Killing Reagan (2016) (TV) Directed by Rod Lurie

This movie is a very welcome one about a piece of history that not a whole lot of people are familiar. Well, at least not into great detail, not in the least because some things were kept under the wraps, for the longest time. It's a pretty insightful movie, that never gets too heavy with anything, which at the same time is both positive and negative thing.

It's not really a movie in the classic sense. It's what, I always like to call, a telling of events. Almost more like a documentary, that gives you the facts, in a very straightforward and almost cold kind of fashion, without ever featuring much of a buildup or some true tension and drama. I see this both as a good and bad thing about this movie. It's good as a movie to learn from but quite weak as one to get truly taken in with. I however do feel that this is a sort of OK for this particular movie. After all, it's one that's made for the National Geographic Channel, so it has to be educative and it's about events that we already all know the outcome of, so what's the point of trying to create any tension and drama in the progress of telling its story? That's simply not the point. It's not a biopic or a big drama that's aiming for any Oscars. It's a movie that's there to educate you about a certain event(s) in history.

And I'll be honest, I rather watch a movie like this than a documentary about the very same subject. It's not that I hate watching documentaries but the idea of having to set through something that's narrated, filled with archive footage and a bunch of interviews with people is something that I can't get myself to watch and a reason why I really don't ever watch that many documentary movies to begin with. So for me personally these type of movies are perfect and I could imaging that it's perfect for big groups of other people as well, such as for instance students. I would rather want to learn from a movie like this than a text book or an 2 hour long documentary, if I still were a student.

Its style also ensures that it's not always the best movie to watch though. Like I said, it feels a bit like a cold and distant movie, which is not the most pleasant thing to have to sit through but also the directing itself feels too lacking at parts. I can't really put my finger on it. The movie feels too fast but at the same time also too slow. Perhaps it's because the movie its story isn't giving you much information, besides from the absolute necessities. The fast pace tells you that the movie is giving you a lot of information but the slow progress of the story actually provides you the opposite. It feels conflicting to watch but this is the case with basically every made for TV movie, that doesn't have to budget or other capabilities to do a whole lot more than just telling you a 'simple' story.

Thing that still really puts this movie above the average TV movie is the acting. Not only do the actors look pretty darn close to the people they are portraying, they also play their roles very well and convincingly. Tim Matheson and Cynthia Nixon truly carry- and make this movie, as Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

It was still odd though how this movie almost idolized its main protagonist. Ronald Reagan wasn't only portrayed as an ultimate good guy but even as almost an hero as well. It felt forced and besides unrealistic but I guess that's just how Americans look up to their presidents and how they want to see them portrayed as.

Not so great as a movie but pretty good as an interesting and insightful telling of events about a part of American history.


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Halloweed (2016) Directed by LazRael Lison

Maybe I'm just incredibly immature but I always really enjoy watching stoner comedies. They are never great movies but at least they are often fun to watch. Stupid but great fun nevertheless.

This movie is a very typical stoner movie, at least for the most part. As it title already suggest it's being a bit of a horror movie as well, though the horror/slasher elements really don't come into play once the movie halfway done already. It was also at that moment that the movie started to become a tad bit more formulaic and less enjoyable for me. I was really enjoying the movie its comedy and nonsensical story, with all of the crazy characters in it,until it decided to become a Halloween cash grab.

It's also weird really. I can really see how the first half of the movie could be enjoyed while being a bit high yourself (don't do drugs mmm'kay), while the second half of the movie is much harder and less fun to follow, since all of the sudden the story starts to become relevant and things get taken more seriously. Well, at least serious in the context of this movie. Of course it's far from a serious or even remotely realistic movie but simple fact remains that the two halves of the movie differ far too much from each other. I guess that the whole whodunnit aspect of the movie still could have worked out well for it, if only it got introduced earlier into the movie. Granted it does get introduced early on in the movie but it doesn't become a relevant plot line to the movie until it's mostly done already.

