Of It Follows (Movie Review)

When I first saw the trailer for It Follows I thought, “STDs! The horror film!”

It looked like every other horror film out there, pretty girl, vicious monster, and some sort of torment. But then when the film came out it was getting praised by film critics and bloggers. And even the trolls of the Internet were all like, “YES! This is the best horror film in a decade. Huzzah!” Currently on Rotten Tomatoes the critics have given the film a score of 96%. For a horror film, that’s insane. It Follows has a higher score than most Oscar nominated films. It has a higher score than The Avengers, Forrest Gump, The Dark Knight,  A Single Man, Despicable Me, and Guardians of the Galaxy. #ridiculous

So naturally my curiosity peaked, what about this indie horror flick has everyone talking? But when I left the theater, I was baffled, baffled as to why the Internet is in love with this thing.

On a scale from 1-5 I’d give this film a 2. I would’ve given it a 3 but it literally has the worst film score of all time. The music is repetitive and I swear it was made on a cheap 66-key keyboard like the one Ross played on F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

The dialogue was also terrible with weird pauses in the conversations, but it was really the music that killed me. It all sounded like this:

  • Boom
  • Silence
  • Boom
  • Synthesizers
  • Boom
  • Boom
  • Louder Synthesizers
  • Boom
  • Boom
  • Annoying loud Synthesizers and Strings
  • Silence

There will be spoilers up ahead, so if your heart was set on watching this movie you may want to look away now.

The overall idea of the film was good, a shape shifting demon-like thing is going to be constantly walking straight at you until you pass it on by having sex with someone else. But, if whoever you pass it onto gets killed by said mysterious thing it’ll start in your direction again. Cool, I can accept that as a plausible horror film story line, I can even accept that as a marginally original idea for a horror film, but I can’t accept that anyone would ever get caught by this thing – it moves crazy slow.

Seriously, it’s so slow that when it was in the kitchen with the main girl, she was able to stand there panicking for a good minute as it inched towards her before she finally decided to run. And where does she run? Upstairs! Idiot.

Realistically this thing shouldn’t even be around anymore, considering that there had to have been a 1st person that it followed at some point in time. Within the first 3 people, 5 tops, it should’ve gone down the line and killed them all. Unless everyone happened to be promiscuous and it couldn’t keep up with the sexcapades. But even then, how did the first person know about it? Were they cursed by someone and promptly informed?

I will give the film makers credit in that they accomplished their goal of slow anticipation. But once the initial shock wore off the anticipation became annoying. Over half the movie is of them driving away from the thing and then hanging out until it catches up to them. Personally, if I knew that a mysterious thing was following me. If I knew it was trying to kill me. And if I knew that it was always walking the speed of a snail. Then I would drive further than 30 minutes away. Shoot, I would drive to the airport, hop on a plane, and spend some time in Europe. It’s gonna take a long time for it to get across the Pacific Ocean.

I would also try to discover the origins of the thing to see if I could end the curse. Even if I wasn’t successful, at least I tried. These kids didn’t do anything, they just kept running away and then came up with the worst plan of all time.

But here’s the quick list of what’s wrong with the film:

  • The main girl has no respect for her cast whatsoever and goes swimming with it. Yes, I get that she’s being followed … but still.
  • Am I supposed to believe that if a girl with a broken arm swam up to three dudes hanging out on a boat that one of them would sleep with her? What about the other two? Are they watching? Did they jump in the water?
  • They know they can’t kill it with a gun, but they still keep trying to shoot it.
  • They take all this time to set up an elaborate scheme to electrocute it to death, and they don’t even turn on the power because they think it left the pool. But it couldn’t have gone anywhere since it’s clearly corporeal due to the fact that they can touch it. And it’s supposed to be walking everywhere, which implies that it can’t teleport itself out of there. Furthermore, electrocuting it obviously wouldn’t work considering a bullet to the head didn’t take it down.
  • The first guy that she sleeps with after she gets the curse clearly didn’t believe her that it was a STD-like thing, so he was just using her to get laid.
  • Why is it almost always naked?
  • It brutally mutated the girl in the opening shot and it went straight for the throat of the guy she slept with. So naturally when it approaches the main girl from behind it just lifts up her hair instead of snapping her neck.
  • Why was it peeing itself in the kitchen? That was gross.
  • What time period is this?! They use home phones and dress 70s, but one of the characters has this shell touch screen electronic reader thing that she’s constantly staring at.

