Don’t Breathe

http://unlicensedfilmreviewers.podbean.com/e/dont-breathe/

Carl and Sir Chase are reunited to talk Don’t Breathe, Mechanic: Resurrection, and Hands of Stone. The guys get into movie news, theorize on Robert De Niro movie choices, and to finish it off come up with a couple of gimmicks they would like to see in Horror films. Check us out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Tell a friend

War Dogs

http://unlicensedfilmreviewers.podbean.com/e/war-dogs/

Sir Chase and special guest Hillary Hooper talk War Dogs, Kubo and the Two Strings, and Ben-Hur. Then they discuss some movie news including cash-grab spin offs and racism in movies. Then they finish by throwing out their ideas for good movie spinoffs. If you enjoy the show, leave a review and tell a friend.

The Shallows

Rating: 2 out of 5

My wife and I decided to indulge in some masochism yesterday when we took a trip with our lovely friends to see The Shallows. The evening was full of delicious food, a toothache I have been nursing for a week, and some of the most atrocious shark action since the Jaws/Pagemaster mashup of 2008 that I just made up. Sure, I could have stayed home and stared at my own testicles, but it’s not usually wise to invite your friends to that.

The Shallows stars Blake Lively and tells the story of a surfer who takes a trip to a hidden beach in order to ride waves and become a snack for a giant demented shark named Craig (probably). It follows the basic formula of several great survival-type films like The Grey and Frozen, but The Shallows lacks a few key elements. Namely, quality writing and directing.

Mrs. Dreamy Reynolds (What? The motherfucker is good-looking) does a fine job with her performance. I admire actors when they take on a role that tasks them with performing alone for the vast majority of the film, and Blake Lively did a perfect job working with the suspense and terror that comes with a wild, angry, possibly racist shark hunting for Oakland booty. Unfortunately, Blake’s performance was pretty much the only highlight of the film besides an injured bird named Steven Seagull who became her sidekick for much of the story.

The Shallows was drenched in slow motion nonsense. I mean marinated. Now, watching focused slow motion shots of Blake Lively’s bikini-clad lady bits as she dives into an ocean may be stimulating, but it does not make me take the damn movie seriously. The first twenty minutes in particular were full of Bay Watch-worthy moments, and it got really irritating really fast. Beyond that, the movie was basically the story of a shark that acted more like Ted Bundy than a killer fish. It had patterns, it was willing to stalk its prey for days regardless of the presence of easier, tastier victims, and it really wanted that woman. This is also the time in the review where I say how terrible many of the special effects were. I hope they gave the shark back to Nintendo 64 when they were done with it.

These sorts of movies are never going to win awards for their writing, and this is no exception. The survival parts were decently written, but they were sandwiched between an irritating beginning and end that ruined whatever the movie had going for it. The middle was not bad (I’m trying not to be a complete asshole). It just felt phoned in for the most part.

Overall, The Shallows was pretty much garbage. It didn’t scar me for life-like the last Turtles movie, but it is not something I will be watching again. It wasn’t torture, but it wasn’t particularly fun either. I think I’ll just take the hour and a half next time to stare at my own testicles. I give it a two out of five.

If you enjoy my reviews, check out my podcast Unlicensed Film Reviewers where we discuss movies and Hollywood news on iTunes, Stitcher, or just about any podcast app.

Clown

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Hello, chums and chumettes…

It has been a while since I have written a review for a movie, which mostly has to do with my presence on the podcast Unlicensed Film Reviewers. I have a delightful time recording, so check it out if you get a chance.

Apart from that, I watched a little-known horror movie called Clown that could have been great if it didn’t suck. Let’s dig deeper…

Clown tells the story of a father who wears a clown suit for his son’s birthday party, only to find that it is not simply an innocent little costume. This sounds like a quality movie, right? I bet there wasn’t any hesitation when the writers first pitched it. Who thinks of this shit? What a terrible fucking idea. Then again, here I am sitting on my couch writing a review for a movie while Christopher Ford and Jon Watts write for a living.

Wait…it took TWO writers for this enchanted clown suit movie?

Jesus Halford Christ.