But yes, I'm definitely crazy since I still just can't call this movie a bad one. I enjoyed it far too much for that, despite of all of its flaws and weaknesses. It's stupid, it's crazy but it's all some quite well done stupidness and craziness and perhaps most importantly; it's a genuinely funny movie

Some of the actors look a bit too old for their part but that really doesn't stop the characters from all working out as some likable and greatly comedic ones. It's also fun to see actors such as Danny Trejo and Ray Wise show up in this, in some small bit parts.

Just some plain and simple good silly fun.


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Dead 7 (2016) Directed by Danny Roew

For the longest time I used to think that zombies and western would be the most perfect combination in movies imaginable. Now that I have actually seen a bunch of them I'm still waiting for the perfect zombie-western crossover but this movie yet again proofs that it's something that potentially could work out as something original and fun to watch.

It's not a typical western though. It's a modern one, which in this case means that it's set in present day. Just imaging "The Magnificent Seven" set in moderns times, with zombies thrown into the mix. Sounds crazy and ridicules and of course it is but why should you ever take any zombie movie serious in the first place?

Besides, it's a that's made by The Asylum, made for the SyFy channel, so you should know what you're in for. They absolutely never make the best type of movies but occasionally they still deliver something perfectly fun and good to watch.

And of course this is a far from impressive movie but at least it knows to entertain, which also is really worth something. It's a fast paced movie, with plenty of action in it, some fun characters and of course a whole bunch of zombies and blood and gore. Really, there is no reason for a zombie-lover to pass on this movie, though most of them probably still will. At first sight it really doesn't seem like anything special or a movie that's worth your time but once you do decide to watch it chances are you are really going to end up enjoy watching.

It's real easy to hate on- and make fun of a movie that's a cheap knockoff of "The Magnificent Seven" and stars a bunch of popular boy-band members from the '90's but there just is absolutely no denying to me that I had a great time watching this movie, although of course I'm going to sit up here claiming that it's an absolute must-see, that's without any faults but in some cases all a movie has to do is entertain.

It also quite honestly is a pretty well made movie, especially all things considering and when compared to most other SyFy channel movies. It obviously is a very low-budget movie but the movie is still pretty good looking, directing is tight and there is plenty of action and excitement, which all ensures that the movie never becomes boring. It has a very basic and straightforward story but thing I liked about it was how it was never wasting any time on trying to be anything that it wasn't. By that I mean that the movie never attempts to throw in any drama or try to explain everything into detail, in an attempt to make things more credible and realistic. More often than not this type of approach simply does not work out for short low-budget movies, that feature neither the resources or the actors in them to let these things work out.

And no, this movie also truly doesn't feature the best actors in it. Co-writer Nick Carter (yes, that Backstreet Boy) decided it would be a good idea to play the lead role as well, with as a result that he wrote his own character a bit too serious. He tries too hard to be the cool and cold action guy but can you blame him? Well yes, of course you can but I genuinely do believe that's how most of us would write ourselves as, when we get the opportunity to do a movie. He's also not the worst actor in the movie. What saves the actors is that they are all basically written as a bunch of big stereotypes, which in this case makes them fun to watch, though not all characters work out equally well.

This movie seriously is not half as bad is it might seem to you and it actually is a pretty decent and certainly entertaining one.


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The Possession Experiment (2016) Directed by Scott B. Hansen

Well, isn't this a shame. I'm not going to lie here, I was actually genuinely enjoying the first half of the movie. It was a pretty well done, all things considering. It felt fresh and original with both its approach and story, until the movie suddenly threw in a crazy and terrible twist, after which the movie never recovered and steadily only got more and more worse to watch.

I don't know how many horror movies and possession movies in particular I have ever watched but it has to be in the hundreds by now. It therefore gets more and more hard for me to come across a movie that does anything new and genuinely impresses me. This movie was well on its way, by featuring a very standard plot but an interesting and good approach to it. It for instant cleverly combined straightforward horror with the found footage sub-genre. Found footage actually can be a very effective something for a horror movie but the problem with it is that it's limited by far too many different limitations, which also makes it a very tiresome genre by now. If found footage wants to 'survive' in horror film-makers should pick the best aspects from it and put it into more conventional horror movies. It's OK for movies to feature found footage stuff to add to the atmosphere and throw in a couple of jump scares but I myself am pretty done with watching a shaking camera, a bunch of annoying characters, while for the longest time there is absolutely nothing happening in it. It's all buildup but too often very little payoff. I'm therefore glad that movies such as this one didn't decide to be a found footage flick, which could have been the cheapest and easiest thing to do perhaps but instead decides to use some found footage elements instead, while still being a more straightforward standard movie and conventional horror flick.

