SCOUT’S GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE (2015)

Directed By: Christopher Landon
Written By: Carrie Evans, Christopher Landon & Emi Mochizuki
Story By: Lona Williams, Carrie Evans & Emi Mochizuki
Cinematography By: Brandon Trost
Editor: Jim Page

Cast: Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, David Koechner, Cloris Leachman, Joey Morgan, Sarah Dumont, Halston Sage, Patrick Schwartzenegger, Missy Martinez


Three scouts, on the eve of their last camp-out, discover the true meaning of friendship when they attempt to save their town from a zombie outbreak.

The film delivers the title, but when you see the advertisements. You expect a squadron or at least Boy Scouts. Who are at the least 12 years old or younger. Which is horrifying and unique. Yet funny.

The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2010 Blacklist; a list of the “most liked” unmade scripts of the year.

Here it is three teenagers and a cocktail waitress. So it becomes more of a teen movie with respective gross, low class sense of humor that tries to be explosive, but never goes fully to its capacity and tries too hard with no enthusiasm as some zombies are capable to think to a degree that leaves the film just seeming to revel in what it thinks is cool or what it believes the audience is after. Rather then tell it’s story with confidence and skill.

Though the film feels small scale and a bit scattershot with the throw everything and the kitchen sink type of plotting. The film seems more mainstream and wanting to tell a joke and get the audience to laugh with it. Though the jokes seem innocent they come off more as raunchy, but seem to want to have heart.

The film just ends up feeling like a cheery caffinated cheeerleader when you just want to watch asimple game.

Though strangely the film is scored like a Steven Spielberg film. Though not as skilled and knowing how to make the score work for the film and the emotional current of the scenes. Not using it for it’s strength or depth. Especially as Spielberg seems to be one of the masters of incorporating it as a desired ingredient and needed thread to his films. The soundtrack songs seem More like outdated music cues that one wonders if for recent nostalgia? Or for how pathetic they are and in bad taste? Or did the filmmakers really think it was still hip and was doing it as an audio version of product placement.

The film tires to do what it can with the premise that you would think would leave some opportunities for comedy and some originality to a familiar tale. Though it ends up going the more crass and uninspired route. That plays like a teenage sex comedy to a degree. That happens to have the threat of zombies at it’s center.

The film had very few inventive or innovative additions to the genre. Then again this isn’t a film that was made to do that or further cinema. Luckily the film doesn’t make the mistake of trying to incorporate any zombie film homages.

What happens here in this film is that it sounds like the tons of cash-in low budget films that fill the V.O.D. Market that end up making a quick buck out of general wonder if the audience and the late night crowd looming for something generally fun but entertaining. Studios see this and attempt to do the same with a film and title like this and though the film plays up a juvenile attitude and humor it still feels like a safe film that fits more into blockbuster entertainment for the masses. It feels too inside of the joke to really let loose and be the oddball curiosity type film that the title might imply. It lacks a certain explosive zeal the title seems to hint at. In other words, it fakes the funk. Just as when rich kids try to make themselves look of the people or poor. Yet they can afford extravagant things while having no job and their parents pay for everything.

The film is an average time waster that keeps your interest to a degree. Even after the initial appeal has worn off. Rather quickly and the premise plays itself out, to only be another zombie surviving another zombie attack film. That time to time reminds you that the main characters are boy scouts. Though really the film at heart is just a teen comedy with zombies. That typically happens all in one night, which leads to the truth that has an Initial betrayal but leads the main characters to bond and learn lessons whole overcoming their fears and problems.

It seems like the horny character keeps getting piss and blood sprayed on his face as sort of a punishment for his character’s behavior and overall attitude that comes across as a money shot (facial) at least.

The film also offers the violence, Sex, and nudity that a teenage or audience that really looks for that in films. (Which includes a revealing Cameo from an adult movie star Missy Martinez) Which seems to be making a comeback recently. Though this isn’t necessarily a film where you would expect it. Just a lot of talk about it.

The film is easily forgettable, but it interested as long as your hopes aren’t high. You might actually enjoy it. Though if not you definitely can skip it and not really miss anything.