Clown stars a bunch of people you probably don’t care about along with Peter Stormare, who you might sort of remember. The acting is pretty decent, especially for a lesser-known horror movie, and there weren’t too many moments that were drenched in cheese for no reason. This is a strong quality for a movie of this nature. Normally, they would just hire a bunch of actors from some community theater in Burbank who keep telling you about that one commercial the back of their head was in when they were five years old.

The story is unoriginal and forced, and it seems like it could have been written by anyone with access to a stupid person. However, this does not kill the movie. We often expect this with lower-budget horror, and the good aspects of this movie keep it afloat (barely).

The violence and gore is a step up from what we often see in these films. The visual effects were pretty good, and it made the movie more fun. Clown was violent, with plenty of gore to quench your thirst for child-death. Actually, that is something I appreciated about this movie. It often feels like movies avoid killing children or pets. Not Clown! Being a child or a pet makes you extra dead!

Overall, Clown is not a great film, but it is a watchable horror movie. Apart from a shit story, the acting and visual effects make it an acceptable way to spend an otherwise uneventful evening. If I am being completely honest, this movie is about a hundred times better than It Follows, which received plenty of undeserving buzz (fucking terrible). All in all, Clown is not the worst horror film. It just isn’t very good either. I give it a two and a half out of five.

The Best and Worst of 2015

Greetings, children. The year of twenty and fifteen has come to an end, and I feel it is appropriate to present my picks for the best and worst movies of this past year. Now, some of you may be questioning my qualifications. Well, I saw An American Tale in theaters when I was a child, so…there is my resume. Overall, 2015 was a spectacular year for film. It is now a pleasure to sit and write as I reflect on everything I have seen, even if it is only my self-indulgent way of showing how important my opinion is. I did not see everything, but I saw enough to make me an expert in life. So sick back with a chalice of chocolate milk and a platter of boobs and enjoy Sir Chase’s Best and Worst of 2015.

The Besties-

5. Creed

Michael B. Jordan took the legacy of the Rocky franchise and carried it like a torch of delicious baked cookies into the future. Match that with a stellar performance by Stallone and you have my number 5 movie for 2015.

4. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The Star Wars franchise was in a coma for years. It was on life support and was being fed chicken noodle soup through a tube in its belly button while its family sat next to it and cried while reading fan fiction out loud. It was hurting. We were hurting. Then The Force Awakens was debuted and the world was right again.

3. The Revenant

Survival. Revenge. Nature. Violence. It was like watching a beautiful ballet of hillbilly death. Not to mention the magnificent work of Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy.

2. Mad Max: Fury Road

It was perhaps the manliest fucking movie I have ever seen. It was beautifully shot, featured wonderfully creative characters, and the most kickass female of the year. It was tits in movie-form.

1. Sicario

My favorite movie of 2015 was Sicario. It took on a very real, very present topic, and it did so in a way that (apparently unexpectedly) made me want to go work for the CIA and destroy the Cartels. It was war and it was dirty. I loved it.

The Worsties-

5. Pan

If I wanted to watch a shitty fantasy version of Moulin Rouge, I would have watched Moulin Rouge. I did not give a fuck about anything in this movie.

4. Pitch Perfect 2

2015 was full of shitty sequels (I avoided Alvin and the Chipmunks at all costs). Pitch Perfect 2 is the first one on this list. It was one of those movies where my wife got mad at me for making constant comments about how stupid everything was. What the fuck was the point in having the god damn Packers in it? I mean, Clay Matthews is a specimen of a man, but still…

3. Sinister 2

Shit story. Shit acting. Shit characters. Shit scares. Shitty shit shit shit. I would have rather had a puma shit in between my toes than watch this shitty shit.

2. Knock, Knock

Surprise! Another Keanu Reeves movie that sucks! Everything about it was pointless, despite having a premise that could have been at least sort of interesting if they put just a little effort in (and cast someone less fucking boring). Honestly, the only reason it was not the worst movie of the year is because the majority of it featured attractive naked women. Still, boobs could not save this movie from being one of the worst movies of 2015.

