie’s psychological journey. The tole of emotional wounds coming to a head as she sits on the bed waiting for her death or for help to arrive. As her mind begins to crack she envisions versions of herself and her husband moving freely throughout as part of her internal thought process–both taunting her and trying help her thing logically in her predicament. 

Gerald’s Game unfolds as a dramatic psychological thriller. Part drama about a married couple’s struggles at keeping the romance alive due to hidden desires and other deeper emotional scars and part survival thriller. Gugino crushes both aspects of her character–a woman who’s dodged childhood trauma her hold life and one driven to survive when forced to examine her actions that lead her to being handcuffed to that bed. Greenwood too, compliments Gugino as a force of masculinity with complicated ties to Jessie’s deep seeded troubles. In the end the film also delivers just enough cringeworthy violence and bone chilling sound effects to gratify genre fans looking for the cherry-on-top. 

Like any minimalist thriller the struggle is keeping the audience riveted–Flanagan and co-writer Jeff Howard spin some incredible sequences of psychological barbs between characters. Combined with Flanagan’s visual prowess to stage a scene for maximum creep factor to provide some stiff competition to Pennywise and The Losers Club for best King adaptation of 2017. 

Widely considered one of many unfilmable King novels, Flanagan makes it look like a walk in the park. Gerald’s Game is taught, suspenseful and magnificently performed–but a shame that the vast majority of the populism will only be able to experience it on the small screen. 

Rating: A

Beer Recommendation: None at this time. Sorry, you kinky pervs. 

[Opinion] Recasting The Losers Club for IT Chapter Two

One of the strongest aspects of this year’s IT was its youthful cast. So with the closure of Chapter One, one of the biggest questions for fans was, “Who’s gonna play who in the sequel?” As you may or may not know, Pennywise is an ancient evil that emerges for a period of time every 27 years to feed in the children of Derry.

Spoilers follow, so if you’re not wanting to be spoiled about the ending of IT or the surviving characters then you’d best turn away NOW. At the end of IT the Losers are able to successfully defeat Pennywise and force him into his 27 year slumber without feasting on a member of their club. To celebrate, the group makes a blood pact to return to Derry to fight Pennywise should It ever return to wreak havoc on the town again.  (more…)

[Movie Review] IT Redefines the Hollywood Horror Formula

Don’t get swept up in thinking nostalgia is what lends to your percepted fond memories of the original 90’s IT mini-series. It’s pretty bad. Apart from Tim Curry’s always steady and reliable acting chops the mini-series is borderline unwatchable. Luckily, a fondness for the original is not a prerequisite for digging deep into MAMA director, Andy Muschietti’s delightful adaptation.

Not without its own issues (but we’ll get to that) the latest IT pulls from the classic Stephen King novel of the same name in which a handful of bullied youths that make up The Losers Club must band together to fight an ancient evil residing in their quaint town of Derry. Iconically, the evil takes the form of many of the character’s deepest fears, but it’s hands down favorite apprearance is a f***** up clown by the name of Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård). This adaptation finds Pennywise’s design that if a Victorian era clown with fiendishly evil facial expressions, but played interestingly enough by Skarsgård–alternating from over-the-top giggles to a guttural sinister tone that’s as inconsistent as it is unsettling at times.  (more…)

[Movie Review] A Warm and Welcome Homecoming for Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man

spidermanhome_posterWith great power, comes great responsibility, John Watts. It’s one thing to have Spidey somewhat back in the hands of Marvel Studios, it’s a whole other thing to deliver a portrayal of Peter Parker’s alter ego that can wipe the slate clean from sins passed. Watts has come from ultra low budget horror, Clown, to helming what is hands down the greatest Spider-Man film to date.

