Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Martian

The Martian
(2015) Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Sean Bean, Kristen Wiig, Aksel Hennie, Benedict Wong, Donald Glover, Mackenzie Davis

martian

So I went to see The Martian at the cinema tonight. I was hopeful yet wary at the same time. The book was so amazing, and I know how Hollywood loves to change things up, so I was a little scared. I also was iffy about the casting of Matt Damon. I thought he might be too “big” for the role, too good looking. Mark Watney was described as being a little geeky, and Matt’s not the first name to come to mind when I hear “geeky”. But my fears were all unfounded, this was a great piece of film. Matt easily pulled off Mark’s geeky charm and sense of humour, but was also there when he needed to be serious and more dramatic. There was a lot missing from the film that was in the book, but that’s to be expected, there’s no way to fit everything, but everything important was there, and they didn’t add any useless Hollywoodized crap. There was just one thing that pissed me off a little, and that was that they changed a character’s race and first name. In the book, one of the NASA people is called Venket Kapoor, and he’s Indian. In the film they made him black and changed his name to Vincent. The rest of the racially diverse cast is right, so why change that one? It’s ridiculous. But that’s really the only bad thing I have to say about the film. Everything was great, good acting all round, great story, nice visuals, even the usually annoying 3D was alright. And so it gets an almost perfect 9.5/10 from me!

M.

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Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Hunt for the I-5 Killer

The Hunt for the I-5 Killer
(2011) John Corbett, Sara Canning, Tygh Runyan, Andrew Wheeler, Matt Bellefleur, Mike Dopud, Kirsten Robek, Garry Chalk, Bo Derek

i5-killer

This movie has been on my pvr for probably over a year, so I finally decided to watch it. I was a little leery (ok, a lot leery) at first because it’s an IFC film, and those tend to be pretty awful, but I do love me a good serial killer film, so I decided to give it a go. And I was pleasantly surprised. It was so much better than I’d been expecting. The acting was pretty good all round, Corbett doing a great job as the harried detective in charge of the case, and the killer, who was surprising when we found out who he was, was suitably creepy. I’ll be curious now to read up on the case now (it was a true story), since at the end there was a disclaimer that said some things were fictionalized, to find out what actually happened. Maybe it wasn’t so bad in real life..? No, I guess that’s just me dreaming again. I’m really glad that the cops were finally able to nail the fucker who did it to the wall though. Sicko. All in all, a pretty entertaining true crime film. I just wish it wasn’t on IFC. I hate bloody commercials…

7.5/10

This film isn’t currently on Netflix, but if you can find it, it’s worth your time 🙂

M.

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.

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 5 Second Review: Starry Eyes

Starry Eyes
(2014) Alexandra Essoe, Amanda Fuller, Noah Segan, Fabianne Therese, Maria Olsen, Louis Dezseran, Marc Senter, Shane Coffey, Natalie Castillo, Pat Healy

starry eyes

This film’s been on my to-watch list since it came out, and after seeing some good reviews, I decided to go ahead and watch it last night. The concept is pretty generic, done to death really, but has just enough of a twist that it stays interesting. It gives an unflinching glimpse into the lives of struggling actors, so much so that it’s painful to watch at times. The film is shot beautifully, and the acting ranges from atrocious to good. All of that said, it was boring. Boring, boring, boring. The only reason I made it through the whole film was because I was watching with my sister, and she wanted to finish it, despite being bored herself. The film was just over 90 minutes, yet felt longer than Lord of the Rings. It wasn’t scary, at all, just occasionally gross, and to me there’s nothing interesting in that. And seriously, what the hell is up with her friends?? That one who keeps putting her down, the supposed best friend who tells everything told to her in confidence. With friends like those it’s no wonder she went nuts. And by the time the slicing and dicing starts happening, I was just happy to get these simpering morons off the screen. The end was good, I’ll give it that (even if I’d already figured it out), but still not enough to save this turd. 3/10

This film is currently streaming on Netflix. Watch at your own peril.

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Ouija

Ouija
(2014) Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff, Douglas Smith, Bianca A Santos, Shelley Hennig, Sierra Heuermann, Vivis Colombetti, Lin Shaye

ouija

So the beginning of this film is boring as hell. I was thisclose to turning it off. But I was watching it with my sister, and she was really enjoying it, so I settled in for the long haul.

