Interstellar

Amber and I don’t get out to the theater that much these days. Life with two full time jobs and two rapidly growing children leaves us with little time for such a luxury. It requires the movies chosen to watch to come with a lot of confidence that it will be worth seeing in the atmosphere that has become such a rare chance. Amber surprised me last week with tickets to Interstellar and I was thrilled. I had even told people recently that it there was a movie worth us making to trip to the theater to see it was that one. Christopher Nolan’s newest had all my confidence that it would be incredible and mind blowing. I knew little of what to expect and appreciated that all the more. After such films like Memento and Inception I was certain that this movie was going to be a window into the future of films. Something that would be visually stunning and exciting in ways I could never have imagined.

Ladies and gentlemen, I was wrong. I walked away bewildered and confused as I check the IMDB rating and saw a high rating of 9.0 out of 10. What did these people watch? I was walking to my car feeling like I had just watched a three hour Lincoln commercial. This movie bored me out of my mind. I specifically feel like it was nothing but a lot of monologues, a lot of crying, and an extremely long running time devoid of any excitement. I actually spent the last 15-20 minutes begging Amber for us to just get up and leave. At a certain point I was just so disappointed I didn’t care how it ended and had no interest in waiting to find out. Unfortunately I suffered through that ending that did nothing to change my already established opinion.

I think the biggest problem with this film is the story. I can appreciate that it was merely a platform to showcase the possibilities of certain scientific advancements but that isn’t good enough. They weren’t amazing enough to compensate for how everything unfolded. I think the biggest problem is how Matthew McConaughey comes to pilot the NASA mission. After a really long set up he figures out some coordinates by looking at the bookshelf and deciphering the code left on the wall from fallen books. OK, I could stick with them through that. Despite how strange that it is it doesn’t compare to how stupid it is when he is arrested at the super secret NASA facility before they more or less say “hey since you are here, can you be out last hope to save mankind?” Did the super secret NASA people not have an actual plan in place to the point they’ll just put everything in the hands of the guy that unknowingly showed up at the gate unannounced? Weak, and frankly I expect better from the Nolan team.

Another big problem I had is the role of Matt Damon. Does he qualify as the antagonist of the film? I think the character wasn’t really that bad of an idea but weak if that is all you are going to offer the audience. Here I was waiting for something to finally happen in the movie and when he makes his move I felt like he was just getting in the way of something that should be getting a lot better any moment now. When the realization that he was all that was going to happen actually donned on me I was so disappointed.

Now, another thing I just can’t deal with. I am no physicist and only vaguely familiar with science in general, but can it really be possible to convey advanced physics by way of Morse Code on a wrist watch? When his daughter figures everything out so quickly I just wanted to throw my hands up in disgust because it was all just so stupid. The new undiscovered fifth dimension being love made me want to scratch my eyes out. It immediately made the whole thing even worse than I felt like it had already been. Who knows? I get the idea that the whole thing hinges on technology and understanding that we haven’t yet acquired but it does nothing to make me hate the movie any less.

I do hate it too. I can find no other emotion for something that amounts to such a complete and utter disappointment. Christopher Nolan you let me down, I still believe in you but I consider this far and away your worst film. I think the robots were cool but that is the only good thing I can say about this movie. When I saw the trailer and the scene in which waves are mistaken for mountains I was so hopeful. I thought it was a glimpse of the possibilities and couldn’t wait to see what else was in store. The imaginative nature of the idea that on another planet waves might behave in ways we would never consider seemed like a taste of more to come. It wasn’t. I couldn’t even appreciate that scene because I was so excited about what else lay beyond that hadn’t been glimpsed in the trailer.

If you watched this movie and loved it please explain to me why. I was just so utterly bored and disappointed that maybe my opinion is overly negative at the moment. If this wasn’t an incredibly boring movie in which little actually happens tell me I need to see it again. I will need strong encouragement to ever try to get through this again. If you are on the fence about seeing it I would suggest you jump to the “No” side and spare yourself the loss of ignorance. If you don’t know how boring it is you can’t feel the disappointment I personally felt. If not then seek another opinion or make your argument by leaving a comment.

