Streaming Gems: The Babysitter (Netflix)

Streaming Gems is an ongoing feature where we discuss movies recently released on streaming services (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu) that are worth your time.

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Streaming Gems is an ongoing feature where we discuss movies recently released on streaming services (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu) that are worth your time.

RATING: ★★ 1/2 (out of four stars)

The Babysitter was released on Netflix back in October. I’ve seen it advertised on the streaming service, but kept putting it off. Well, I finally checked it out and I’m pleasantly surprised with how much I liked it. Is it a good movie? Not necessarily. But is it a fun movie? Very much so. The Babysitter is one of those movies that has bad acting and a ridiculous plot, but you can’t help but like what you see and go along with what plays out.

The story follows Cole (Judah Lewis), a kid in middle school who gets picked on all the time and is one of the few people around his age that still has a babysitter. Bee (Samara Weaving) is the babysitter and she is the typical attractive blonde girl every 12-year-old boy would have a crush on. Cole decides to stay up one night and spy on Bee, where he witnesses something out of the ordinary. And this is where the movie gets extremely campy and cheesy, as we find out that Bee is part of a satanic cult and needs Cole’s blood since he’s pure. The plot is crazy, but one thing The Babysitter never fails to keep you entertained.

Oddly enough, The Babysitter feels like a knockoff of an Edgar Wright film. Director McG, who you may remember directed the below average Terminator: Salvation, seems to have drawn inspiration from Wright’s cult classic Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. A lot of the camera moves and character intros certainly feel like pages taken out of a comic book and it totally works for the tone and story of The Babysitter. Though as ridiculous as the story is, I think this fairly new Netflix original film is important to the horror genre because it attempts to reinvent it. Does it always succeed? No, but it does have some moments that are nicely executed.  And by the end of it, the coming of age theme planted within the opening minutes of the film comes full circle.

As far as the acting goes, the supporting cast is pretty bad, but it doesn’t ruin the movie; in fact, it adds to the cheesiness. From the technical side, the cinematography was cool except from numerous light leaks on establishing wide shots. The biggest issue with The Babysitter is that it loses steam in the last 15 minutes. While this isn’t a film you take seriously, I found myself wanting it to end sooner rather than later. However, if you’re looking to past the time with a quick watch, I highly recommend you check out The Babysitter, which is now streaming on Netflix.

Review: Rough Around the Edges ‘Justice League’ is a Step in the Right Direction for DC Movies

More bright spots and comedy makes for an entertaining team up.

More bright spots and comedy makes for an entertaining superhero team up.

RATING: ★★ 1/2 (out of four stars)

The DCEU has gotten off to a rocky start. Because of this, I have legitimately been nervous for Justice League all year. Wonder Woman, which came out earlier this year, gave me a sliver of hope because of how awesome it was. However, Justice League is a Zack Snyder-directed movie, and he has endured mass amounts of criticism for 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. After seeing Justice League I can officially say that it is entertaining as hell, surprisingly funny, and slightly uneven. Of course, it’s not perfect, but they get a lot right in this DC team up. As a viewer, it is clear that Joss Whedon, who took over to help with post production and extensive reshoots after Snyder stepped down for personal reasons, helped with the movie’s overall tone. Whedon taking over helps the movie a substantial amount and I’m glad he didn’t make it feel like one of his Avengers movies. Sure, Justice League is Zack Snyder’s movie, but Whedon made it much better.