First, the good. The acting was actually pretty decent from most of the players. The blonde girl was atrocious, but others held their own. While not scary, it did have one or two good, tense scenes. And the eye thing was pretty cool, it was something not seen too often, so that was good.

Now, the bad. Being, of course, everything else. {SPOILERS AHEAD} The “twist”, such as it is, is a total rip off of other, better shows, such as The Ring and an episode of Supernatural, in which we think the child is the victim, when in fact, they’re the evil one. It was also obvious from a mile away, I figured it out almost immediately. For movies like this, I’m usually able to suspend my disbelief for most things, we are talking about a film about ghosts, after all. But I have my limits. Nana just so happens to know exactly what to do to save them? Or, for that matter, believing their story at all? Just… no. And then, of course, the obligatory open ending, so they’re able to make more of these.

All in all, it didn’t completely suck, but was thoroughly unimaginative and forgettable. And so earns its score of 5/10, with an extra point going to the eye candy.

This film isn’t currently streaming on Netflix, but unless you really have a hard on for ghost stories, I’d say skip it.

M.

Review Club #5 – Jessabelle

jessabelle

 

Up first is the other Mel (hehe), from over at The Creative Fox Den:

Firstly, I have to say that I love Sarah Snook. She has some serious acting chops and I thought her performance in Predestination was incredible. Unfortunately, her performance in Jessabelle was not as inspired.

I have to admit that the movie started out reasonably well; it set the tone for the character that Sarah Snook plays and the overall feeling of the film. The audience even has hope for the father, even though we know that he has a very sordid past.

The fist scare of the movie is done really well, actually. When the “bathtub incident” occurs, I jumped out of my seat. I was genuinely scared and I anticipated that the rest of the movie would have similar moments.

Unfortunately, it did not. The horror is downhill from there. The father, that we somewhat familiarized with, becomes a completely unlikable character. Furthermore, the plot becomes very predictable.

Also, the fact that the romantic interest is married and obviously interested in the main character has little validity. It isn’t a relationship that is explored enough to merit the dedication that supports infidelity. What’s the purpose here? Are we supposed to be rooting for this couple? Because we aren’t.

Overall, there are probably two scary moments in this film. Does two frightening moments a scary movie make? I don’t think so. The ending is equally ridiculous and undeserving of praise for innovation. I wouldn’t recommend this one overall but there is some production value behind it.

Overall score = 4/10

 

Next, we have Rob, over at MovieRob:

Jessabelle (2014)

I am not, never have been, and probably never will be, a fan of horror movies; they just don’t appeal to me personally.

When Mel chose this as the Review Club film, I gotta admit that I was pretty scared because when going into a movie that you have no expectations or care about, how can you appropriately give an unbiased opinion?

So I decided to still give it a go since I felt that I need to sometimes do things that I don’t want to do in order to try and broaden my (movie watching) horizons.

And guess what…?

I LOVED this movie. It was one of the best movies I’ve seen and when it was over, I wanted to pop it back in and watch it again.

REALLY???? You may ask.

Welll………

Nah. It actually it met all of my sucky expectations.

The plot didn’t feel original at all and I was sooooo bored while watching this that I just wanted everyone to die sooner.

Thankfully, the movie wasn’t so long so I was able to endure without (too many) thoughts of slitting my wrists. 😉

This movie used the tried and true idea of someone revisiting their past home and awakening both feelings and spirits long buried deep down below.

The idea of found footage has also been way overused in the past and I didn’t feel that it added enough to make this movie feel unique in any way, shape or form.

The ending wasn’t much of a surprise for me and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t anticipate something like that.

Suffice it to say, watching this movie didn’t make me change my initial thoughts about the genre and although I may dabble in it every once in a while, don’t expect to see many horror flick reviews coming from me in the near future.

That being said, I’m not upset that I gave this one a whirl.

2/10

Tnx Mel!!!