Office Space

Year: 1999
Directed By: Mike Judge
Written By: Mike Judge

RYAN’S REVIEW

I like this movie but I have never loved it.  In fact I have always found its overwhelming popularity to be a bit of an enigma.  It’s in the collection because I found at a really reasonable price one day and I am such a big Mike Judge fan I felt I owed the movie another chance.  I didn’t love it anymore than I did before after buying it but I at least found more to like about it.

Mike Judge is mostly famous for his creation of the two obnoxious but popular characters Beavis and Butthead.  I missed the ball on that one being too young to see it for the most part.  When I did see it I thought it was funny but I didn’t particularly like it. The reason I am a huge fan of Mike Judge is for the other character he is less famous for creating, Hank Hill.  King of the Hill is one of my favorite shows of all time and as a character I have found Hank Hill to be very influential on me. In life I literally try to emulate Hank Hill to a certain degree.  Hank always did what was right, he gave 110% with everything, and he was the kind of man who earned the respect of those he met.  Those are qualities I respect and took special care to learn from during my formative years watching the show. I often look at life decisions and think “what would Hank do?” If I can figure that out I trust in whatever decision I make. I specifically take pride in professionalism, the fundamentals, honesty, integrity, and the value of hard work. I learned to love these things from Hank Hill and the inspiration I have found in that character is always with me.

As to this movie I think it is easy and fun to watch but nothing significant.  I don’t particularly care for Ron Livingston or Jennifer Aniston but there is nothing wrong with the performance of either in this movie. I like several of the other actors in supporting roles but none as much as my favorite actor of all time.  Stephen Root plays the part of Milton and is as hilarious and universally talented as ever.  Root has a long history with Mike Judge as the two worked together for a long time as voice talents for King of the Hill. Judge voiced several characters and most notably Hank Hill while Root did the same and mainly voiced Bill Dauterive. Root has gone on to find plenty of success both as a television and film actor.  What makes him my favorite actor of all time is simply his diversity. He is a highly prolific actor and he seems to find something unique to bring to every role he plays.

I know this is a disappointing review.  I barely talked about the film at all but no matter how much I try I have just never been able to love it like so many do.  It’s a good enough movie to pass the time with but that is all I will give it.  If you would like to voice your outrage over my lack of enthusiasm about it feel free to leave a comment and let everyone else who reads this know how wrong I must be.  Since I am knowingly in the minority here I will say this movie is worth your time despite how I feel about it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Everyone seems to love this movie and that includes me. I know how Ryan feels about it, but I seem to like anything that Mike Judge touches. Most of you already know why this movie works and is funny, so let’s move on to the poster.

officespace

What’s better than this poster to support this type of movie? A guy in a suit covered in post-it notes. That’s great. Work Sucks. That’s great. This poster matches the movie. It’s a simple premise, but it completely works.

NEXT MOVIE: Old School (2003)

Night of the Living Dead

Year: 1968
Directed By: George A. Romero
Written By: John A. Russo and George A. Romero

RYAN’S REVIEW

Here is the last of our Halloween movies that we had planned to do last month during October. We chose 6 movies to review and watched all of them but never found the time to write down our thoughts on this one. We had planned to publish this review on the day of Halloween because it is so legendary but opted with Nightmare on Elm Street instead. After watching Freddy’s debut film we changed our mind because it just seemed to fit so well with the day. I think this movie is great for Halloween but in today’s society zombies are bigger than Halloween and seemingly welcome year round.

We live in a zombie society these days in a pulp tense but almost in a literal sense as well. America is an apathetic and sedated society. When you take a step back it almost seems like we are all the walking dead just going about our routines blindly without noticing the world around us. It’s probably why they have become so popular. Take away the gore and half of the fans might as well be looking in a mirror when they sit down to watch The Walking Dead or go to the theater to see the newest zombie film.