One of the best things about Justice League is the chemistry between the team. At this point in the DCEU, we’re very familiar with Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince. They’re both awesome in Justice League, having some stylish fight scenes and humorous dialogue. They both know that enemies are coming so they work on getting a team together. Newcomers Barry Allen/The Flash, Arthur Curry/Aquaman, and Victor Stone/Cyborg each add unique elements to the team and to the DCEU as a whole. The Flash steals the show as the movie’s comic relief; one scene in Justice League that involves The Flash may be my favorite scene in any DC movie yet. He really hasn’t used his powers in battle, so his innocence is downright hysterical. I went into Justice League thinking Cyborg would be the weak link of the team and his CGI would look awful like it did in the early trailers, but his character surprised me. I walked out of the movie not only impressed by his character but also shocked at how much screen time he got. The CGI with him was cleaned up nicely and only looked below average in a few scenes. Aquaman was the most frustrating member of the team, mainly because I wanted to see more of him. He doesn’t get as much screen time as the others, and when he is on-screen there isn’t much dialogue and depth. Sure, he kicks some ass in the fight scenes, but I wanted more depth from his character like I got with the other newcomers (good news though, as we’ll see him in the standalone Aquaman movie next December). Overall, the chemistry with the team had to work well or this movie would have been a disaster. I was very pleased with how well they exchanged dialogue and fought together.

The visual effects and choreography of the fight scenes were extremely entertaining and impressive, with the exception of a handful of visual effects issues. For the most part the CGI looked good and the team equally fought enemies, both by themselves and together. The action scenes are among the best in a DCEU movie yet, with the final battle being one of the coolest battles DC has had so far. Each member had their part to play and the execution was on point. I loved seeing a somewhat vulnerable Batman on the back-end of his crime-fighting life save Wonder Woman from a distance with the grapple gun because that is such a Batman thing to do.

With having two directors and millions spent on numerous reshoots, there are some expected issues in Justice League. The biggest issues are the villain and the overall story. Steppenwolf is the “ender of worlds” and he basically is searching for these cubes that hold power that can destroy earth. Sounds like most villains in superhero movies, right? Steppenwolf was very one dimensional and when he wasn’t on-screen, I almost forgot he was in the movie. His dialogue was lazy and he doesn’t look imposing on-screen. The story is very one dimensional as well—basically, the Justice League teaming up to fight an enemy who wants to destroy the world. While this might be entertaining, it lacks depth and any kind of originality.

As a whole, Justice League is an entertaining entry in the DCEU and a big step in the right direction when it comes to tone and character depth. If you look past the very transparent story and just enjoy seeing some of the coolest superheroes ever kick ass, then you’ll have a great time. Justice League isn’t as good as Wonder Woman, but it is better than Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman. Also, and this is very important; STAY THROUGH THE CREDITS, I REPEAT STAY THROUGH THE VERY END OF THE CREDITS.

The Worst Films of 2017 (So Far)

You may want to avoid these misfires.

You may want to avoid these misfires.

Sure, we still have two months left of movie-going this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t already talk about some of the year’s most unbearable films. In a year where box office numbers have dipped, it doesn’t help that these films helped contribute to people’s distaste in going to the movies in the future. Are all of these films actually bad? Well, that’s for you to decide (if you dare watch any of these), but everybody is entitled to their own opinion.

5. Get Out

I’m pretty sure I’m the only person in the world who didn’t like Get Out. Loved by critics and audiences, Get Out will probably be an Oscar contender. Though, honestly, I thought it was cliché, forced, and extremely predictable. Fight me.

4. Personal Shopper

I wanted to like Personal Shopper SO bad, but I walked out of the theater feeling like I was robbed of an hour and 45 minutes of my life. The screenplay is underdeveloped and the film felt empty as a whole.

3. The Lovers

I went into The Lovers with high expectations thinking it would be a funny take on adultery in America. Unfortunately, The Lovers doesn’t have much of plot and, as a viewer, you have no motivation to like its lead characters. While I love A24, The Lovers is arguably the indie studio’s biggest disappointment.

2. The Snowman

The Snowman is a complete mess. Not only does the film waste the talent of Michael Fassbender, it ultimately feels like a rough cut of the film. It started to make more sense when Tomas Alfredson admitted that they didn’t even shoot the entire script, but still. How this film made it out of the Universal lot and into theaters boggles my mind. I certainly wouldn’t recommend anyone with eyes to watch this.