 Grade: D+

WHITE GOD (2015)

white-god-2015

Directed By: Kornel Mundruczo
Written By: Kornel Mundruczo, Viktoria Petranyi & Kata Weber
Cinematography By: Marcell Rev
Editor: David Jancso 


Cast: Zsofia Psotta, Sandor Zsoter, Lili Horvath, Szabolcs Thuroczy, Lili Monori

Thirteen-year-old Lili fights to protect her dog Hagen. She is devastated when her father eventually sets Hagen free on the streets. Still innocently believing love can conquer any difficulty, Lili sets out to find her dog and save him.

Continue reading “WHITE GOD (2015)”

THE TRANSPORTER: REFUELED (2015)


Directed By: Camille Delamarre Written By: Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Luc Besson Based on Characters Created by Luc Besson & Robert Mark Kamen  Cinematography: Christophe Collette & Vincent Richard  Editor: Julien Rey 

Cast: Ed Skrein, Ray Stevenson, Loan Chabanol, Gabriella Wright, Tatiana Pajkovic, Noemie Lenoir 

In the south of France, former special-ops mercenary Frank Martin enters into a game of chess with a femme-fatale and her three sidekicks who are looking for revenge against a sinister Russian kingpin.


I can understand the desire to keep this franchise going, but they needed to try a bit harder to make something more Dramatic that would justify it.

As this film with a new lead playing the character might as well have been a better-funded episode of the television series based on the films. As the lead is serviceable but like the film itself is forgettable.

As the film is basically more of the same from the original films only without a recognizable charismatic leading actor.

It still has plenty of action scenes that are hand to hand and gunplay as well as plenty of high-speed chases and car stunts. So you get what you came for. As well as plenty of beautiful European women in states of undress.

Here the story revolves around the past and has more double-crosses than you can count as the transporter’s father is part of the schemes and plans this time. As the transporter seems to the only character with a code.

Watching this and the movie HITMAN is confusing as they are both similar with noticeable differences. As they both have seemingly invincible leading characters only one is actually enhanced which is why he stays invincible and faces others like himself. Here the lead character is always smarter than everyone else and extremely lucky. Not that it is ever explained fully why.

It feels like more of the same but less personal. As we have to get used to an all-new driver who lacks history or any real charisma. As to why we should care. We seem here only to watch how he completes his mission. As he comes off more as a super-spy undercover in a criminal element.

So if just looking for a quick fix of action and pretty European locations. This is a film for you. As at least I can say you will find some fun and excitement at times with this film. No matter how generic it mostly comes off as.

Grade: D

KUMIKO THE TREASURE HUNTER (2015)

kumiko_first

 


Directed By: David Zellner
Written By: David Zellner & Nathan Zellner
Cinematography By: Sean Porter
Editor: Melba Jodorosky 


Cast: Rinko Kikuchi, Nobuyuki Katsube, Shirley Venard, David Zellner, Nathan Zellner

A lonely Japanese woman becomes convinced that a satchel of money buried and lost in a fictional film, is in fact, real. With a crudely drawn treasure map and limited preparation, she escapes her structured life in Tokyo and embarks on a foolhardy quest across the tundra of Minnesota in search of her mythical fortune.

Continue reading “KUMIKO THE TREASURE HUNTER (2015)”

THE WOLFPACK (2015)

wolfpack

Directed By: Crystal Moselle
Edited By: Enat Sidi

Locked away from society in an apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Angulo brothers learn about the outside world through the films that they watch. Nicknamed, ‘The Wolfpack,’ the brothers spend their childhood reenacting their favorite films using elaborate homemade props and costumes. Their world is shaken up when one of the brothers escapes and everything changes.


The film works as a glossy documentary. Giving a look at a interesting family and their particulars.

Though the way the film is handled it seems more like if people magazine did an In depth article on the story rather than a skilled journalist who would go in depth and get answers that the filmmakers choose to avoid or never venture to ask. As that would mess up the feel good story, That this film aspires to be

Just as the film is supposed to be about this family that rarely or never leaves the house at least the kids never do. Yet the director was drawn to make this documentary after seeing them strangely dressed walking through the park? Which I only know from researching the film. It is never brought up int he film, nor does it explore how she got permission to film the family.