Regardless any reason there is no denying the simple fact that zombies are popular. They make for great media and Amber and I have been sucked in for a while. (We do have a zombie apocalypse bag packed in our closet and a plan of action should the dead start rising today). We are big fans of The Walking Dead comics by Robert Kirkman, as well as the show, and we also read the Empire of the Dead comic by George A. Romero that ties into this film. None of what we see today would have been possible without this film. This film is legendary for a number of reasons but most importantly it created the zombies that have become so popular today.

With this film George A. Romero created something new. Though in the movie the dead are only referred to as ghouls; they quickly took the title of zombie afterwards. Prior to this film zombies had been in films before but weren’t the flesh eating dead we know today. Romero created a new type of monster with his ghouls and did it without using masks or costumes. These zombies weren’t the living zombie under the spell of a voodoo witch doctor but recently deceased people who rose from their graves to eat human flesh and can only be killed by destroying their brains. The rest is history. Romero himself has made six films in this series but zombies have become so popular there is no end to the media they have invaded. Later this year we will even see a classic story invaded by zombies when Pride and Prejudice and Zombies hits theaters.

I love this film because it is so groundbreaking. Not only in its creation of modern day zombies but because it was so aggressive. This movie was graphic in a way people were unaccustomed to in 1968 in more ways than one. It was violent, bloody, and it starred a black man for crying out loud. Yes this movie, if I’m not mistaken, was the first to star an African American in the lead. Granted he doesn’t survive in an end that must have blown people’s minds in 1968, but he is the star of the film. He opened the doors for many actors to walk through and that can’t be taken for granted. This movie also opened the doors for the industry in general by raising the bar of what was deemed acceptable.

Let me take this opportunity: Thank you George A. Romero! As a fan of more graphic content, when it is necessary, in media I appreciate this movie all the more for what it did for films. It was so bold and inventive. Even today when I watch this movie I am shocked by its graphic nature, but that is what impresses me. Here I am, nearly 50 years later and it still has the potential to surprise me. That’s amazing and that’s exactly what makes this movie so significant. One of my favorite movies of all time is Romero’s sequel to this one, Dawn of the DeadHowever, it would have never been possible without this, and this was pretty damn good in its own right.

This movie is the only reason that we have read Empire of the Dead by Romero. A couple of years ago Amber got me half of the available volumes of The Walking Dead comics for Christmas. I think I was dancing around the door when the Barnes & Nobles finally opened following the holiday. I had already burned through something like 8 volumes immediately, unable to stop or put them down. Once I bought every other volume up until 17 I was going mad at the possibility of waiting six months for the continuation of the story. Suddenly one day I realized if I went to an actual comic book store I could probable get a couple issues of what had come out before the next volume was available. A volume is six issues of the comic. Typically an issue comes out once a month, so you can consider each volume usually six months of compiled material. I love the series and even though it is maddening to wait for the next issue now on a monthly basis it never fails to surprise me with where it goes.

Once we started visiting the comic book store once a month we naturally got interested in more that was available. We now read several comics on a regular basis as issues are released and George A. Romero’s Empire of the Dead is one of them. I was not initially interested in reading another comic about zombies as I was already so aggressively invested in The Walking Dead. Yet when Amber brought home the debut issue one day I found myself reading it that evening. Despite my lack of enthusiasm it was the fact that it was rooted in this movie that got me to keep reading it as it came out. In the story of Empire of the Dead people have been living with the dead for a long time and have rebuilt a different sort of society set in New York City. They catch and train qualified zombies for pit games, the zombies have a low level of thought and organization, the Government is actually run by vampires so on and so forth. One of the main characters in the comic is the daughter of Barbara from this film. She believes zombies are capable of higher thought because her mother was not actually killed by the zombie brother that pulled her through the window in the film but saved by it. It’s neither here nor there but this story has kept me invested specifically because it is rooted in this film.

This movie really doesn’t need any input from me, it speaks for itself. It is an incredible movie that will never be forgotten and it is simply the beginning of an ongoing story that that is still going strong 46 years later. If you have seen this movie then it is never a bad idea to check it out again when Halloween rolls around. If you haven’t seen it then what are you waiting for? You have missed out on something that is awesome.