1. 47 Meters Down

47 Meters Down may have some of the worst acting I’ve ever seen. If you combine that with one of the most unrealistic screenplays in recent memory, then you get the worst movie of 2017. I went into this with the mindset that it might be a guilty pleasure, but I was so wrong; it’s absolutely atrocious.

Streaming Gems: Stephen King’s ‘1922’ (Netflix)

Streaming Gems is an ongoing feature where we discuss movies recently released on streaming services (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu) that are worth your time.

Streaming Gems is an ongoing feature where we discuss movies recently released on streaming services (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu) that are worth your time.

RATING: ★★★ (out of four stars)

1922 is another Stephen King adaptation to come out in 2017 on Netflix (the first being Gerald’s Game), only it didn’t get a theatrical release like The Dark Tower and IT. Thomas Jane is no stranger to a Stephen King story, having starred in The Mist back in 2007. In 1922, Jane portrays Wilfred James, a prideful farmer who lives with his son Henry (Dylan Schmid) and wife Arlette (Molly Parker). He is a simple man and doesn’t take it well when his wife tells him she wants to sell the land and move away. You get the vibe that his character doesn’t like change and maybe this is why he doesn’t want his life uprooted. However, Arlette is very demanding during the move, which causes problems in the family. Eventually, Henry conspires to murder Arlette and asks his son to participate; as you can see, the story is pretty messed up. Thomas Jane delivers an impressive performance (in fact, his best in recent memory) as Henry. In most scenes he’s pretty convincing, except for a time or two when he stumbled through his dialogue with his forced southern accent. As for the rest of the cast, they’re all pretty average.

What really works well in 1922 is the writing, coupled with some really creepy imagery. I don’t want to spoil the plot, but I’ll say that the makeup was pretty convincing. The movie is a roller coaster when it comes to pacing, however. It isn’t bad by any means, but there were a few times when I checked to see how much time was left due to the sporadic pacing. 1922 certainly will keep your interest; just don’t be surprised if you get a little bored in the middle since the movie overall is a slow-burn. 1922 reminded me a lot of King’s 2007 adaptation 1408; it just wasn’t as well executed. Both movies were shot the same way, and both had similar editing tricks and subliminal dream sequences. But think of 1922 as a step down from 1408.

From the technical side, 1922 is very well made. The cinematography, lighting, and score are all very pleasing. This looked like a film that very well could have gotten a theatrical release (unlike some Netflix movies that look like low-budget streaming attempts at filmmaking). The costume design is very authentic, and, like I said earlier, the makeup and practical effects have plenty of merit. Also, shout out to whoever the “rat wrangler” was on set. He/she definitely had their work cut out for them while filming.

In a year full of Stephen King adaptations, 1922 is the second-best one to come out, just behind IT. With better pacing and effective acting from the supporting cast, 1922 could have been one of the best streaming movies of the year. I love seeing gems like this on Netflix and I hope they continue to put out well-made films like this one. Do yourself a favor and check out 1922, which is now streaming on Netflix.

 

 

 

The Han Solo Star Wars Spin-Off Finally has a Title

Simple, but significant (like our site).

Simple, but significant (like our site).

The title for the upcoming Hans Solo Star Wars spin-off film has finally been revealed.

Director Ron Howard revealed the title of the film, Solo: A Star Wars Story, via his Twitter account this morning, which is simple and right to the point. I’m glad they didn’t try anything too over the top.

Howard took over directing this past summer after Phil Lord and Chris Miller were let go because of “creative differences.” Ron Howard is a veteran filmmaker with some great movies under his belt such as Rush, Cinderella Man, and A Beautiful Mind. Directing a Star Wars movie is slightly out of his genre, but I believe the Force is strong with him.

Howard has been doing a good job teasing fans on Twitter over the months, giving fans behind the scenes looks every so often to wet the appetite of Star Wars fans across the galaxy. I think Solo: A Star Wars Story is a big test for LucasFilms and Disney, mainly because it will prove whether or not these spin-off movies will be a huge success. Last year’s Rogue One did well at the box office, but it wasn’t loved by fans and critics like The Force Awakens. Solo: A Star Wars Story is set to hit theaters May 25th, 2018. What do you think of the title?