 

Next up is Abbi, from over at abbiosbiston:

Here’s my review for Jessabelle:

On the day that Jessie (Sarah Snook) is supposed to move in with her boyfriend and start a family together they are involved in a terrible car crash. He dies and she loses her baby and the use of her legs. With no money and nowhere to go she is forced to turn to her estranged father (David Andrews) who brings her back to the creepy Louisiana home she grew up in. While looking around her room Jessie finds some videos her mother (Joelle Carter) made before she died. The creepy videos show her mother doing tarot readings for her unborn baby that suggest that very bad things are going to happen. At the same time Jessie is having terrible nightmares about a dead girl attacking her and spewing black shit all over her… but are they really nightmares and who exactly is this dead girl?

[HERE BE SPOILERS]

I am going to start by saying that there was absolutely nothing scary about this movie. I get freaked out easily but I didn’t even jump one single time. That might be because there is nothing original about this movie. We’ve all seen the creepy dead girl before. We’ve all seen the spirit reaching for someone through a curtain before. Even the voodoo stuff is old. And there was so much stuff I just did not get… like this:

– Why did Jessie’s mom have her own room in the house and why did she not find it weird that her parents weren’t sleeping in the same room?
– After her dad flipped out and threw her wheelchair in the swamp he gave her her mother’s wheelchair but it’s never mentioned that her mother was in a wheelchair and in the videos she’s walking around.
– Also I mean pushing a disabled person’s wheelchair in a swamp is pretty crazy behaviour, would Jessie not at this stage call her health worker for help?
– Why does Jessie not have a cellphone until Preston gives her his?
– If the real Jessabelle died as a baby why is she an adult dead girl?
– Supposedly Jessie’s dad adopted her as a child to cover up that he had killed the real Jessabelle… who was black… how on earth did no one notice the baby had changed race? Someone must have seen the original baby… like the doctor that delivered her. It’s a small town.
– Why did they write in a wife for Preston? It was just an annoying distraction.
– What the hell is up with Sarah Snook’s voice? She was so annoying.

I am going to strongly recommend that you don’t watch this movie because it is a load of crap. 0/5

Sorry I didn’t like it but I hope that someone does!!

Abbi

 

And finally, here’s mine!:

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Jessabelle
(2014) Sarah Snook, Mark Webber, Joelle Carter, David Andrews, Amber Stevens, Chris Ellis, Vaughn Wilson, Larisa Oleynik

Jessabelle

Let me start by saying that I didn’t hate it as much as the others did. True, it wasn’t very original, and the ending got a little silly (and a lot predictable), but I still kinda liked it. The acting was surprisingly good, especially for such a small production. It wasn’t very scary, which was disappointing, but it had one or two tense scenes. That’s pretty much it, though. Movies like this are alright while you’re watching them, and I don’t want my time back, but in the end, they’re ultimately forgettable, not inspiring me to write about it. Oh yeah, one last thing before I go. We saw WAY too much of the ghost. I’m of the opinion, as some of you may know by now, that less is more. A ghost that’s onscreen for that long just completely loses its scare-factor. All in all, a decent film, but nothing special. 6.5/10

This film isn’t currently on Netflix, but it is playing on TMN and TMN On Demand.

M.

And that’s it! Join us again in two weeks for more review goodness! 😀

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Horsemen

Horsemen
(2009) Dennis Quaid, Ziyi Zhang, Lou Taylor Pucci, Clifton Collins Jr, Patrick Fugit, Eric Balfour, Peter Stormare, Liam James

Horsemen

So, this was a pretty good film, better than I’d been anticipating, but still not as good as I was hoping. The premise was simple (a detective is on the trail of a serial killer who is using the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as his inspiration), but very good. The acting was decent to good all round, and the end twist is pretty awesome, and very well acted, even if I saw it coming a mile away. Ziyi Zhang was also very good, and uber creepy (and hot). The gore effects were very well done, and not too over the top save one scene involving a fetus, which I’d rather not think of. It was too much. Speaking of too much, we really didn’t need to start the film with a naked Dennis Quaid. This isn’t 1993, Quaid, sorry :-p I could have used a little more info about the cult, though. The film has a very good ending that I won’t spoil, but I could have used a little more clarity involving the actual group. All in all, it was a very decent piece of film, and gets a very decent score for it. 7/10

This movie is currently streaming on Netflix Canada. Enjoy!

M.