 

Nightmare on Elm Street

Year: 1984
Directed By: Wes Craven
Written By: Wes Craven

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is the film you should be watching for Halloween. It is as scary as they come and it’s a horror legend. This film has created a franchise that has lived and thrived for thirty years now. To date there have been nine movies and countless other media featuring the character of Freddy Kruger. It all started with this movie and when you watch it you understand why it has lived on in this fashion. The long standing success of the franchise led to an unnecessary  remake about four years ago that nobody should waste their time seeing.

Classics should never be touched. It’s a crime to remake a popular classic film for the sake of making money. There was nothing wrong with this original film and nothing to be improved upon. This was a great movie that scared us with an original idea and effects that were far ahead of their time. They did things in this movie that had never been done before and it looked great. Johnny Depp falling into his bed and exploding into the ceiling is insane. Freddy stretching through the wall look great. Technology didn’t need to improve upon these effects even if it could. This movie shouldn’t be touched and it angers me to think a new generation of fans might bypass the original and just watch the new one. The new one wasn’t as well received and I don’t even know that I saw all of it. It can splash all the blood and provoke a scream now and again but it can never recreate the magic of the film made in 1984.

Despite the presence of this franchise throughout my entire life I haven’t seen many, if any at all, of the sequels. I was born the same year this movie came out and for as long as I can remember I have known about it but not dared to actually sit down and watch them. In my oldest memories Halloween always stands out and Freddy has always been present during the holiday in some capacity. Be it a neighbor who gets a kick out of dressing like him for trick-or-treaters or simply trick-or-treaters themselves he was always around and I thought he was really scary. So I think I subconsciously avoided this series for as long as I could simply because it reminds me of the fear I felt as a kid when things were much scarier. I am more interested than ever now because this movie so thoroughly impresses me and I will seek out some of the films that follow. If anybody has any thoughts on the quality of the sequels leave us a comment and let us know if they are worth our time.

Happy Halloween everyone and check out this movie once the kids has eaten their candy and had their sugar crash. When the doorbell finally stops ringing and you can sit back to look for your own fear for entertainment watch this movie. It’s scary and it’s for real. It’s a perfect evening for a scary movie and you can’t go wrong with this one.

AMBER’S REVIE

I had never seen this movie before. I know it’s a classic, but my step sister was always terrified of this movie so I never wanted to see it. I know why she was terrified now; this  movie is one of the creepiest hrror movies I have ever seen. Freddy is creepy looking and does scary, gory things and the whole plot line is terrifying in itself. I felt extremely sleepy the whole movie, just knowing that she couldn’t sleep or he was going to get her. Overall, this is a great movie, and stands legend today for a really good reason. I think this might become a regular Halloween movie for us from now on.

Devil

Year: 2010
Directed By: John Erick Dowdle
Written By: Brian Nelson (screenplay), M. Night Shyamalan (story)

RYAN’S REVIEW

I ordered this movie specifically for this month because I just wanted a reason to write about it. I am a fan of M. Night Shyamalan and have liked most of his films. I am alone in this reality though and many people choose to hate on the guy. If you would like my thoughts on why people hate him so much check out our reviews for The Happening or Lady in the Water. The fact that people are overly critical of his films directly lead to what made this one different and that is what I find interesting about it.

I specifically remember how much people hated The Happening. I actually liked the movie but I have found few people who share in my feelings for it. I remember reading somewhere that the movie was so poorly received that Shyamalan would not be allowed the same autonomy he had with his films that he had enjoyed since the phenomenal success of The Sixth Sense Shyamalan had until then done everything himself with his films serving as writer, director, and producer among other things. That kind of freedom is allotted to some directors who really please their studios but as time went on things weren’t going that way for Shyamalan. Critically and financially his movies were getting worse with each new film and in 2010 when this film was released with a different director and screenwriter I took what I had previously read as truth. It’s not really true as Shyamalan has continued to make films such as The Last Airbender and After Earth. However both were largely disappointments and his career has continued to stay in limbo.