It was also handling things pretty effectively, by not featuring the standard bunch of characters and it also wasn't relying on jump scares but more on story and gore instead, which is not something that most possession/exorcist movies go for. The story also definitely wasn't anything too bad and it seemed to have some pretty interesting ideas in it, until it totally started to mess things up.

It doesn't even really feel like the first and second half belong together. As if the two got written and directed by totally different persons. Everything starts to go downhill once it's 'twist' gets introduced. The story, the horror, the characters, even the acting gets worse. I won't say that the movie becomes unbearably to watch but it does get pretty terrible. Luckily it's a very short movie, so the movie simply doesn't have enough time to ever become a truly horrendous one to watch.

In a way it also definitely remains a tad bit better and more watchable than the average, low- budget, genre attempt. The movie looks very professional, despite its still very obvious low-budget and the story flows pretty well. It doesn't stop for any jump-scares and it doesn't waste any time on any unnecessary buildup or on too many pointless side-plots that distract from its main story.

It's weird, I still really want to praise this movie for its excellent first half but ultimately I still just can't recommend this movie to anyone. It almost completely gets ruined but its awful second half and all of the nonsensical twists. The movie was perfectly fine as it was, until it decided to try and become more.


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Viking Legacy (2016) Directed by Tom Barker & Victor Mawer

As I often say; you shouldn't attempt to make big and historical movies if you don't have the proper budget for it but in this case the movie luckily seems to know its own limitations and it never attempts to be anything that it isn't.

Really, it's one of the most basic and straightforward genre movies you'll ever see, especially story-wise. A typical 'travel from point A to B' type of plot, in which something and/or someone has to be protected from a bunch of different villains, while occasionally running into some (small) action. It feels kind of weird how the movie isn't ever really putting its emphasis on the story or is trying to develop it and its characters into something truly interesting or original. It's as if the movie realized that it's story simply just wasn't its strong point. So what is its strong point? Well, nothing really, to be honest.

But the good news about the movie is that I personally never was bored with it. Perhaps it's true that it's simple too short to get bored by but it also definitely is true that there's always something happening on the screen. Since the characters are traveling the movie itself is constantly in motion as well and it never slows down for some distracting drama, stupid romance or silly side-plots, in its progress. And when it does it's simply too short and irrelevant to become much of a distraction really. I doubt all of this was done deliberately but it does help to make the movie a pretty pleasant one to watch, despite of all of its obvious limitations.

It's no big budget movie, so just don't expect any big, long and spectacular fight sequence, featuring tons of scruffy looking Vikings. There are some fight scenes but it's all some very basic and cheap looking stuff. There are also no big sets but I have to say that the movie still manages to do a pretty decent job creating a 'Viking world' and all of the props and costumes certainly look convincing.

The acting is questionable, the story basically non-existent (or at least not very relevant) and there's absolutely nothing spectacular or memorable about this movie but really, as far as these cheap genre movies go this one actually is not as terribly as you would might expect. It's just some simple, fast entertainment, that doesn't bores of ever becomes truly terrible to watch with any of its flaws or still obvious limitations. It's not a recommendable movie but it's certainly a watchable one, though most people are probably still going to have more fun making fun of it that actually genuinely enjoy anything that's happening on the screen.


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The Watcher (2016) Directed by Ryan Rothmaier

It's really starting to become apparent to me how much better TV movies are compared to most theatrical- and straight to DVD releases. Well, in the horror genre at least. It's as if TV movies have far more creativity in them and don't rely on most of the standard clichés or jump scares. And really, as weird as it might sound, the Lifetime channel is a the top of the game when it comes down to horror/thriller movies, that are made for TV.