Sam Raimi and Marc Webb both tried and–to certain degrees–failed to deliver crowd pleasing adventures for everyone’s favorite web-slinger. While these were not the first efforts to bring the character to the screen in one way or another, of the most modern attempts it would seem the third time (third iteration anyway) was the charm. Tom Holland’s first appearance in Captain America: Civil War gave legions of fans hope for the impending reboot as it certainly appeared that finally the tone and personality of Peter Parker and his arachnid alias had been captured. Spider-Man: Homecoming extends that and more with nearly the entire high school setting.  (more…)

[Movie Review] ‘Logan’ Infuses Heart and Violence into a Potent Cocktail

logan_poster-tgofWhile superhero fatigue still has me in its icy grip, along comes Logan to warm that chill–at least temporarily. Perhaps it’s the, at times, overwhelming violence or the emotional vulnerability of being a new dad that makes the arc Wolverine’s final chapter that much more effective. Whatever way you look at it, Hugh Jackman’s curtain call as the claw wielding potty-mouth is a fitting and emotional bow that might rely a little too much on its R rating and hero cliches.

Picking up in 2029 where mutant residency has since passed, Logan spends his days driving a limo for drunk brides and frat boys chanting ‘Merica near the US/Mexico border. South of the border Logan lives with Caliban (Stephen Merchant) and an aged Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart with his most powerful portrayal as Professor X to date) suffering dementia and the occasional population crippling seizure. With his health steadily declining and his body unwilling to heal like it used to Logan begrudgingly accepts to transport a young mutant, Laura (Dafne Keen), with powers strikingly similar to his own, North across the Canadian border and hopefully to safety away from the research facility tracking her down. (more…)

Movie Review: I Am Not a Serial Killer

iamnotaserialkiller_posterDan Wells’ John Wayne Cleaver trilogy is certainly not your typical set of YA novels. Not having read them myself and seeing Billy O’Brien’s adaptation I would have to assume the books have more in common with the works of Jeff Lindsay than that of Suzanne Collins. The delineation of course moot as I Am Not a Serial Killer distances itself from either categorization with something of a supernatural twist.

Similarities aside, the film adaptation puts us along the path of the aforementioned John Cleaver (Max Records). A kid who by most indications seems normal; he loves seems to love his mother, he occasionally looks in on his elderly neighbors, and has a crush on a cute girl in school. However, John is a diagnosed sociopath who spends time discussing his violent urges with his psychologist and how to suppress them. For instance, whenever John feels the need to hurt someone, he simply smiles and pays them a compliment- a strategy that to this point has worked. However, a series of murders in his town peaks his interest as the killer takes a new body part with every victim and leaves a puddle of black muck behind. Using his unique instincts John seeks out the culprit, but what he finds might just tear down all the work he’s done to calm the monster dwelling inside of himself.  (more…)

TGoF Hangover: Game of Thrones Season 6

The TGoF hangover. Originally meant to help me catch up on some movies I had seen and wanted to review, but perhaps in a more abbreviated fashion. To be clear, this section is still for those purposes, but going forward it may be the go-to spot to talk about something tragically overlooked on this site…TV. 

To be fair, I do not watch a whole lot of TV. Most of my consumption comes in short bursts and with specific shows that I’ve become attached to. I along with a large section of society recently consumers ten captivating episodes of the HBO juggernaut, Game of Thrones. Okay, so maybe not all ten were as captivating as I personally would have liked them to be, but Season 6 will still go down as one of the show’s best. It’s not without its missteps, but a breathless finale very nearly merits a boast of genius in the general direction of the show runners. 

Before reading further be aware that I will delve into spoilers, so do not continue along if you wish to not have any of Season 6 spoiled for you. 

Instead of running down and overwhelming anyone by hitting every show best from beginning to end, it’s much more time and eye friendly to hit some of the highs and lows for the season. Beginning with the lows. The worst, by far, would have to be Arya’s story arc. For the last two seasons we’ve been witnessing her slow transition into a cold blooded killer. That in and of itself is not a problem, but her time spent with the whole coven of faceless men and becoming no one felt like a complete waste of time given where the last two espisodes left the young Stark girl. Was it satisfying to see her cut the sniveling throat of Walder Frey? Absolutely. At the same time it’s sad to see one of the show’s most consistent sleazy characters bid farewell at the expense of what was an intensely sloppy storyline over seasons 5 and 6. 