After Earth made its money back overseas but domestically it was an incredible flop. Even I, as a Shyamalan fan, couldn’t really appreciate that film and it will be interesting to see where his career continues in the aftermath. Regardless how things unfolded behind the scenes I think the fact that other people directed and wrote one of his films is a clear indicator that he has fallen out of grace with his employers. Devil was supposed to be the first of “The Night Chronicles” but no other such chronicles have been made. I think calling them that was only a way to appease and save face for Shyamalan who probably didn’t like the idea of handing over his work to be done by someone else. I consider this movie both good and bad but can’t say one way or another if it would have been any better, or worse, had Shymalan been able to do it all himself as he usually does.

I think this movie is a really cool story but there are parts I just find silly. The legend overtone is clearly there and that is practically a calling card for Shyamalan. That tone is carried over in large part by a security guard who sees the devil’s face and continually talks about it. Even at one point getting on his knees and praying while insanity brews within the elevator. What bothers me is the fact that nobody is telling this guy to shut up and get out. Why are any of them listening to him at all? Yeah there are unexplainable things going on in the elevator but if Bokeem Woodbine’s character can’t be trusted because of his employer then why are the police listening to any of his fellow security guards? I think the superstitious security guard brings down what would otherwise be a much more exciting movie.

I like the movie despite that element though and enjoyed seeing it again. It’s a scary scenario that keeps you guessing and can surprise you by the end. This isn’t a Sixth Sense shocker but I still think it’s fun. I think it’s unfortunate that the ending appears obvious because as a Shyamalan fan it can be spotted simply. He appears to have a pattern at this point and the linking of the last survivor and the lead detective is a bit predictable.

Despite the inactivity of the “Night Chronicles” there is still plenty of possibility to see more and who knows, maybe even a sequel to this movie one day. I continue to find the career of Shyamalan an interesting one and will always see anything he is involved with. My faith in him has waiver after his last film some but I think he is talented enough to keep doing great things. He has a new movie called Sundowning in post production now. I will see it and I can only hope that with this film he begins to change the way people are beginning to perceive him.

There are plenty of options when choosing a movie to set the mood for Halloween and I’d call this movie a safety net if nothing else is available. It’s a good movie with parts that will make you jump and keep you on the edge of your seat. Enjoy the holiday this year and check out this movie if you are interested.

AMBER’S REVIEW

What a cool movie this one is. I am sucked into this movie from the very beginning. I love how they take being stuck in an elevator (an already terrifying situation for most) and mix it in with the Devil being there to torment these people. It all connects really well, and tells and interesting tale about how the Devil likes to torment us all when we fall short of morality. I think this movie is an original horror flick and that always make me like a movie, any movie. It’s a simple premise and it all takes place in an elevator, one scene. This can definitely be slated as one of my favorite scary movies for sure.

The Boardwalk Empire Series Finale

The only word that comes to mind is “brilliant.” I can honestly say this was the most satisfied I have ever been with how a television show has ended. They didn’t pull any punches and they shocked us with a great ending.

I had been a bit bothered by the unceremonious deaths of Nick Van Alden/George Mueller and Chalky White but those were simply a means to an end. They were both great characters and despite how it happened their stories ended with their deaths. I didn’t mind the way Chalky died, he had nothing left. It was Van Aldon/Mueller’s death that really disappointed me. I loved his character and hated to see him go. I had no expectation for him to survive the show I simply would have liked to see him die a bit more dramatically.

All season I have enjoyed the flashback side of the season. The actor used to play a young Nucky Thompson was incredible and my respect goes to the casting department for finding such a suitable actor to play the younger Steve Buscemi. Marc Pickering played the part and did a fantastic job with it.

For the entire final episode I was enthralled in the scenes. I sat on the edge of my seat hanging on every word until it was all said and done. I wasn’t sure what would happen to Nucky but in the final moments my mind was blown. I was annoyed any time Gillian Darmody was getting screen time because I thought it just a weak effort to keep Gretchen Mol involved but I was wrong. When Tommy Darmody announces himself right before avenging his father my jaw dropped and I had trouble sleeping afterwards due to the excitement.