Thing that this movie does particularly well is that it deliberately keeps you in the dark about things for as long as possible. Most of the time it won't even be clear to you whether you're watching a horror, a supernatural thriller, or just a plain good old fashioned thriller here. After having finished watching the movie I can't even really give you the answer to it since I myself am not too sure. It's especially the atmosphere, the slow buildup and the mystery of the story that makes this a pretty good movie to watch.

It's still far from perfect of course. It's true that the movie definitely could have been at least 15 minutes shorter and this likely would have made things a tad bit more exciting too watch. There isn't always an awful lot happening in it and the movie tends to repeat itself a bit after a while. It's only an hour and a half movie but it feels like a 2 hour long one instead. It's not that movie doesn't have a good pace to it (the pace helps to build up the movie its mystery and atmosphere) but it's never the most eventful movie, which remains a bit of a shame, since the movie itself still seemed to have plenty of good ideas and originality in it to make this an unique and great viewing. I guess it's true that the movie doesn't work out as well as it potentially could but it's also true that the movie still manages to do plenty of things well, which help to make this an above average genre attempt.

It's also still very obviously a made for TV movie though, which means it's not the bloodiest or scariest of movies, which should scare off some of the fans of the horror genre but to me it's still a bigger problem that the movie really does feel and look like a made for TV movie as well. The camera never does anything special and the editing feels too standard as well. It's obvious most scenes where shot with only just one camera present and the movie didn't cost an awful lot of money to make and had to be finished within a certain amount of time.

But really, the story and overall execution of it still makes up for this. It's all original and interesting to make this a pretty good little movie to watch, once you get the opportunity to see it.


USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage (2016) Directed by Mario Van Peebles

The story of the USS Indianapolis is a very intriguing and powerful one, as well as important from an historical perspective. It helped to change to course of the second world war but it's still mostly the story of what happened to the USS Indianapolis after it helped to change history that makes the story an absolutely fascinating and unique one. Therefore most important question is; does this movie do justice to history? The short answer is no.

It's definitely a bit of an odd film, that suffers from multiple problems but I believe that the main one is that it doesn't seem to known on which part of history it should put its emphasis and most focus on. The delivery of the atomic bomb? The sinking and struggle for survival? Or the whole aftermath of the naval disaster? Instead it decides to feature all three story-lines, crammed into a movie that's just over2 hours long. It's all a bit too much really and the movie never seems to take its time to tell the story properly, in order for it to ever work out as an edge-of-your-seat or powerful type of drama. All characters are incredibly bland, the performances weak (you know a movie is in trouble when the two lead roles are played by Nicolas Cage and Tom Sizemore) and all of the side-plots terribly boring and distracting from the main story. It shows you how flawed the writing is and how its possible for this movie with such a powerful concept to work out as an extremely flat and ultimately forgettable one. Just imaging Michael Bay's "Pearl Harbor", that's filled with weak dramatic clichés as well but still with the big difference that Bay's movie features a bunch of unrealistic and exaggerated drama in it, while this movie just merely features a bunch of bad- weak written drama and characters.

Thing that also makes "Pearl Harbor" a better movie (yes, I really said this) is that it's a far better looking movie. The CGI effects are all far from convincing, which distracts from the drama that's happening on the screen at times and the action feels and looks terribly cheap, almost as if you're watching an '90's TV-series episode. It also never feels or looks like the sailors are all alone out there in the water, in the middle of the Ocean surrounded by sharks. It looks like they are floating around in a hot pool, probably somewhere in sunny California, surrounded by some green screen, or just off the shore somewhere.

But again, the lacking writing also definitely has to do with this. You never get a sense of danger or urgency once the struggle for survival begins. Characters don't panic or ever behave in a very convincing or relatable kind of way. And no, it most definitely doesn't help that you barely get to know the characters or will be able to ever tell them apart from each other.

Style-wise I also really don't know what to make of this movie. On the one hand it's trying to be a respectful but on the other it's also still trying to be spectacular, with the action, pacing and dialog. It's not so much a problem that the movie makes some wrong choices. It's more of a problem that it doesn't seem to able to ever make any choices at all.

Let me just tell you that the 1 minute of actual footage at the end of the disaster and aftermath is far more powerful and impressive than anything else that ever happens during the 127 other minutes. That should tell you enough, I would think.