1. Ted 2

Yes…Ted 2 is the worst movie of 2015. Why? Because Seth MacFarlene made it. The majority of the film becomes a courtroom drama about why a talking stuffed bear deserves the same rights as a human. Need I say more? It was basically terrorism.

There you have it. I did not see everything, but this is the best and worst of what I saw. Here’s to a splendid 2016!

The Revenant/Joy/Krampus/The Hateful Eight

On this day of chilly wind and pointy nipples, I debut not one, not two, NOT THREE (Nope), but four movie reviews of supreme justice. I know, I know…this is the greatest news since boobs. As the year closes, I feel it is necessary to view as many of the last-minute cinematic masterpieces as possible before we head into award season. I will probably toss a couple more reviews your way fairly quickly, but this is a good start.

The Revenant-

Rating: 5 out of 5

The first movie I would like to discuss is The Revenant, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio as the baddest man in American history Hugh Glass on his journey for vengeance. This may be Leo’s most ambitious role to date (which says a lot considering some of his recent projects), and he plays a truly convincing warrior of the frontier. He is gruff, strong, and altogether tough as a Denny’s steak. I do not know if The Academy will be interested in this type of film (they do not seem to care very much for gritty tales of survivalists and ultra-violent scenes of hand-to-hand combat), and that’s okay. However, we all know that Leo has been grasping for a statue for years, and he really deserves it for this role. He did a great job.

Tom Hardy (my dude crush) plays Hugh Glass’ adversary John Fitzgerald, and it is another strong performance for him. He has a real knack for playing diverse, strong characters, and I have enjoyed him in everything he has done. I am not sure when he is going to get that Oscar-worthy role, but his acting is deserving of it every time. It was a treat to see Leo and Tom performing together.

The story is one I have heard before (thank you The Dollop podcast), and Alejandro Gonzalez did a fantastic job doing it justice. The film was beautiful and Mother Nature was a badass. Like…Mother Nature made even Hugh Glass look like a whiny little bitch. “Oh, a bear ripped you to shreds? Have some snow, pussy!” There were many intense moments that had nothing to do with the interaction of characters, but showed the intensity of weather and its destructive powers. The legend of Hugh Glass as told by Alejandro Gonzalez had some key deviations from the story I have heard, but those changes made the film more complete and more rewarding for the viewer. I think they made the film brilliant. Also, it featured one of the most intense combat scenes I have ever seen (think the knife scene from Saving Private Ryan, but bigger).

If I can sum this movie up, it is that the acting is tremendous, the story is brilliantly told in a way that shows the perseverance and strength that many Americans hold dear, and the film is shot beautifully. It helps that I love the shit out of survival stuff and take every opportunity to relive my childhood of battling Indians (isn’t it funny what was taught to the youth of America even a short time ago…not that I’m complaining), but I think the film is wonderfully done even without my personal tastes. In short, go see The Revenant and hope with me that Leo gets his Oscar nod. I give it a five out of five.

Joy-

Rating: 3 out of 5

The next movie I am going to discuss is the new Jennifer Lawrence film Joy, which tells the tale of a single mother who creates a family business empire by inventing products for home. Right away, this movie does not seem to appeal to people like me. It certainly is not a stereotypical film for men. However, do not let the description sway your opinion. Its faults are not in the story, but in its execution.

It is hard to deny the power of this cast. With Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Robert De Niro headlining, you already have the makings of a tremendous movie. As you would expect, they are all fantastic in their roles. I thought Bradley Cooper in particular was great as the enthusiastic home shopping executive Neil Walker. There was something about his energy that was really fun to watch. Although De Niro has been choosing some odd roles lately, I appreciated his character in this movie. It was different without being kooky, which is something I feel he has fallen into lately. Jennifer Lawrence was Jennifer Lawrence. She has a great personality and always showcases an ability to portray herself as smart, confident, sexy, and strong.

So far you are thinking this movie must be great. Well…it really is not. It is fine, but I could have better spent my time eating ice cream or watching my dog lick his own ass hole. About halfway through the film, I realized that I did not give a shit about the story or what was going on. I was bored. At first, I figured it was just me acting like a typical dude, but my wife felt the same way. While the acting was great, the story was slowly executed. I wanted to watch Ninja Turtles instead. I just did not care at all, and I think it was a fault in the writing and flow of the script, because the acting really was top-notch.
Joy was not a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination. It just was not a good movie either. I give it a three out of five.