It was fitting for Nucky to survive only to be gunned down in retribution for the sins of his past. I love that it ends when the lights go out for Nucky. The story dies with the man who makes it and it ends as soon as he does. This was a great final episode and it closed everything up. Far and away one of my favorite finales ever and I loved it. Great ending to a great show. It’s sad to see it end but I take solace in knowing that it ended the way it should have.

Halloween II

Year: 1981
Directed By: Rick Rosenthal
Written By: John Carpenter and Debra Hill

RYAN’S REVIEW

What a disappointing evening we had with this film. I had remembered it being pretty good and was looking forward to it. I didn’t take into account I was probably 14 the last time I saw it and it turned out to be like any other typical slasher sequel. There are efforts made to deepen the Michael Myers lore but they are weak at best. This is really just more of the same with less purpose.

I was under the mistaken impression that John Carpenter was behind camera on this film. I think that misconception went a long way in my memory of it being better. You can clearly see that a different director made this film and I think that is the problem with it. Carpenter did serve as producer and writer for the film but that wasn’t enough. It starts with the score of the film. It’s similar to the first film’s but just different enough that it doesn’t have the same effect. Part of what made the first film great was how the music intertwined with the action on screen and that was missing this time around. Michael Myers looks different as well and that is something that happens when a new director takes on the work of another. Myers looks smaller in this movie and the mask looks slightly different. I don’t know if the director is to blame for Michael’s choice of weapons in this film but they couldn’t be any less intimidating. Scalpels can be deadly when used against someone but I hardly think it is a practical weapon for a ghoul who will spend an evening stabbing lots of people. When he gets his eyes shot out and is swinging it randomly trying to hit anything I just felt like it was stupid. A scalpel is not a slashing weapon, and by that point I was so bored and disappointed it just seemed like something else annoying.

The story here is really lame and not at all cool like I remembered it being. In the first film Michael Myers was a stalking killer who seemed to have no purpose to his killing and that made him scarier. In this film they gave him a reason but it was as loose a reason as it could be. They decided that Laurie Strode was his sister and that was his motive to kill her as his first kill was of another sister but I think this is weak. I think it even weaker that Laurie Strode seems to figure it out on her own and tries to talk to her brother before he again attempts to kill her.

Another thing I think takes away from this movie is Michael’s seemingly immortality. In the first film he was a boogyman but in this one he is an unstoppable mindless killing machine. They vaguely try to explain it with a ritualistic word scrawled on the chalkboard at the local school but his immortality takes something away from him. If there is no real hope to kill him then there is no anticipation of how anyone will escape. It makes little sense why he would survive so many gunshots, including one to each eye, but die from catching on fire. He walks out of the explosion before appearing to die but why does that kill him when nothing else would? It seems he could have stopped, dropped, and rolled if for no other reason than to offer the audience a more terrifying looking slasher but I guess they didn’t do fire drills in the mental institution he grew up in.

Regardless what I think this movie is still a pillar of support for a franchise that has continued for more than twenty five years. It would be awesome to see the horror genre diversify but why do so when you can keep making money doing the same thing over and over again? I think if you have seen the first film you have seen them all. One slasher film is really no different than any other once you’ve seen the first. The only differences being the weapons wielded and the one doing the wielding. You have a good chance to see a set of boobs in any of them but not from the heroine that ultimately defeats the unkillable slasher.

Seems to me it’s always a woman who wins out in the end of these films. Gentlemen, if you find yourself in a slasher film scenario then make the most of your final hours of life. If these movies have taught us anything then we know we aren’t beating the bad guy. It’s most likely going to be the girl that you, or any of your buddies, didn’t try to hook up with. She will kill the bad guy and/or be the only survivor. There is no hope for us guys, so go wild if you find yourself in this unpractical and unrealistic situation.  Such a thing is unlikely but in a society where we all like to joke about our readiness for the zombie apocalypse anything is worth being prepared for.

If you are looking for a good movie to watch for Halloween then don’t waste your time with this one. If the first one isn’t available there are still several better options to spend your time with.