‘The Magnificient Seven’ revives the western genre to a whole new generation – REVIEW

Antoine Fuqua delivers a new modern feel to an old and dying genre

Fuqua’s latest movie streak has been terribly dull. With films like The Equalizer and Southpaw, he just delivers mediocre movies that should have been great blockbusters. This time around, Fuqua tries to save a genre that has not been healthy as of late – westerns. The Magnificient Seven looked to make that very genre relevant and modern enough for a current generation. With the help of Chris Pratt, Denzel Washington, and Ethan Hawke, The Magnificient Seven has achieved just that.

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Starting out in a small western-like village, we see Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) and her husband (Matt Bomer) trying to find ways to stop the bad guy, Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) from taking their village and killing their folks. Her husband is soon killed by Bogue and the audience soon knows that this is going to be a hybrid action-western movie instead of your typical old-school western. Bogue tells the people in the village that he will be back, so Emma hires Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington) and he assembles a group of diverse men, Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt), Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), Billy Rocks (Lee Byung-hun), Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier) and Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), to save the people and their village.

Modernizing a genre is always risky business. However, Fuqua did a great job with this. He uses some talented actors to his advantage and creates a rather straightforward and mainstream plot. The journey to assemble these men is a fun one. Getting to know each of them just enough to care and root for them, in the end, is the balance this movie needs. Some funny dialogue is presented, and it makes for some fun moments. The second act is when things get a little slow. The pace changes and the movie dial back to let character development take center stage. The problem is that there’s no development at all. When the action picks back up, the character development has no change in the final ending.

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That certainly does not take away from what The Magnificient Seven ultimately becomes – an action-packed, emotional ride. Unexpected things happen, which makes it less of the cliché ending we were expecting. At the same time, it doesn’t completely forget its simplicity either. The build to this excited ending will surely be loved by many people and will even prompt some to forgive the useless slow second act that it produces. The third act is what this film is based upon and for it to be thrilling is a huge pay-off. Without it, the movie stands on nothing and would, therefore, fail.

What ultimately seems like another simple remake is the voice for so many tiring old genres. Antoine Fuqua knows exactly what the modern generation demands while still not forgetting to create a good movie. This could very be the Captain America: Civil War of the western genre and the start of much more.

REVIEW: A-

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‘When The Bough Breaks’ is a ‘Fatal Attraction’ recycled disaster – REVIEW

Screen Gems has yet another all African-American romantic thriller to show its September audience

The psychotic girl is obsessed with the married man; now this sounds similar. It’s precisely the premise of When The Bough Breaks. Now, there have been many many movies that have tried to ride the coattails of Fatal Attraction, and while some worked (Gone Girl), some didn’t (The Perfect Guy). The difference lies that the not so good movies tend to straight out copy Fatal Attraction, while the good ones usually are more inspired by the film.

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This time around, it revolves around a wealthy couple, Laura (Regina Hall) and John (Morris Chestnut) Taylor, looking to live the perfect American Dream. They have everything except a baby, so they decide to bring in a surrogate (Jaz Sinclair) to deliver their baby. That quickly turns into a disaster when the surrogate is forced to leave her surroundings and come live with the parents of her child. And a disaster it becomes.

Nowhere is this movie looking to be good. Sure, it has Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall’s terrific performances, but the movie around them is significantly lacking. The premise has been done better a million times before. The romantic thriller is just a flat out copy of its predecessors. Nothing amusing is added to this recycled storyline, and it keeps being predictable time and time again. The surrogate becomes in love rather quickly with the married man and oh wait, newsflash; she’s psycho. It’s funny how at the beginning of the movie they try to make a decoy by trying to have the audience believe the surrogate isn’t making her decisions by herself. However, if you have watched the trailer, you clearly know that this girl is psychotic.

When The Bough Breaks‘ storyline is continually being constructed with the characters’ inability to make good decisions. This is are what is called “movie decisions,” a decision so dumb that only serves to advance the plot of a movie. If the characters were remotely human, the majority of the decision would not have been made, thus, no movie. The film needs these dumb decisions because without them there’s nothing to make. All that’s left are some bland characters.

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The writing department was not good either. It sometimes felt like the script was made in a matter of minutes. Yes, the plot is cliched and depend on the characters’ dumb decisions, but there’s also the cheesy and flat out horrendous lines the actors said to each other. All realism this movie was holding on to (if any) just slowly escaped each time someone opened their mouths.

When The Bough Breaks isn’t trying to impress anyone. It’s a movie made to get some quick cash and nothing else, but it’s only When The Bough Breaks you’ll notice you have wasted your hard earned money.

REVIEW: F

‘Ghostbusters’ is a hit and miss all female remake – REVIEW

Paul Feig’s new female power remake of Ghostbusters lacks a good villain and some much needed jokes

Ghostbusters follows ghostbusters, Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wig), as they try to save New York city from evil ghosts. This film is a remake of the 1984 Ghostbusters and is Paul Feig’s predecessor to Spy also starring Melissa McCarthy.

