Thread for my lousy reviews.

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Death Wish (1974)
Dir. Michael Winner

Minor spoilers below.

Oh baby, what a disappointment. This is a mess. Maybe it's because I was led to believe that this was going to be some kind of masterpiece or that it set the template for a lot of modern revenge movies. But even watching this with forgiving eyes, I see nothing but flaws. I'm not sure this is even B-movie level.

The first twenty minutes actually trick you into thinking that the rest of the film is going to be decent, or at the very least coherent. Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) is a down-to-earth, bleeding heart liberal architect who gets a phone call one day informing him that his wife and daughter had been raped and assaulted by a group of thugs. There it is. Now Paul will go on a rampage ending in killing the pieces of trash that killed his wife. Right?

What follows is a confusing, meandering, nonsensical string of events so willingly stupid and free of logic that it makes me question the sanity of anyone who can honestly say they enjoy the flick and have watched it multiple times. Doing my best not to completely spoil anything, what the hell was going on in this?

Eventually, the core reason Kersey becomes an assassin of sorts just gets completely dropped. The action scenes are just in fact the same scene over and over again in different locations. There are a litany of scenes with no meaning and no conflict. No resolution. No satisfaction. Seemingly every criminal in the city comes equipped with only a knife while our protagonist appears to be a God considering he's the only one with an access to firearms.

You can only hear "give me the money" so many times before you stop thinking about the movie and just dial in on Bronson's 'stache.

FINAL VERDICT: Trash heap. Don't watch it.

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Frank (2014)
Dir. Lenny Abrahamson

Minor spoilers below.

It's too often that low budget indies share the same core DNA. Long, hypnotizing shots. Kind of a semblance of a plot but not a fully fleshed out story. Sad existentialism. Non-endings. Blech. So, it's exciting when something so fresh and original comes around.

Frank is good. Really good. The film tells the story of a young, passionate keyboard player named Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) who wants nothing else but to play music despite being a tad mediocre and knowing it. After finding an ad in the paper looking for someone that plays the keys, Jon heads to this rehearsal of sorts to try out for the band.

There he meets a set of strange folk who don't even acknowledge his arrival and instead launch into some jam that sounds like a weird modern blend of Franz Ferdinand, Pink Floyd and Screamin' Jay Hawkins that fits so well and sounds so good that we can relate to the smile that washes over Jon's face as he realizes what he's gotten himself into. Even if the lead singer of the band, Frank (Michael Fassbender), wears a giant paper-mache head reminiscent of a character out of Morel Orel and never shows his real face to anyone.

A true character driven story pushed forward with fantastic performances by Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Fassbender and Scoot McNairy, this is an extremely intriguing, ultra original piece of work that outshines its low-budget contemporaries a hundred times over. Exploring serious thought-provoking themes in endearing ways and ending on a higher note than I thought was possible, I can't recommend Frank enough. It's on Netflix Instant. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

FINAL VERDICT: One of the most original films I've seen in quite some time. You'd be doing yourself an injustice by not checking this out. A contained, oddly beautiful little movie.

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Starry Eyes (2014)
Dir. Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer

Minor spoilers below.

Like its main character, Starry Eyes is extremely ambitious. Is it as ambitious to a fault, though?

Alex Essoe delivers a heartbreaking performance as Sarah and carries this film as an aspiring actress that burns to be famous living in LA with a group of other aspiring creatives. Though unlike her friends, Sarah actually has a will and a drive to get to the top. She walks the walk. As opposed to the others who just spend their time talking about what they want to do while never really acting on anything.

With great character precision and a feeling of overall desperation, this is a horror film to be watched ASAP. As disturbing as it is interesting, I find Sarah's descent into a dark underworld controlling Hollywood to be extremely unnerving and creepy as all hell. A clear homage to the scary flicks of yesteryear (including its vintage title card), I'm reminded of the old drive-in double features of the 70's where this would've not only fit right in but would've probably had top billing.

Unfortunately though, like many of those back in the day, the story does fall off the tracks and go down a path that it didn't really have to resulting in a bit of a lesser film. There's so much potential here and I feel a more subtle execution of ideas and themes could've taken Starry Eyes to the next level. With silly decisions and cliche character and story elements, I'm left feeling less enthusiastic about this one than I really want to be as I love the first half of the film and want to be on its side. A more solid focus and grounded logic and this would've been my favorite horror movie of 2014.

FINAL VERDICT: Definitely worth a watch. Love its ambition. Love Alex Essoe's performance. But prepare to be disappointed when all is revealed and done so in an unsatisfying, deflating way.

I have to return some videotapes.
Dang, you're a pretty tough critic with the score, but it seems like you enjoy it more in your descriptions. I always kind of wanted to see Frank, but never had a huge urge to watch it. Nice reviews so far, glad to see you made your own thread.

