Review Club #8 – Maggie

maggie1

 

First up, it’s Rob from over at MovieRob:

 

It’s no secret that I have never been a real fan of horror or monster movies, but for some reason almost 4 years ago, I started to watch the show The Walking Dead and became a fan of Zombie movies.

In the years since, I’ve seen many more films of the genre and still remain fascinated by it.

One of the things that somewhat bothered me about most of the Zombie kind of movies is that they all (rightfully) spend most of their time having the characters run away from Zombies instead of trying to understand the human aspects of it.

I believe that that is one of the blessing of TWD because we get to see both of those sides.

When I heard about this movie a few months back, I didn’t know much about it besides that it stars Arnie and Abigail Breslin as father and daughter.

I subsequently found out that it would be a Zombie flick and that alone was a draw for me.

In general though, this is a really crappy Zombie movie because it doesn’t have many Zombies in it, but the one aspect where it truly succeeds is in showing the emotional side of the Zombie Apocalypse.

We get to experience what a person suffers through as they are slowly turning into a zombie and that gives this movie a bit of heart.

Unfortunately, the way the story follows through and also with the fact that all of the supporting characters being really bland doesn’t help this movie along at all.

Another strike against it is that it feels like it should be a normal Arnie action film, but instead they try to get a bit of emotion out of the Terminator… which isn’t an easy thing to do.

Overall, I found this movie boring and tedious and was quite happy about its short running time.

Arnie should stick to action instead of this silly zombie drama drivel!

3/10

 

And finally, here’s mine:

 

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Maggie
(2015) Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin, Joely Richardson, Douglas M Griffin, JD Evermore, Rachel Whitman Groves, Jodie Moore, Bryce Romero, Raeden Greer

maggie

So, what to say about this film? It wasn’t very good, but it wasn’t awful. The first half hour was pretty boring, and if it were up tome, I’d have just turned it off, but I was watching with two other people, so I had to finish. Besides, it was for Review Club, and it’s not fair to have others watch the whole thing, and I wimp out 30 minutes in. So I stuck it out. It did get a little better eventually, so that was a plus, but it never turned into a great film. It was well shot, the acting was mostly good, but despite the interesting premise (done better in the video game Dead Rising) it wasn’t enough to hold my interest. There was also the fact that the titular character wasn’t really likable, so it was hard to care about her plight. To run away from a loving family during a zombie apocalypse is just asking to get infected, and what do you know, that’s exactly what happens. I have to say I was happy about the ending, but it was the only part of the film that got any emotion out of me at all. It gets a very meh 4.5/10 from me.

This film isn’t currently streaming on Netflix, nor is there a copy on YouTube, so it’s only available through rental. Take my advice, though, and skip it.

M.

 

And that’s it for now! Come back in two weeks when we review The Theory of Everything! 🙂

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Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Pyramid

The Pyramid
(2014) Ashley Hinshaw, James Buckley, Denis O’Hare, Christa Nicola, Amir K, Faycal Attougui

pyramid

I almost turned this film off as soon as it began because of the found footage style. I can’t stand it. I decided to go ahead and give it a try anyways, since I paid for it, and was happy to see that only part of it was in that style, the rest was normal film. So all the worst parts of found footage films, like running with the camera, static, blinking lights, etc, were thankfully missing from this film. There was only one actor I’d heard of (Denis O’Hare, from American Horror Story), and the acting ranged from bad to decent, but unfortunately nothing better than that. It’s pretty much a by-the-numbers creature feature (and I knew it was going to be, but since it was about pyramids and ancient Egyptian lore, I couldn’t help myself), but it was well enough done and even had some good, tense scenes. The big reveal at the end was pretty darn cool, but unfortunately the FX couldn’t keep up with their idea, and the monster (I won’t spoil as to who it is just in case anyone should want to see the film) looks very cheap. A shame, really. All in all, looking past the not-so-great effects and mediocre acting, this is a pretty good tomb crawler, so earns its score of 7/10.

This film isn’t currently on Netflix, but there are full copies on YouTube. Enjoy 🙂

 

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Mad Max Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road
(2015) Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Zoë Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton, Nathan Jones, Josh Helman, John Howard, Richard Carter, Iota, Angus Sampson

FURY ROAD

So I wondered if I should do a review of this film at all. I mean there’s not much to really say about it. There’s virtually no plot, and the acting ranges from ok to mediocre (but at least never downright bad). The best actor in the film, by far, is the always lovable Nicholas Hoult who, somehow, still looked adorable while under all that makeup and prosthetic (just like he did in Warm Bodies, how on earth does he do it??).