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Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wig and Kate McKinnon

The movie sold this Ghostbusters remake as a feminist movie. This was partly true as the strength of this movie comes from the incredible performances by Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones with the latter being the better. They’re funny, likeable female leads. The audience truly cares about them and are curious to know more about them. They work well as “ghostbusters” and show that women can also be ghostbusters.

However, the leads are let down by some hit and miss writing and seemingly always McCarthy getting the short end of the stick. She had by far the most horrible jokes only being beaten by Chris Hemsworth who has greatly miss-casted here. McCarthy never gets to shine because her writing is continuously terrible. The other actresses do get some misses but they don’t get them as often as McCarthy.

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Ghostbusters (2016)

To comment on women’s painful reality on the internet was genius. Not only was it a response to being the most disliked movie trailer on Youtube, but it was a smart inclusion to an all-female cast. The movie shows the internet as a tool to try and stop the all-female ghostbusters. This added feature was smart and perfectly captured.

The relationship between McCarthy and Wig, while being a great idea, never seemed fully executed. Throughout the movie, they try to throw an added back story that just seems forced. From there on, the movie just takes it as it is only to come back to it at the very end without any emotional baggage. It feels forced and pushed down our throats.

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Ghostbusters’ main villain was easily forgettable. The movie failed to make its villain relevant and it just felt like he was placed there. He was the cliché villain that wants to destroy the world without any real motive behind his actions. It was just a sloppy way of throwing a villain in a movie that really didn’t need one. This was an excuse to copy the first one giving the original had a good and relevant bad guy.

Even with a very talented cast, Ghostbusters can’t spit out enough laughs to acknowledge its existence. The writing is where the movie falls and unfortunetly it never picks itself up. Though, McKinnon and Jones do find a way to lighten the remake up with some great joke delivery. All in all though, the Ghostbuster is yet another pointless remake.

REVIEW: C

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‘The Shallows’ is simple yet tension-filled enough to make a great summer movie – REVIEW

Jaume Collet-Serra directs another competently made, straight-forward and tension-filled thriller

The Shallows is a simple story movie following a surfer named Nancy (Blake Lively) who goes surfing in a nameless beach only to be terrorize by a shark. The film is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, the director of thrillers like Orphan and Non-Stop.

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Blake Lively as Nancy

Collet-Serra’s direction is great and capable. The movie looks fantastic thanks to the excellent choice of the colour palette. The various wide-shots of the ocean always looked fantastic. Additionally, the ocean’s clear water made for some beautiful sky shots. Surprisingly, the shark is well-made for being all CGI. With a movie this simple, the director sets up some great looking cinematography, even better than it should’ve been.

One thing is for certain, this shark attack movie is filled with tension and suspense. Jaume milks every little idea possible to create some great suspenseful moments. He uses his one-location setting to its full potential while always creating suspense. Although the film does start off pretty relaxed, the tension does arrive at just the right moment. From then on, the tension never leaves and the movie just keeps building.

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Carlos (Óscar Jaenada) and Nancy (Blake Lively) in THE SHALLOWS.

Blake Lively gives her best performance yet as a surfer battling for her life. The movie depends a lot on her acting and she does deliver some great moments. Her acting could’ve easily fallen in to the “over the top” category, but Lively always feel genuine. Her authentic acting helps carry the movie for the most parts but at a point it just can’t.

Simple thrillers usually get solved in the most unreal climatic way possible. As The Shallows doesn’t bring anything new to shark movies, its climax loses any realism the film hung on to. Lively’s effort to create a real relatable character is totally crushed by the scripts’ ambitious climax. It did feel as though, the writers were looking to end the movie with a bang and while doing so, the climax feels detached from the rest of the movie.

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The Shallows

Not only does the climax feel out of place, so does the score. The music choices feel all over the place like someone couldn’t decide which genre to use. The film starts with very modern techno music and ends with some old classical feeling music. The unevenness and the unpredictability of the score created some very out of place scenes and could’ve worked better with more cohesive music.

The Shallows proves that simplicity can be well-made, but the odd climax and terrible score keep this shark movie from achieving Jaws-level. Nevertheless, it’s still a summer blast and a great popcorn movie. It’s exactly what we would except from a Jaume Collet-Serra directed thriller and in that regard, it doesn’t disappoint one bit.

REVIEW: B

Review: The Conjuring 2 Is A Masterfully Crafted Emotional Ghost Story

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James Wan returns with a more experienced sequel to his 2013 blockbuster summer hit, The Conjuring

James Wan continues to prove he’s our generation’s John Carpenter and just like Carpenter, Wan knows how to make today’s generation feel uneasy and terrified.  Continuing like an anthology, The Conjuring 2 follows Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) as they investigate a haunting in Endfield, London.