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Rampage (2009)

Dir. Uwe Boll

In the midst of the whole Uwe freak-out fiasco that's happened over the past week, I kept seeing people referring to this movie Rampage to prove that he'd made something worthwhile. I've never even heard of the thing before watching it and I haven't seen a Boll movie since maybe House of the Dead? Or Bloodrayne? Not sure.

I can see what people are getting at. Rampage doesn't look too bad despite being shot completely handheld and manages to push the envelope as far as what's on screen. It even manages to evoke an emotion out of the viewer albeit however negative it may be. There's an art to what happens here. But. I'm positive it wasn't intentional after hearing him basically agree with the ridiculous sociopath protagonist's logic in his already infamous rant.

So, whatever message there was in this film is now lost. Because it was never there to begin with. Instead, you get a peek into the most immature baseline thought process that one could adopt over a period of time where they weren't getting what they thought they deserved. The everyone-else-is-wrong logic. This is what you would get if a 13-year-old outcast could make a movie about what he wanted to do to the bullies. Same ending you'd get too.

I can't help but think that if I didn't know what the filmmaker's true intentions were behind the flick, that I'd have felt another way about it. Because despite the poor character logic, shoddy acting and cringeworthy dialogue peppered throughout -- there was something happening on screen that could be interpreted as important. Especially to someone who has had those thoughts of the world being out to get them and the only answer being violence. Maybe, it still does hit those marks even if they weren't aiming at the right target.

All in all, Rampage is a Syfy tier Saturday night 3AM style watch. It's not good. But it borders on being so. Which is maybe the best thing that anyone has ever said about one of Uwe's movies?

FINAL VERDICT: I feel like that scene in Spongebob trying to lift the marshmallow weights is a good metaphor for Uwe's subconscious struggling to pull a good movie to light. Then of course, Spongebob rips his pants.

Too bad you didn't like Rampage as I'm a huge fan. Especially with what's been going on in the world, I find the movie to be very disturbing, which I love. It seems that most others find a more subtle movie like Elephant or We Need to Talk About Kevin more effective. Not me, I found Rampage to be absolutely chilling.

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Interstellar (2014)

Dir. Christopher Nolan

Been stewing on this for the past 24 hours and wanted to see if I could coherently type up my thoughts on what some declare to be a masterpiece and others deem a misstep. I somehow managed to avoid nearly all spoilers since Interstellar's release and went into watching it with absolutely no idea of the plot.

Right off the bat, I should explain that "movie science" does not matter to me one iota. Movies and fiction in general shouldn't have to adhere to real world rules and I don't understand those who think they should. So analyzing the factual/non-factual aspect of this movie isn't of any interest to me. I care only about the story and the execution. That being said, there's now a push to get this shown in schools so I'm guessing if they're not on the money -- they're close.

Matthew McConaughey stars as Joe "Coop" Cooper, an apparently retired former NASA engineer who now spends his free time hanging out with his kids and chasing drones in his muddied pickup. I mean, this performance isn't great. It's just serviceable, really. I could see countless other actors who would've fit into this role and maybe even could've done a better job. It feels like he got the part since he was Hot Actor at the time and was going through his big career renaissance that has yet to let up. To be fair though, there are really no notable acting performances in the film.

I don't want to get into spoilers here. Just because there might be others like me who decided to let the hype die down and check it out later. But sweet Jesus, the set-up -- which pays off HUGE, to be fair -- is so ridiculously asinine that I almost mentally checked out within the first 30 minutes of the movie. Really? That would really be his first thought? And he'd be right? I think most people will know what I'm talking about here and I guess it's worth suspending your disbelief for given the payoff is so good. Raving about this ending the way I am, you might get the impression that I truly enjoyed this film more than not.

Sadly, this is not the case. After we get over the bizarre introduction to our main story, we're launched into the stars with our cast of flat ass characters, long scenes of expository dialogue matched with a numbing lack of any external conflict and a subplot involving a certain Mystery Actor Cameo that is so outside the realm of things that should've happened here that I can't believe more people haven't complained about it. Tone deaf writing. Interstellar also falls victim to a hamfisted save-the-world ticking clock which takes away from the stakes that really matter in the film involving Coop, his voyage and his family.

Thankfully, mercifully even, after over two hours of a long haul, you are absolutely rewarded for your patience. The last sequence of this film is so incredible that it garnered another whole star in my rating on its own. I'm talking, this is the most ambitious thing I've seen in film -- nevermind a AAA Hollywood film at that -- and the execution is near flawless. The visuals that transpire throughout the film are lovely, but our ending is where they really shine and I have to think that if Nolan had given his editor a bit more leeway with the shears, the near three hour Interstellar could've been a monster at that year's Academy Awards. The new 2001, this is not. But that's not a slag. There was an intention here to make something phenomenal given its conclusion. But sadly, the story that five star finale called for got lost in translation.

FINAL VERDICT: Watch for the last 45 minutes alone. Lower your expectations and I think you'll probably end up enjoying yourself.