But let’s get real for a second, no one who went to see this movie did so for the plot or the acting. The action sequences were, of course, stunning. Most of them were actually done live, with only a little CGI to help, and it really showed. That’s all there was to the film though, start to finish. There are little pockets of dialogue here and there, but mostly it’s dirt road war. Unfortunately, I need more than that to keep me entertained for a whole 2 hours. I made the mistake of stopping the film about 90 minutes in to go to the bathroom and grab a snack, and I actually had trouble starting the film up again. If my husband hadn’t been watching it with me and insisted on finishing it, I’m not actually sure if I would have finished. I probably would have, since there was so little time left, but the fact that I had to think about it should tell you something about how much I enjoyed it, or didn’t, rather. I didn’t hate it, the action sequences were entertaining, but I just wish we’d of had at least some plot and character development. People died from the good guys and it was hard to care, and that’s never a good sign. I also had some trouble with Tom Hardy’s voice (or, shall I say, his grunting), and accent sliding on and off. Either let him keep his accent, or don’t. Don’t let him do both!

All in all, it’s nothing more than a mediocre film with awesome effects and stunts. 6.5/10 (the extra .5 is for Tom Hardy’s lips. Meow.)

M.

Review Club #7 – Chef

Chef-Movie

 

Up first, we have Abbi, from over at abbiosbiston:

Chef (2014)

Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) has been the Head Chef at a famous Los Angeles restaurant for years so when he’s about to be reviewed by critic, Ramsay Michael (Oliver Platt) he’s quite excited and looking forward to testing out a new menu. Unfortunately the owner, Riva (Dustin Hoffman) isn’t having any of it and insists that Carl stick to the tried and true regular menu. Ramsay is less than impressed and takes to Twitter to express his lack of enthusiasm which sparks off a social media war that ends in Carl not only becoming a viral sensation for all the wrong reasons but also losing his job. With nothing to do and nowhere to go Carl’s ex-wife (Sofia Vergara) offers him the opportunity to spend some time with his son, Percy (Emjay Alexander) and to meet up with her other ex-husband (Robert Downey Jr) to discuss the possibility of starting a food truck. As the possibility becomes a reality Carl takes off across the country with his trusty sous chef, Martin (John Leguizamo) and Percy in tow. Along the journey not only will Carl reconnect with Percy but he’ll also rediscover his passion for food and why he started cooking in the first place.

There were some absolutely great things about Chef. I thought Favreau gave a heartfelt and charming performance and the relationship between him and Alexander came across as genuine. It was a joy to watch their bond strengthening and them learning from each other. I also always love John Leguizamo and again he doesn’t disappoint in a strong supporting role. At the same time it is a beautiful love letter to food and cooking from the heart and the way the delicious treats on display are filmed are bordering on pornographic. Do not watch this if you are on diet or hungry (I was bother).

On the other hand it’s a somewhat slow meandering story with very limited conflict that never really goes beyond just being sweet and heartwarming. Sometimes everyone needs to watch a movie like that but ultimately it’s probably not going to be remembered within a couple of years. I also felt like Scarlett Johansson was a bit lost playing Favreau’s potential love interest.

Definitely worth a watch but probably with a sandwich in one and and your remote control in the other.

3.5/5

 

Up next is Rob, from MovieRob:

I have always been a fan of Jon Favreau and his movies. He is a great writer and director and knows how to create characters and stories that we can relate to and want to keep watching.

Favreau is the perfect example of what an actor/writer/director should be and do when making a movie. He researched this kind of role so intensely that he even was willing to put himself through a lot of training in order to appear as an expert chef…and it shows

The characters in this movie seemed very real and it is quite easy to relate to them.

The most realistic part was the father-son relationship between Favreau and Emjay Anthony. Their connection is described perfectly throughout the movie and it works extremely well from a sentimental perspective.

The one thing that made me lose a bit of confidence in this movie was the character played by Sofia Vergara. I love her on Modern Family, but here she seems too out of her element and the film suffers whenever her character appears or is discussed.

BTW, that grilled cheese sandwich seems really really tasty 🙂

8/10

 

As for mine… I’m so sorry, but I just couldn’t make myself watch it. I want to see it, but I have to be totally in the mood for a film like this, and I guess I just wasn’t. Thank you so much to Abbi and Rob though, for bringing their pieces to the table.

Join us in twoweeks for when we review Maggie. I promise to watch this one!