Continue reading “Review: The Conjuring 2 Is A Masterfully Crafted Emotional Ghost Story”

Now You See Me 2 is a perfectly wrapped box of absurdity – REVIEW

A CGI fest show Now You See Me 2 has little to nothing to offer in this absurd sequel

The Step Up 3 director takes on the next instalment of the Now You See Me universe. The film stars Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo and Morgan Freeman. Now You See Me 2 picks up 1 year after the events of the first with the Four Horsemen having to basically do the exact same thing they did in the first one.

This movie does a have a high amount of nonsense just like the first movie, but it takes it to a whole other level. I could forgive the first one because it was a good popcorn movie and it wasn’t trying to be something else. Here, Now You See Me 2 tries to take its self too seriously and while some of it was entertaining, almost none of it was believable. The “magic tricks” are just CGI filled action scenes that don’t remotely show continuity.

Even with thrills and amusement, the action scenes feel too far fetch. The movie is reaching for stress filled moments and it does surprisingly succeed for the most part. However, they never feel grounded in reality and that makes a major problem. When you think about it one second, you realize that the whole premise doesn’t make any sense and therefore, what you are witnessing is but a big disappointing illusion.

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Mark Ruffalo as Dylan Rhodes

As for the characters, The Four Horsemen are just really not interesting. Everything they do is just so absurd that every time danger arrives, you’re not at all nervous. Most of it comes from the fact that they seem like super powered individual that have no real human characteristics. Lizzy Caplan’s Lula is the new addition to the Four Horsemen but the movie never gives you a reason to root for her. Most of her lines are terrible and the movie sets her up to be an annoying punch line sidekick. Speaking of annoying characters, Woody Harrelson’s twin is one of the most annoying character I’ve seen on film in while. The only characters that you get invested in are Mark Ruffalo’s Dylan and Morgan Freeman’s Thaddeus. They have a back story which makes the audience care about them and what may happen to them.

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3 Four Horsemen members

A mystery is only as good as its ending and by those standards Now You See Me 2 is in trouble. The movie finishes like a perfectly wrapped box where characters need explain to the audience how every magic trick was done. If a movie needs to explain its ending in details then chances are that it failed. Even after the explanation, the so-called “magic tricks” don’t make sense at all. Nothing in the movie makes sense and at the end of the film, the movie doesn’t feel cohesive.

Nonsensical and illogical, Now You See Me 2 ends up being a mindless movie trying so hard to be an intricate and complex thriller. I will give it this, some scenes, while being complete nonsense, did awaken some stress but that was quickly put back to rest by the next scenes. Even Mark Ruffalo nor Morgan Freeman can save this unbelievable mess and I doubt even hypnosis could make people say they enjoyed Now You See Me 2.

REVIEW: D+

Careful What You Wish For is a plain Lifetime-esque sexy thriller – REVIEW

The Nick Jonas Lifetime-esque thriller does not have neither the spark nor the surprise its searching for

Careful What You Wish For is a thriller directed by Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum and stars Nick Jonas, Isabelle Lucas and Dermot Mulroney. The story is about a young man who has an affair with his married sexy neighbour and from there on things happen…because it needs too.

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There only needs to be one word to describe this movie and it is – generic. Yes, Rosenbaum brings absolutely nothing new to the sexy thriller genre (if that is even a genre). You’ve seen it done before and surprisingly better. Heck, The Boy Next Door staring Jennifer Lopez was better and it was not even that good. The story has nothing going for it. The characters  are your cliché card board cut out thriller characters.

Isabelle Lucas does a really bad job of portraying the mysterious aspect of her character. Her performance is so boring and bad that you kind of feel for her at some points. The way her character has written has just a poor sexist female character. She does not have interests nor does she have anything else except being a cheating wife. From a movie stand point, there is nothing that will make you love her or even hate her. Nick Jonas does a better job but his character again is just so boring. There is nothing to his character to make him a character worth rooting for. On top of that, his character is so dumb and his dumbness drives the story. I hate when a characters stupidity is the driving force of the story. I feel like it is a sloppy way of advancing the story.

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Now, there is a twist to this movie. It it is that kind of twist that makes sense but is so predictable. I saw it coming from a mile away. I kept asking myself “are they really going to do this twist?” And of course they did! It was the most generic and common twist ever.

The thing that seemed so out-of-place was the forced symbolism. They made Isabelle Lucas’ character wear white clothing and I mean like excessive white clothing. After she does something which I will not spoil, she wears all black clothing. It was just so cliché and just so forced. Why would do that? Who thought it was a good idea?

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Careful What You Wish For is like a perfect white house with white walls and white furniture. There just is never that splash of colour it desperately needs. All they do is bring in more white furniture. There is never that creative direction so the movie follows its same old deja-vu path.

REVIEW: F