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Patient Seven (2016) Directed by Danny Draven, Paul Davis, Ómar Örn Hauksson, Dean Hewison, Joel Morgan, Johannes Persson, Nicholas Peterson, Erlingur Thoroddsen & Rasmus Wassberg

It's that time of the year again. October, which means that Halloween is right around the corner. It also means that we'll get a ton of new horror movies this month and unsurprisingly so of very mixed quality. Some great but most of them of absolutely abysmal quality. Uncreative cash-grabs that bring absolutely nothing new to the table. This movie falls in neither category though. It's some very average stuff that isn't doing an awful lot wrong but also unfortunately really isn't ever doing anything great.

Really the best news about this movie is that isn't doing anything awfully bad but that bad news is that it isn't doing enough to ever wow you with anything. It's almost as if the movie is deliberately holding back, in order to not go over-the-top or mess anything up. No real creativity, no real surprise, not much gore and blood. No, if you're a fan of the horror genre this movie really doesn't have a lot of awful new or exciting to offer you but it certainly is true that there are far worse movies out there, that feature a similar type of concept.

It's an horror anthology movie, which is something most horror movie fans absolutely love but it's also a genre that's never without its troubles. Certain clichés and problems are unavoidable when doing a horror anthology movie, that always consists out of bunch of individual told short stories. Usually none of the stories are connected and they often are too short to set up the right type of mood and story for a short horror tale. And that also really is the main problem with this movie. None of the different segments are terrible but they fail to make an impact. Every time that a segment finally seems to be heading into an interesting and good direction with things it suddenly ends, which too often feels like a real disappointment and missed opportunity. There further more are no good scares, never any real tension, no good characters. No, it most definitely isn't going to be something that you'll remember for a very long time, after watching it.

A good buildup is always essential to a good horror movie. A movie has to set up the right atmosphere and put the viewers on edge while watching in order for any of its scares to work out. This movie isn't ever doing any of that. It's just merely telling a bunch of stories that just happen to feature some typical horror clichés and characters in them. Haunting, serial killers, possessions, zombies, vampires. You name it, it's basically all present in this movie. It truly is a mixed bag of different sub-genres, which is something I give the movie credit for but at the same time I still can't praise, since it's never doing anything surprising or truly daring. And isn't it illegal anyway to feature 2 different zombie stories in the same anthology movie?

The movie has a pretty decent cast, with actors such as Amy Smart, Michael Ironside, Doug Jones and Alfie Allen showing up in it but in the end their roles are far too small to leave much of an impression. It's something that looks cool on a poster and in a trailer but that's a;; that can be said about it really.

Nothing too bad and there most definitely a far worse horror anthology movies out there (trust me, i'm an expert) but you're not really missing out on anything if you decide to skip it.


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Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders (2016) Directed by Rick Morales

Campy Batman is back, in this animated throwback to the '60's TV show. But not only just that. It even stars the voice talents of Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar, who all reprise their roles of Batman, Robin and Catwoman from the original series, this time in animated form.

In this day and age in which superhero movies seem to get more and more gritty and realistic it's actually quite refreshing to see a fun and lighthearted throwback to the good old early days of the genre, when it was OK for superhero movies/TV series to be silly and far from realistic, as long as it was entertaining.

The story really doesn't make much sense, characters are over-the-top but all this all is very deliberate and the movie actually is constantly adding fuel to the fire, by throwing in nonsensical twists, always in favor of the comedy and entertainment of the movie and less so to the story its credibility. Which is all fine, in this particular case! The movie creates a world, filled with visual gags and over-the-top craziness, in which things aren't meant to be taken too seriously and it more or less forces you to just sit back and let all of the craziness happen on the screen in front of you, without ever worrying or even thinking about the plot.

It's a very self aware movie, that's tongue-in-cheek and is constantly breaking the fourth wall. In many regards it's just like the '60's TV show, which aired from 1966 to 1968. Not just in terms of the campy humor and feel to it but also in the way how it progresses and presents its characters.