It also never explains thoroughly why child services were never called in. Especially based on how many agencies they seem dependent on.

Just as the film, Never explains why the father. Who was so opposed to the outside world and it’s demeaning morals and violence. Why then does he let his kids watch films that are so violent.

For all the fascination and answers the film offers. There seems to be more times that the film avoids details and seems to not be asking certain questions that would open the doc up. Letting a story go by without delving into it.

Though what is onscreen is nice and of interest and shows the power of cinema on individuals and offering a certain view of the world. Especially when it is you only real view of it.

It reminds me of how many certain movie fans choose to close themselves off to the world. Who wish to only have the kind of works exist as the real one seems to disappoint. Where as these kids seem to do it out of necessity. Yet still find the real world fascinating as they have relate it experienced it and how much it is not only new to them, but magical. They embrace all that they have been denied.

The home productions look like the type that were Sweded in the film BE, KIND REWIND and the stage productions from RUSHMORE.

The father’s actions are explained, but still make only sense to him and while he comes off ultimately as a villain. The film chooses to make him seem human rather than totally despicable. Which might be because he is still around in their lives.

For instance, informing us that he has hit his wife numerous times and has been abusive towards her. While being a fascist in general when it comes to his family and offering not real management or help. Yet delivers he harsh message. That life goes on and not full of happy endings though throughout the film it does have them.

The film let’s us get to know certain members of the family, but others are constantly seen, but never brought to the forefront or given a chance to get to know. I know there are a lot of them, but it would have been nice to get to know some of them somewhat.

While the film has a charm of being an underdog, By showing that these kids as victims found a good way to not only escape and express themselves. While also finding a way to cope with their situation. Even though it is all they know. It also is a feel good for the audience for them to learn to venture out and be free. As well as showing off their artistic skills. Only the film is afraid to venture back down to the details and facts that might actually bring the spirit of the doc down.

You can’t help but be charmed by the kids in the family and amazed at their skills and talent especially when it comes to art. Making props and scenery. Though the film tries to make them fascinating and winners ultimately. Watching the film at times, It’s hard to overcome the fact that ultimately for a long time in their fathers attempt to save them. He made them into victims.

Grade: C

NAOMI & ELY’S NO KISS LIST (2015)

naomi

Directed By:Kristin Hanggi
Written By: Amy Andelson & Emily Meyer
Based On The Novel By: Rachel Cohn & David Leviathan
Cinematography By: Anka Malatynska
Editor: Michelle Harrison 



Cast: Victoria Justice, Monique Coleman, Pierson Fode, Matthew Daddario, Maddie Corman

Incoming NYU freshmen and childhood neighbors Naomi and Ely have been in love with each other their whole lives, even though Ely isn’t exactly into girls. The institution of a “No Kiss List” has prevented the two from rifts in the past, but their bond is tested when they both fall for the same guy. The once inseparable pair must figure out if their friendship is strong enough to get past such an epic predicament as they struggle with the realities of growing up.

Continue reading “NAOMI & ELY’S NO KISS LIST (2015)”

ALENA (2005)

alena-jpg

 

Directed By: Daniel Di Grado
Written By: Daniel Di Grado, Kerstin Gezelius & Alexander Onofri
Based on the Graphic Novel By: Kim W. Andersson
Cinematography By: Simon Olsson
Editor: Linda Jildmalm 


Cast: Amalia Holm, Molly Nutley, Felice Jankell, Rebecka Nyman, Fanny Klefelt 


When Alena arrives at her new elite boarding school, Filippa and the other girls start to harass her. But Alena’s best friend Josefin won’t let her take anymore beating. If she won’t strike back, Josefin will do it for her. Hard.