Krampus-

Rating: 4 out of 5

Horror movies are (to me) the most difficult types of movies to review. It seems like most people either love them all or are very particular about them. Krampus is that even stranger sub-genre of horror comedy that is sometimes considered brilliant and most times considered horrendous. So, was Krampus worth watching? To me, it definitely was. Krampus is a Christmas demon who is accidentally summoned by a young boy whose faith in Christmas has been broken.

The film stars a great cast of funny actors including Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, and Conchata Ferrell. I enjoyed the way they interacted and I thought there were a bunch of great one-liners in the movie. The story was quite fun, but the real highlights of Krampus were the evil minions. Killer gingerbread men, a murderous teddy bear, and a monstrous jack-in-the-box made for a fun (but frightening) journey. They really were fun, and the gingerbread men in particular were adorable in all of their violent tendencies.

I was a little bummed that there was no real visible violence, but that is simply because I am a mild psychopath. I do not feel that the visual violence was necessary for this film. In fact, certain scenes were more humorous because the full scope of violence was not seen.

It was a dark story. Really dark. And the ending was a welcome surprise that made me happy because it does not happen enough. I loved the mixture of darkness and humor, and it was a welcome change to see this sort of horror-comedy out there with a decent budget.
Krampus was fun. It may not have gotten great reviews, but I think that has a lot to do with the fact that people have such skewed views of horror in general. I thought Krampus was funny, cute (at times), and entertaining, and I recommend it for yearly holiday viewing. I give it a four out of five.

The Hateful Eight-

Rating: 4 out of 5

Yes, I think Quentin Tarantino is a dick head for what he said about cops. No, I do not care what your opinion is. Regardless, I love his work as a writer and director. I think he is one of the most brilliant storytellers in film history (or any history for that matter), and I always look forward to his work. I also love that he uses the same basic cast for almost all of his work. It makes it feel almost like a theater group; almost Shakespearean.

The Hateful Eight is the latest Tarantino masterpiece that tells the story of a bounty hunter who tries to protect his bounty while being stuck in a cabin with several odd characters. That bounty hunter is played by Kurt Russell, and it was great to see him in that role. He was violent, funny, and he had great facial hair. It was another trophy for his career.

I do not wish to spend time on each acting performance, because they were all great. However, I do want to mention Jennifer Jason Leigh and Walton Goggins. Jennifer was perfect as Kurt Russell’s bounty. I am not sure I know much about her, but this performance alone will make me check out anything she does. Walton was tremendous as always. I was so glad he got a big role in this film, because he is a spectacular character actor that needs to be featured more often. His acting is like chocolate on boobs…or something like that.

The film features, as always, lengthy portions of dialogue that are often a treat to listen to. There is always an undertone of surrealism no matter what topic Tarantino takes on, and the humor is always a welcome addition. He is one of the only writers and directors out there that can feature mostly dialogue and still present an interesting product. The Hateful Eight is no exception.

My one criticism would be that this film was not as interesting as some of his other films. I enjoyed it, but there were moments when I was feeling a little bored with the dialogue. I started longing for more action, which is not something I usually find with Tarantino’s movies (not since Jacky Brown). It almost felt like too much dialogue (weird, I know). Still, I enjoyed the flow overall and it felt very typical of his movies.

I liked The Hateful Eight a lot. I did not quite love it, but I liked it very much. It is not the perfect Tarantino film, but it is better than most films being made these days. I give it a four out of five.

That is it, kids! A slew of movies to check out this holiday season. Enjoy!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

How does one properly review Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Better question, how does one review a new Star Wars film without any sort of bias? Luckily, my method of reviewing has nothing to do with middle-of-the-road, uninfluenced dribble. I am simply here to tell you what I recommend you watch and what I recommend you avoid like a date night with Bill Cosby. Put plainly, I highly recommend Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The story takes place three decades after Return of the Jedi and follows a new threat, The First Order, as it attempts to rule the galaxy.