The movie wastes absolutely no time setting up or introducing the characters to you. And why should it? Surely, everybody knows Batman by now and the same could be said for characters such as Robin, Alfred, Commissioner Gordon and iconic villains such as The Joker, Catwoman, The Penguin and The Riddler. All classic characters you expect to show up really do show up in this movie. Even some of the smaller- and less familiar characters from the original show and Batman universe, which should definitely please the more hardcore fans, in a way that doesn't throw of anyone who isn't all that familiar with the original TV show and some of its lesser known characters.

Basically the movie feels like 2 different TV-series episodes wrapped up into one. The first half is all about Batman and the Boy Wonder battling The Joker,The Penguin, Catwoman and The Riddler (even in space!), while the second half is a bit more story-driven, without obviously ever turning into a very complicated movie. It's truly all about the entertainment and the movie definitely delivers in that regard.

Visually and animation-wise the movie's perhaps less colorful- and more realistic looking than you would expect but my guess is that they didn't wanted to scare off any viewers who are new to this alternate Batman and universe. It's doesn't really matter all that much though, since the movie itself still manages to capture the same sense and atmosphere as the classic TV show through its story as well as with its humor and entertainment. Just see at as a typical DC animated Batman movie, combined with the '60's humor and characters of the original Batman TV show.

And sure it's fun to hear Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar reprise their roles, from all those years ago. Their voices obviously suit their characters well, though I also have to admit that West and Newmar sound quite 'old' at times. It's never much of a distraction though, so it's also not a real complaint. Since again, it really doesn't matter all that much. The movie is meant to be a throwback the classic series, and what better way to do this than to feature the original voice talents. Really, it's amazing that even after nearly 50 years these people are still capable of reprising some classic superheroes, without it turning into a joke. The movie is respectful and faithful to its source material, even to the original actors that aren't alive anymore. Cesar Romero, Burgess Meredith and Frank Gorshin all died quite some years ago but their spirits and the characters they played live on in this movie. The animations definitely resemble their appearances very closely.

Fun to watch for fans of the '60's show as well as to the more casual viewer, who is looking for some simple straightforward and very light superhero entertainment.


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The Other Side of the Mirror (2016) Directed by Zach Hamer

This seems like one of those cheap and fast made movies made to cash in on the success of another big, upcoming Hollywood-release, in this case Tim Burton's "Alice Through the Looking Glass". But no, I can't even say that about this movie, since it doesn't even feel like a movie at all. It's more like a school-project, made by a bunch of high school students who's assignment was to create a movie based on the Lewis Carroll books, featuring their interpretations of the 'Alice themes', stories and metaphors used in them. The result is a jumbled mess, that can't be enjoyed or seen as even a real movie.

Things never flow well within this movie. mainly because it doesn't seem to follow a strong or even clear main story-line. It's basically just the one scene of the other and too often things don't feel connected at all. At times it's even as if someone put all of the scenes in the wrong order, causing the movie to feel messy and like an incredibly unpleasant one to have to watch.

Visaully the movie still looks OK enough (well, most of the time anyway) but it never manages to catch your attention with anything else. There is no good music, not good enough sound, flat acting, terrible characters and overall the movie both looks and feels far too empty. Empty with its themes and story as well as with its sets and settings. It's obvious that they had basically zero budget to spend, so the movie at all times is set in the most basic of locations, such as a forest and inside empty looking houses. There aren't any background props really and no good costumes or makeup. It's also a reason why this movie never really feels like a period piece, even though it's supposed to be set in 1905. Most of the clothing worn looks far too modern and it's silly to see a bunch of old cars driving around (they probably spend all of the movie its budget on renting those by the way) on modern day looking roads.

It's unclear to me what this movie was even trying to do and achieve. It isn't really bringing anything interesting or original to the table, compared to other Alice movies that are already out there. But also when viewed on its own, it really isn't doing anything thought-provoking, or perhaps I should rather say; it really isn't working out as such. The movie makes it incredibly hard for the viewers to ever connect to the story or any of its characters and it's never being entertaining to watch either. It's a weird, annoying, boring, meaningless movie that makes you want to watch the Tim Burton Alice movies instead. And I strongly dislike those movies...

Don't waste your time on this one.