Limping behind the Arya missteps are the criminally underused or misused trio of characrers: Tyrion, Lord Varys, and Little Finger (aka Lord Baelish). Tyrion has already been flipping around like a fish out of water for the last couple seasons, but he’s done it with some undeniable swag. This season, his wisdom and typical hijinx either felt secondary or rendered impotent. Attempts at what has made him one of Thrones’ most popular character often fell flat until the heartfelt finale when he and Daenerys’ team up finally caught some traction. Varys and Little Finger simply were too absent from this season to warrant much to talk about- which itself is the complaint. Still, looking forward to what is sure to be a firey season 7 as Daenerys chargers her way to Westeros.

Now on to the good, of which outweigh the bad by a landslide. Sure, this season was a whole lot of moving around of chess pieces with few moments of “Check,” but we also got to see a few pieces enter back into play. Long suspected to be still among the living, Sandor Clegane (aka The Hound) made a peaceful return that was short lived as his life as a faithful carpenter quickly escalated to bloodthirsty revenge. Cersei made a bang at her own trial and in the process wiped out some potentially large players in the GoT universe. Jon and Sansa took back Winterfell and turned Ramsey Bolton into dog meat. We finally learn the tragic truth behind why the sweet gentle giant Hodor is how he….*gulp* was as well as the true lineage of Jon Snow. All in all when you start adding it all up, fans shouldn’t have much to hate on at the end of the day. 

We now wait anxiously for the series’ return next year and how all of these new developments play into the fates of all our favorite cheaters. Until next time, Game of Thrones…until next time.

TGoF Hangover: Warcraft, Angry Birds, Captain America: Civil War, Neighbors 2, TMNT 2, and More!

It’s been a while and there are plenty of movies in my rear view so to conserve some space you can check out my reviews of some recently released flicks all in one place- as well as beer recommendations to go with. Read on to check out some reviews for the following: Warcraft, Angry Birds, Captain America: Civil War, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Manson’s Lost Girls, and The Ones Below!

Warcraft

Zero. That is exactly the amount of not hours, not minutes, but seconds I’ve spent playing World of Warcraft. So what business have I to attempt to review a film that is so obvious in its attempts to please its fans? Technically none. As a fan of cinema and someone who tries to see anything and everything that I possibly can it behooves oneself to have a voice amongst those who are like me, but maybe are on the fence about spending money to see it.  (more…)

Movie Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

bvsdoj_tgofThere are those of us who willingly choose to avoid the paper representations of the immensely popular superhero films. In doing so, while unable to provide a glimpse into how faithful the adaptations are, can still provide a unique and still truthful outlook to the success of the filmmakers to present a story that is worthwhile and thrilling. Sadly, it’s filmmakers like Zack Snyder who make us realize how good we had it with Christopher Nolan and his uneven take on the cowled vigilante in The Dark Knight Rises. Nolan, provided a grim perspective on the Batman universe and Snyder too uses the grim approach, it also is more often than not…soulless.

For better or worse I approach each superhero flick hoping to experience a well told story. With any luck it’ll come together cohesively even without having read the comics. One should not have to have that knowledge to enjoy the film counterparts because it is the job of the filmmaker to present the story in a way that makes sense in its own right. Snyder has not done his due diligence in this regard- at least from this viewer’s perspective. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice certainly sets the table for DC’s own Avengers type formula, but does so in messy fashion. Consider Synder’s vision the Island of Misfit toys so to speak, which goes a long way in describing the film as a whole. It’s like a child playing with his toys and like a child they’re no sense or meaning to anything that happens, just the bashing together of plastic soulless figures because it’s fun. Plus this particular child has a $250 million budget so those plastic toys look a lot cooler.  (more…)