Review: ‘The Foreigner’ Shows that Jackie Chan Has Lost a Step or Two

Poor Jackie..

Poor Jackie.. 

RATING: ★ 1/2 (out of four stars)

There once was a time where I got super excited when Jackie Chan got cast in an action movie. Even though most of them have similar plots, I still loved seeing Chan kick ass. When I first saw the trailer for The Foreigner, it was exciting because I thought I was going to get an action-packed Jackie Chan movie showing him in a rare troubled state. Unfortunately, The Foreigner is pretty messy and very cliché.

The story follows Quan (Chan) looking for the people responsible for an explosion that killed his daughter. One of the main problems with that is she dies within the first minute of the movie and literally don’t even get her name. Then, they try to make you care about that fact Quan lost his daughter, but you simply don’t because there was no character connection ever established between them.  There are other issues in The Foreigner, with the main one being how the plot is extremely convoluted and cliché. In a movie like this, there is absolutely no reason to have such a complicated story. Not only is it messy, but it is also simply not interesting. I found myself checking my watch twice in the first 45 minutes. The other big issue was the lack of character development. So many characters are thrown at you and there’s no way to  keep up with their names or care about them. The only two you have any details on are Quan and Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan), a powerful political figure with ties to the people responsible for the bombing.

Almost everything about The Foreigner is unoriginal. The cinematography and the score are basic, uninspired, and dull. Quan also has a back story that is barely touched on for the first hour of the movie. One can guess that he is ex-military or something, but demonstrating him making bombs and doing very impressive hand-to-hand combat without a clear reason feels very odd. By the time it gets to his back story (which is some cheap flashbacks and military files), it is honestly hard to even care.

The only aspects that made The Foreigner slightly enjoyable were Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan’s performances. Chan gets the rare chance to portray a troubled, grieving man and he did a decent job. It is clear that he’s lost a step in the action scenes, though. They weren’t bad, but he’s had much better fight scenes. You kind of have to cut the man a break, though; he’s 63 years old. Brosnan had some scenes where he got to show off his acting chops, which was pretty impressive. He’s a pretty underrated supporting actor in most of the movies he stars in. Now, if only the screenplay could have been simple enough to display Quan hunting down Hennessy without a dozen side characters and plots, maybe The Foreigner would have been decent.

In the end, The Foreigner is pretty disappointing. This is not a movie you should go spend two hours of your time watching in a theater. Redbox is the only acceptable way to watch this, but even then it has to be on a rainy Sunday when you have nothing else to do.

New Trailer: ‘The Last Jedi’ Looks Like One of the Best Star Wars Films to Date

The Force is strong with this trailer.

The Force is strong with this trailer.

We finally got a new trailer from the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Last Jedi last night and, needless to say, it’s incredible. I’ve had some time to analyze this trailer and not only does it look darker in tone compared to The Force Awakens, but it feels eerily similar to The Empire Strikes Back, which is considered by many to be the best Star Wars movie to date. And even though I’m not a die hard Star Wars fan, this is one of the best trailers I’ve seen all year.

One thing that stands out in this trailer is the film’s score. The Star Wars franchise is well-known for its scores, but they seemed to have taken it up a notch for The Last Jedi. Mark Hamill’s raspy, yet determined voice coupled with some really cool action sequences suggests that this may be the biggest Star Wars movie to date. I just love how they are taking a darker, more mysterious, approach rather than being super kid friendly like The Force Awakens.

Director Rian Johnson seems to have something special on his hands with The Last Jedi, which has even the smallest of Star Wars fans (like myself) counting down the days until the movie’s release. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m ready to see Luke Skywalker either die or go to the dark side. Also, Chewy seems to have cute little sidekick called a Porg. I just hope the Porg gets a substantial amount of screen time rather than be a marketing ploy to sell toys.