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Kindergarten Cop 2 (2016) Directed by Don Michael Paul

What's the difference between Dolph Lundgren and Arnold Schwarzenegger? Well, the one's Swedish and the other Austrian. Other than that, they both have had similar acting careers and have played similar type of roles, in which their physic is more important than the delivery of their lines. Both are therefore also indefinitely better playing action roles than any other type of roles really, including some more comedic type of work. It hadn't stopped Schwarzenegger from trying though and now it's Lundgren's turn to step into his shoes and appear in this late sequel to the 1990 Schwarzenegger original. A sequel that no one ever asked for though...

It sounds like an insanely stupid idea- and there's no way anyone could have ever thought that this movie was going to be a great one, not even those involved with making it. In that regard this movie really isn't half as bad or stupid as you would most likely expect it to be. It definitely is true that there are far worse comedies out there and this movie never feels like a cringy experience, with a ton load of cheap and lame recycled jokes, involving a bunch of young kids and a bulky, tough as nails, undercover cop. The movie as it is remains a watchable enough one but that's just about the biggest compliment I can give it.

The biggest problem with it is that it doesn't seem to know what audience it wants to appeal to. For adults the movie is a far too simplistic and childish one but for young kids it at the same time still remains a too complicated- and a not funny/cute enough one. kids aren't going to like the romance and cop-story-line, while the adults most likely won't like the childish humor and simplistic story approach of the movie. It's true that the story isn't very relevant at all for the movie but it of course still relies on developments happening in it and helps to move the movie and its characters forward. Never in a too interesting or surprising direction though of course.

Strangely enough none of it is Lundgrun's fault. He actually does a pretty decent job handling the comedy and his dialog. Nothing Oscar-worthy of course but he manages to play a likable enough character, that besides isn't as over-the-top as it so easily could have been. His accent still sticks out like a sore thumb but the movie has a solution to that; pick a villain with an even bigger accent. It's cheap, lame and ridicules but it's just one of those Hollywood things. You apparently can't have a movie in which the 'hero' has the biggest foreign accent of all, without fearing that audiences will disconnect themselves from him and loose sympathy.

Lundgren is just about the only really character in the movie though. The kids for instance are barely characters and basically just a bunch of walking, screaming and jumping stereotypes, who don't act like any real kids ever would. It's weird how the movie pretty much ignores the kid characters but at the same time it's also a good thing. After all, kids -especially very young ones- just aren't the best actors around. They so easily can ruin the flow and humor of a comedy but I'm thankful they didn't in this case.

All things considering, things could have been a lot worse for this movie. It's redundant and not particularly good either but it at least is a watchable one, that never annoys and manages to still bring some simple, lighthearted, entertainment.


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The Wannabe (2015) Directed by Nick Sandow

"The Wannabe" is not a bad go at the gangster genre but ultimately it does fall short because of some bad story decisions and lacking characters.

It starts off promising enough and I also was quite liking the movie at first, when it seemed like it was going to be all about a lowlife and wannabe gangster, with an unhealthy obsession for the mob culture and mob boss John Gotti in particular. A kind of sad and interesting character study, that however never goes deep with anything or truly explains the main character's motivations. Where does his obsession come from? Why does he want to be a gangster so bad? All questions the movie basically ignores entirely, which is a disappointing aspect but hardly the thing within its story I had the most problems with.

Like I said, there still isn't all that much wrong with the first half of the movie but it's it second half I have more problems with. Once John Gotti gets convicted (and common, that's not a spoiler!) the main character and his girlfriend/wife, played by Vincent Piazza and Patricia Arquette, go on a crime-spree and suddenly start to turn into a sort of Bonny and Clyde type of characters. Still sounds good and interesting maybe but it's also at this point that the movie turns into a more cliché and typical modern gangster flick and everything that made the first half of the movie interesting gets abandoned. The drama, the story-developments, it all seemed less interesting to me once the characters became truly despicable ones, without much redeeming qualities.

You could say that the movie problem is that the main characters are not engaging enough. All of the character changes would have been fine, as long as we all could have been able to feel for them and understand their motivations. I don't believe that the writing is at fault but it's more due to Nick Sandow's inexperience and inability as a director to tell an engaging story, with an effective build up and great character handling in it.