 

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Of The “Not So” Great Gatsby

He put into words exactly how I feel when I read most classic literature. Plus, the review of the famous novel is quite entertaining.
Enjoy!

brainsnorts inc.

gatsby-original-cover-artEither late in high school or early in college, I was ordered to read The Great Gatsby. I regarded it as the most boring thing I had ever picked up. However, roughly 20 years later, I decided that it may have been me who was boring, so I decided – through the recommendation of others – that I should read it again because I, as an adult, would now be in a better frame of mind to appreciate the literary genius of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Nope.

Why is it that so many writers, and especially so many writing teachers, are quick to proclaim The Great Gatsby as one of the greatest novels ever written? Shortly after its publication, H.L. Mencken – a rather significant writer and journalist – referred to The Great Gatsby as just a “glorified anecdote,” and I completely agree. It’s a worthless and boring piece of…

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Of The Host (Movie Review)

The Host Movie Poster

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I watched the latest Stephenie Meyer teenage-hormonal-angst movie, The Host, mostly because it was the next movie to start when I was at the theater.

To put it simply, it wasn’t good, granted not the worst movie of all time, but I’m defiantly not interested in watching it again. Some parts felt like a western, others syfy, romance, bad puns, unintended comedy, action, and of course drama. The concept was just bizarre – I’ll sum it up for you:

Four personalities, Three bodies, Two romances, One messed up planet.

*Spoiler alert*

Basically these aliens, with shiny circles around their pupils, invade planets and fix them. They are peaceful, non-violent, can’t stand the thought of killing a soul, and don’t lie. But somehow they don’t have a problem taking over human bodies, even though this would require them to kick out someone’s soul. Seems a wee bit hypocritical to me.

So this alien named Wanderer gets put into the body of a rebellious human named Melanie. Only Melanie’s a fighter so she’s like, “Hold up! I’m not going away that easily. Here’s some painful memories. Here’s some sexy memories. Here’s why you should help me.”  It was quite comical watching the actress (Saoirse Ronan) argue with herself.

Eventually Wanderer does as Melanie desires, but not before pissing off the Seeker (Diane Kruger). The Seeker is highly obsessed with finding and taking over the remaining human’s. Whom she believes she’ll be able to locate when she finds Wanderer.

So Wanderer ends up walking through the desert and is found by Melanie’s uncle (William Hurt), boyfriend Jared (Max Irons), and a bunch of other people.

This is where it gets ridiculous. The remaining humans live in these majestic caves located in the desert. Beautiful tunnels, a river flowing through, a wheat field, and large rooms house all these people. And how did they end up there? The uncle fell in. Seriously? Can’t think of any more creative or realistic reason? Like maybe they built it, or they stayed in an old mining cave?

Wanderer (now called Wanda) falls in love with a guy named Ian (Jake Abel). Melanie doesn’t like this.

Eventually people figure out that a human’s soul can stay alive in a possessed body. And Wanderer teaches them how to extract alien souls from bodies without killing the human. Then Wanderer tries to give Melanie her body back and everyone protests. Yeah, protests, which is absurd  Even Melanie is all, “no, you can’t die Wanda! I love you sister.” So I guess Melanie is okay with sharing her body at this point. All the while, the Seeker is hunting them down.

Don’t worry, the ending is clean and simple – but it’s happy. I’ll let you go ahead and figure out what happens, that is, if you haven’t already solved the puzzle.

But if I were you, I wouldn’t watch it. Anyways, here’s the trailer:

Of the X Factor Auditions (TV Review)

X Factor Judges

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Britney Spears is a judge on the X Factor, and because I’m a crazy super fan, this meant that I would actually consider watching the program. I’m pleased to report that she is an honest and critical judge – even the haters can’t argue that. I was expecting the auditions to feel like American Idol, considering that it’s a similar concept (find the next American – better yet, GLOBAL – superstar) with Simon Cowell on the panel. I was wrong, very wrong.

I’ve always felt that the intention behind the American Idol auditions were to make fun of people. They weren’t concerned in their editing to showcase the talented individuals. They wanted crazies, ugly, and terrible singers who genuinely believed that they had talent. I always felt bad for the people auditioning and would wait until the top twelve were chosen to start watching the program. I hate witnessing people embarrass themselves – especially on a national level. It makes me uncomfortable.