Disclaimer: If you are not a fan of the Star Wars franchise, you will probably not enjoy this movie. In fact, you are probably the type of person that enjoys terrorism, Adam Sandler, and huffing squirrel farts. You are definitely not the type of person that has any appreciation or respect for science fiction royalty, and you were probably picked as “Most Likely To Pee On Old People” in middle school. You probably only watch three hour black and white movies where the main characters stare into each other’s nostrils and name various types of flowers as a way of showing the inhumane treatment of diamond workers in Africa. All in all, you are probably a living turd.

With that said, I fucking loved the new Star Wars movie. It had everything you would hope for in the continuation of the franchise, and I feel it will help fans forget about some of the wounds caused by the last three movies. (Side note: I actually like the last three movies besides the horrendous acting of Hayden Christensen). While watching The Force Awakens, I was very happy. Giddy almost, and I cannot wait to see where the story goes from here.

The movie features fantastic action and battle sequences that take full advantage of the technology that filmmakers have at their disposal these days. The most important part of this was that it was done tastefully. It never looked like I was watching a sub-par video game, even when I was looking at bizarre alien creatures or intense fight scenes. Special effects are done poorly so often, I really appreciate when they are done well.

Let me focus on the creatures for a moment. The Star Wars franchise has always been known for its extremely creative, often humorous side characters. These characters always give the movies a greater likability and a more immersive experience. They are some of the most memorable characters (Cantina Band) and they bring the movies to a completely different level. This was just as present in The Force Awakens. Some of the strange creatures were so fascinating; I would have enjoyed watching an entire movie about them. It is one of those things that are so well done, you wish you could spend a lifetime exploring the universe further.

What can I say about the story and its characters? It was all wonderful. We reunited with old friends and met new icons that will live on for generations as the old ones have. The acting was great and the dialogue was littered with funny jokes and one-liners that always make for a splendid action movie experience these days. Daisy Ridley was a strong, refreshing female lead that kicked butt and will surely be the focal point of the coming movies. Oscar Isaac was entertaining as always, and I am glad he is getting high profile roles like this. He is a great actor. John Boyega did a great job of mixing humor with likability and made his character one that will shine throughout the films. Oh, yeah…he’s black. I forgot how that matters…

On the EEEEEEEVILLLL side, Domhnall Gleeson was terrific as the Hitler-esque General Hux, and Adam Driver used his engaging voice to make Kylo Ren a sinister force for the Dark Side. I would applaud everyone, but I’m typing.

Now that I’ve spent some time vomiting love onto the screen, I will address a couple things that I did not enjoy as much in this film (notice I said “as much”). Look, I love seeing the old beloved characters show up as much as anyone. It is like visiting old friends. However, it has become a trend in these sorts of movies where there is too much focus on their appearance and the clichés of their characters. It is never enough that they are in the movie. They have to have huge, overly-dramatic entrances so the entire theater can cheer, and they have to fill us to the brim with catch phrases and references to the old movies that we love. It’s great and everything…it just feels a little overboard at times. It makes me wonder how these moments will stand up to the test of time when children can simply watch all of the movies in one sitting instead of waiting decades to see these characters again.

Also, and this is just a personal preference, I want my Dark Side characters to be EVIL. I mean excessively evil. I had a problem with the bitchiness of Anakin (even though he did evil things, he was a bitch about it), and I have a similar problem with Kylo Ren. I thought his character was better, and the acting of Adam Driver was great, but his character just did not feel sinister enough to me. My hope is that the character is simply not fully devolved and will make me proud in the end, but only time will tell.

Finally, (I don’t want to spoil anything), but a certain character in the movie is way too advanced for not having any training whatsoever. Kylo Ren, highly trained in the Dark Side, should simply run through anyone who does not have the training that he does. I did not appreciate this little thing.

Overall, Star Wars: The Force Awakens was one of my favorite films of the year. I admit that this is due in great part to my love for Star Wars as a franchise, but it is a fact nonetheless. It stands tall with the best of the series and makes up for some of the downfalls of the last few movies. There is action, humor, interesting characters, and a good story. It is great for die-hard fans as well as newcomers. I give it four and a half out of five.