Continue reading “ALENA (2005)”

GET HARD (2015)

gethard

 

Directed By: Etan Cohen
Written By: Ian Roberts, Etan Cohen & Jay Martel
Story By: Adam McKay, Jay Martel & Ian Roberts
Cinematography By: Tim Suhrstedt
Editor: Michael L.Stale 


Cast: Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Edwina Findley, Alison Brie, Craig T. Nelson, Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris, Paul Ben-Victor, Ron Funches, Matt Walsh, Greg Germann

When obscenely rich hedge-fund manager James is convicted of fraud and sentenced to a stretch in San Quentin, the judge gives him one month to get his affairs in order. Knowing that he won’t survive more than a few minutes in prison on his own, James desperately turns to Darnell, a black businessman who’s never even had a parking ticket – for help. As Darnell puts James through the wringer, both learn that they were wrong about many things, including each other.

Continue reading “GET HARD (2015)”

DANNY COLLINS (2015)

dannycollins2

Written & Directed By: Dan Fogelman 

Cinematography: Steve Yedlin 

Editor: Julie Monroe 

Cast: Al Pacino, Annette Bening, Christopher Plummer, Bobby Cannavale, Jennifer Garner, Nick Offerman, Melissa Benoist, Josh Peck, Katarina Cas, Giselle Eisenberg, Brian Thomas Smith, Scott Lawrence 


Inspired by a true story, Al Pacino stars as aging 1970s rocker Danny Collins, who can’t give up his hard-living ways. But when his manager uncovers a 40 year-old undelivered letter written to him by John Lennon, he decides to change course and embarks on a heartfelt journey to rediscover his family, find true love and begin a second act.


Inspired by the story of singer Steve Tilston, who learned of the existence of a letter that John Lennon had written to him 34 years after the letter was written.

The film is a feel good film that feels a little like a fantasy but is a heart warmer and feels lived in. Will admit this is an easy film to overlook. as once you see the trailer you feel like you have it all figured out. Though once you watch it you are shocked at how much it grabs a hold of you and moves you.

Al Pacino shines in his role her where he gives a heaviness to a role that could be easily written off as lightweight. He gives it his all and makes a charismatic sympathetic character who could have been more comedic. Though the fact that he isn’t makes us pay attention and wonder.

The previews for this film focused more on the romantic angle between him and Annette Bening’s Character but as the film progresses that is only one part of this character study. As most of the drama revolves around him and his estranged son’s relationship.

There are plenty of isn’t that convenient moments but in the end the film leaves you with a smile on your face. As it is a film that could be a family film Except that is some scenes it goes out of it’s Way to show you the material is more adult with drug use and a scene of nudity.

The film lightly explores being afraid of challenging yourself and taking the easy way out. While also asking not o hard if you have built up a reputation for making others happy but it doesn’t make you happy anymore. Do you still owe the people what they want or are you allowed to let yourself be happy and express yourself even if it’s it in a way that others are used to or might not even approve of and try to deny.

Christopher Plummer is good as always and it’s fun to see him play more of a tough guy.

For such a noted cast this is actually kind of lightweight material. Though for the most part they are the true reason to watch this. As they give the material the respect even though they are above it to a certain aspect.

Though in the end this is feel good entertainment with a little bit of an edge and basically gives the cast an easy walk with letting them play characters who are more lived in and having the younger cast members play smaller roles that are more like sketches of characters.

It also asks how much do you owe your audience as they are the ones who supported you and admire you, but ho much do you owe them when you want to express yourself more truthfully and honestly though that stands at odds with what your audience wants or will even let you do. Who is more in control especially when you have given them years and been made rich off of it but aren’t being true to yourself.

Grade: C+

PREDESTINATION (2014)

Predestination-444477271-large

Written & Directed By: Michael Spierig & Peter Spierig (The Spierig Brothers)
Based On A Story “ALL YOU ZOMBIES” By: Robert A. Heinlein
Cinematography By: Ben Nott
Editor: Matt Villa
Music By: Peter Spierig 


Cast: Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor, Christopher Kirby, Christopher Sommers

For his final assignment, a top temporal agent must pursue the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time. The chase turns into a unique, surprising and mind-bending exploration of love, fate, identity and time travel taboos.

Continue reading “PREDESTINATION (2014)”