Based off the two episodes of the X Factor that I’ve watched I can already tell I like this program better. Instead of trying to make me laugh at bad people, whoever is in charge of editing the program clearly has one goal – pull at your heart. The past few hours of my life I’ve smiled, felt immensely creeped out, laughed, sat in suspense, and cried. My emotions were a whirlwind of chaos as I learned of people’s life stories and watched them either succeed or fail. What I like so far about the X Factor is that they have been able to fairly balance the great and the terrible.

Plus, there’s an element of human interest (that’s how they attack your heart), and they don’t cheat by showing home footage to let me know that someone made it before they audition. Sometimes I’ll really like the person, want them to do well, but they can’t sing. Others are awful human beings who can sing. And when they are likable and can sing, it’s like magic, and I cry all over again.

Warning, spoilers. There’s the girl who was bullied intensely and delivered a powerhouse performance that inspired Demi Lovato to stand up and give her a hug, a man who once sang a duet with Britney in 1999 but failed in such a way that made my mouth drop open and tears fall (again), the little girl who sang like a jazz singer from the 50s, several girls who blatantly thought they were the most talented person to ever exist (some succeeded, some failed), and an unbelievably creepy guy who brought Britney flowers and butchered one of her songs.

I like the show, I didn’t think that I would get sucked into it, but it’s too late – I’m invested. Any show that can make me cry and laugh multiple times per an hour, in my opinion, is worth watching. And I’m a very devoted fan. Britney may have been the reason I bothered to check the X Factor out, but she’s not the only reason I’ll be watching the show.

Of PTX, Vol. 1 by Pentatonix (Music Review)

Pentatonix

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The first EP entitled PTX, Vol. 1 by the a capella group Pentatonix is officially out. Go buy it! All of you, its sheer genius.

WARNING: these singers will make you feel extremely untalented (but in a good way).

I pre-ordered this album weeks ago and was incredibly thrilled to see it had automatically downloaded into my iTunes (no waiting, excellent). When I watched this group on NBC’s The Sing Off last season they stood out in a way that no a capella group ever has, and trust me I’m an a capella nerd. They were modern, attractive, seemed genuinely nice, and have every possibility of creating a buzz that will make them well-known in the mainstream market.

Here’s what makes them so special, they break the boundaries. They come up with unique arrangements, can pull of vocal dub-step/techno as well as pop, r&b, hip-hop, and virtually whatever genre they feel like singing, but most of all each of their band mates has equal importance. Most the time when watching an a capella group perform there is the clear star, everyone else seems to fade into the background while they get all the attention and praise. With Pentatonix everyone shines at all times, they are a team that works together. Plus their bass and beatboxer (who also gets props for knowing how to play the cello) are crazy awesome.

When I started listening to the EP I thought, this is so epic! Followed shortly by, how do they get their voices to do that? And from that point on this album is all I’ve listened to. To give you a taste of this brilliant group I’ve posted their first music video below, which also happens to be the first track on PTX, Vol. 1:

The rest of the EP is up to the same caliber of technical quality regarding their arrangement as well as entertainment. My only complaint is that it’s only seven songs long. When they release a full length album I’ll be giddy as hell, like a kid at Christmas, unable to sleep the night before from the excitement.

Trust me, you need this album in your life.

Of The Cabin in the Woods (Movie Review)

Cabin in the Woods Movie Poster

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It’s no secret that I’m a huge Whedonhead. The man is incredibly talented and has a knack for taking things and turning them on their head, bending them like a Gumby doll, and producing something awesome. He’s quoted as saying that his stories come from a place of why. With Buffy it was why does this girl always get killed off? With Cabin it came down to why do I love these movies and why do they always follow this certain pattern? To watch that interview click here.

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Go watch this! Two thumbs up. Five stars. Etc. Etc.

I’ve already seen it twice.

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The challenge with writing a review on this masterpiece will be avoiding spoilers. So I’m going to do my best to avoid saying anything about the plot, which as I said, will be challenging. But I’m not telling the details because it’s really the type of movie that you should go into with as little knowledge as possible about beforehand.  I also will say that if you arrive at the theater and the movie is already going, WAIT till the next show, trust me – even the first 30 seconds are essential.

The movie expertly balances horror and comedy often at the same time – a signature quality in Whedon’s work. The plot slowly unravels itself and doesn’t spell anything out for the audience. We get thrown into the middle of this world, much as the kids in the cabin are. The difference being that we get to see both sides of the spectrum.

Everything and what you think is to happen probably won’t happen, or if it does, something else will occur to destroy that particular horror film trope. In fact, expect this to be first horror in years that keeps you guessing. Ultimately it all leads to an epic explosion of chaos and awesomeness.