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Interstellar

Interstellar
(2014) Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, David Gyasi, Wes Bentley, Michael Caine, Bill Irwin (v.o.), Matt Damon, Topher Grace, Casey Affleck, Josh Stewart (v.o.), Mackenzie Foy, Ellen Burstyn

interstellar

Wow, that was a long movie. But that’s alright, it didn’t really feel like it’s almost 3 hours, so that’s good. I’m not sure if I really liked it, though. I mean everything was great; the acting, the visuals were breathtaking, everything was solid. The story was interesting too. I just feel like with all the grand, swooping things happening all over the film, something got lost. For some reason I couldn’t connect with the characters, especially Murphy. I’ve been staring blankly at the screen for a while, so yeah, that’s really all I got to say about it. Good, but nothing I’m ever going to think about again. 7/10 for a film that left me feeling empty and indifferent.

M.

Mel’s 10 Things About… Penny Dreadful, season 2

Penny Dreadful (2014 – present)
(Season 2 Cast) Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Harry Treadaway, Reeve Carney, Rory Kinnear, Danny Sapani, Helen McCrory, Billie Piper, Simon Russell Beale, Sarah Greene, Douglas Hodge, Jonny Beauchamp, Hannah Tointon, Patti LuPone

Penny-Dreadful 2

{SPOILERS INCOMING}

1. Not quite as good as season 1, but still bloody excellent! This show is so good that for a while after watching it, I have trouble enjoying other stuff, cause not much is as good!
2. Kinda disappointed they started a new storyline instead of continuing the one they left off. I mean what, are the brothers politely taking turns trying to claim Vanessa?
3. Eva Green is hot. So is Josh Hartnett. Meow.
4. Mrs Poole’s dolls were creepy as hell… right up to the finale, where Vanessa was arguing with her doll. It was supposed to be tense and scary, but unfortunately came off a little silly. It’s really the only really bad thing I can say about the season, though.
5. Speaking of the finale, with each character ending up completely alone, I hope it doesn’t take half of season 3 to reunite them!
6. The whole Angelique sub-plot felt kinda tacked on for no other reason than to shock the audience. I liked her, I did, but it always felt superfluous to the rest of the story.
7. Lily’s big reveal was quite something, very unexpected. A little sad, cause the blossoming love story between her and Victor was super cute, but I suppose no one can stay happy for long in this world.
8. I’m a bit sad that Dorian, whose character I loved in season 1, went so bad so fast. I know he was never a good guy, but I dunno. I just really preferred him in season 1.
9. Loved all of Vanessa’s back story. The episode about her and her mentor was absolutely perfect, start to end.
10. Looking forward to see what Hecate will be up to next. Here’s hoping they don’t just skip to the next story again, and just leave her hanging. I need to find out if Ethan will really be turned bad. I certainly hope not.

If you haven’t seen this show and like all things macabre, then I suggest you put down whatever you’re doing and see it, now! It’s playing in several country’s Netflix, and is also playing on On Demand.

M.

Mel’s 10 Things About… Space Odyssey

Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets
(2004) Martin McDougall, Joanne McQuinn, Rad Lazar, Mark Dexter, Michelle Joseph, Mark Tandy, Hélène Mahieu, Lourdes Faberes, John Schwab, Colin Stinton, David Suchet (v.o.)

Space Odyssey Voyage to the Planets

1. The CGI was simply breathtaking.
2. Acting was good all round.
3. The the mix of film and faux-documentary style. Sometimes that can go horribly wrong, in this case it went very, very right.
4. The science, as far as I can tell, is really good. It lines up with other shows I’ve watched and books I’ve read on the subject. Some things are out-dated, but the film was made in 2004 after all.
5. There are some good, tense scenes here and there, and one really sad one that made me bawl like a baby the first time round.
6. This still falls into the realm of science fiction, but for how long, I wonder? I certainly hope I live long enough to see our explorations of other planets and moons.
7. Everything was mostly believable except maybe putting humans on Venus and Io. Would a titanium suit really protect us from the awesome pressures and heat from Venus?
8. I was really hoping, while hovering around Jupiter and Saturn that they’d land on, or at least mention, the moons Titan and Europa. The latter, with its under-ice ocean, is tremendously exciting. (Another very good film on the subject is Europa Report, about what might be swimming around in that deep, dark ocean.)
9. That one dude who was more interested in the science than in the safety of the astronauts really pissed me off, and I’d like to say that that would never happen in real life, but really now, who am I kidding?
10. I was kinda pissed that the “weak one” was a woman. Why not a man? Or, even better, why have a weak one at all? Having a full team of great astronauts isn’t that far a stretch.

Great little film by the BBC. I’d recommend it to anyone even slightly interested in space travel.

9.5/10

 

M.