That being said, if you prefer stupid horror films filled with blood and guts (which, by the way, there is plenty of in this film), where there is an unnecessary rape scene, pointless jump scares, highly unlikable characters, and requires no thinking or frankly intelligence. Then you probably won’t this movie. However, for the people who enjoy intellectual comedy and horror at it’s finest, where everything has a purpose, and the characters are lovable (even the bad ones). Then you will LOVE this movie.

I love this movie. I love that Whedon and Drew Goddard (co-writer and director) trust the audience to be smart enough to understand the premise, characters, plot, and so on. I love that it pays tribute to the classics from the 70s but also teases what horror film have become.

And yes, I never mentioned what the story is about. But that was intentional, the trailer already borderline says too much and advertises the film as pure horror when in reality there is a lot of comedy thrown in the mix.

I’ll tell you this: a group of kids go to a cabin, bad things happen, but not exactly what you would expect.

Of Contraband (Movie Review)

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I’m always told I should write reviews. I did once for The Muppets, I guess now I’ll write one for Contraband. Note: this will not be an intellectual review.

I’d give this movie a 2.56 out of 10 – it drove me crazy, and here’s why:

EVERYONE WAS MEAN FOR NO REASON! Honestly, the only two characters with a shred of humanity were the children and even they were stupid and freakishly comfortable after having a gun nearly blow off their faces. I don’t mind mean people in movies/TV, in fact, we need them to create interesting conflict. But there needs to be a reason, there needs to be a balance between jerks and good guys to some degree.

There’s not really anything about this movie that’s unique. Basically Mark Wahlberg used to be a smuggler (apparently he was the best at it) and his brother-in-law, Andy (Caleb Landry Jones), is having issues with a drug lord, Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi). Cue the story of thieving and an abundance of violence.

If you really want to see this movie then don’t read the paragraph below (I promise I won’t be too detailed):

In this world everything is high money and unnecessarily angry –  so naturally that means answering the door with a gun when your daughter is sitting there watching TV, not calling the cops when someone tries to kill you, bribing the angry Panama gang leader, Gonzalo (Diego Luna), by offering to be a part of ANOTHER crime which you really don’t have time to do cause the boat could leave without you making the whole situation pointless plus, killing your family.

There was one character who I thought, at least he’s nice, he was helping out the “goody guys” (as if there were any). But he ended up being the biggest jerk of all! Worse than the guy that nearly killed the children. Honestly, I was so distracted by how mean everyone was, how there was absolutely no regard for humanity, how everyone (except Wahlberg) was so rash and cold, that I lost interest in the thin plot. At one point I got up to walk around for five minutes just to take a break from all the anger.

I did LOVE the song at the end of the movie – it’s a catchy little bluesy ditty.

Except in the movie the song was a really nice cover by Big Head Todd and The Monsters

Of The Muppets (Movie Review)

The Muppets Movie Poster 2011

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The Muppets is without question my favorite movie of the year. Jason Segel wrote it, Bret Mckenzie (Flight of the Conchords) did the music, and it stars the Muppets – a great combination.

It’s perfect, the perfect movie.

Segel did a fine job at handling Jim Henson’s legacy. The Muppets was true to the original and was absolutely wonderful, even daring to go deeper into their characters, i.e. showing what a terrible boyfriend Kermit was to Miss Piggy. And the new Muppet, Walter, which many were concerned would pull away from Henson’s vision, was adorable and a fun new addition to the cast.

Watching this movie will make even the gayest lady want to have Segels broad-shouldered babies, and the straightest man wish that he could. I challenge you to enjoy this masterpiece and not fall in love with him.

The plot is simple enough (got to save the theater from being torn down), but the real driving force behind the Muppets has always been the lovable characters. Their quirky jokes and sense of “together we can do anything, we’re stronger together,” put a smile on my face that never went away, not once. Plus, I literally clapped four times when watching the movie (as did everyone else in the theater). They used the “hey this is a movie” device to their advantage with comments such as:

“This is going to be a very short movie.”

“You guys are the Muppets, you do this stuff to music.”

“How about for the rest of this we use a montage.”

“I wanna stay with you, I mean, I just sang a whole song about it.”

“Sorry, must have been the dance number I was doing outside.”

I can’t remember the last time I left a movie so happy. It’s pure joy, and as far as I’m concerned, to hate the Muppets is to hate joy.