I can also see how Martin Scorsese came involved with this and why he must have liked the story, which also got written by Nick Sandow, who's still better known as an actor. It in essence remains a good gangster story about the rise and fall of a 'nobody', set in an interesting time period in the intriguing and dark world of organized crime. I doesn't mean all that much though that Scorsese;s name is attached to this. I mean, it's not like he was involved with the production of it or ever was around the on the set or anything. It's just a seal of approval and evidence he saw potential in it, or thought it was an important movie to get produced. Don't know how pleased he was with the end result though.

It's still far from a terrible movie though. It's a well paced one, with still plenty of interesting story ideas in it, that sometimes do work out well for the movie. It perhaps could have done some more with the dramatic and romantic angles of the story but overall the movie is still doing a good enough job with all of it. Good enough anyway to ensure that this movie never suffers too much from any its flaws and weaknesses.

It also has some pretty good acting in it. It's not exactly another "True Romance" like performance or role from Patricia Arquette but it's still pretty impressive to see how convincingly she plays a woman who is much younger her own age. And Vincent Piazza maybe doesn't look right for the part, he does still give a pretty good performance and does the best he could with his character. Maybe it's also true that the movie could have used some stronger supporting characters in it. It certainly seemed to have all of the right actors already in the movie for it.

Far from the most perfect or most memorable genre movie you'll ever see but as far as these low-budget, 'wannabe' gangster movies go, this one really isn't all that bad and definitely worth giving a go once.


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A Very Murray Christmas (2015) Directed by Sofia Coppola

Bill Murray bringing you some Christmas joy, to get you into the season's spirit? Sounds like the most perfect thing in the world and while the movie is far from the perfect, it has some moments of greatness in it, though it's not going to be everybody's cup of tea to watch.

It's not really a movie but more of a Christmas special and Netflix exclusive that's under an hour short, in which a bunch of celebrities show up, starring either as themselves or some unnamed characters, that aren't all that relevant to the 'story' or point of the movie though. It's not necessarily the characters are all redundant ones in this movie but more because it's not really following much of a story in the first place. This both is a good and a bad thing.

For the first half Bill Murray is mostly trying to avoid everything Christmas related, as a sort of grumpy old Scrooge (ironaicaly Murray already played a modern Scrooge character in the 1988 movie "Scrooged"), while in the second half he's constantly busy getting everybody, including some complete strangers for him, into the Christmas spirit. It isn't making much sense once you really start thinking about it but it's the perfect opportunity for Bill Murray to show two different sides of himself, that he both handles very well. Of course he's perfect as the grumpy and complaining celebrity, while later on he's also given the opportunity to show some of his other comedic talents when he's interacting some more with other actors and the movie isn't so much just the 'Bill Murray show' anymore.

It's obvious that for most part of the movie, especially its first half, all of the actors are ad-libbing, while still following certain plot-points. This is when Bill Murray is at his best and most fun to watch, while all of the other actors are also doing a pretty decent job with it. This also is when the movie is the best and most fun to watch, while certain of its plot-points feel forced and not needed at all. It's as if they gave the director and actors a few pages of script, telling them they should improvise everything else around it on the spot, while on set. This works well for its comedy at times but it's a bit of a killer for its flow and the fragile storyline that it's trying to follow. Both Bill Murray and director Sofia Coppola probably felt comfortably doing this, since they pretty much did the same thing before 12 years ago when making "Lost in Translation" but perhaps it's the sort of thing that simply just works better for a full length movie rather than a short because of the simple reason that in a full length movie you have far more time and room to play around and to improvise certain scenes, while still be able to follow a tight script at the very same time.

Thing I personally also wasn't too fond of were the many, many different songs. I mean, the singing-acting ratio in this movie has to be somewhere around 80%-20%. It's just a bit too much for my taste and it's even somewhat annoying how toward the end every song gets followed by 15 seconds of dialog before the next song kicks in again. Sure, it's all still fun and good at times and it will certainly put some people into the Christmas spirit but it's just that I was liking the movie so much better when it was just Bill Murray and friends, dialog, improvisation and fun random cameos.

It's all good and fun to watch if you're a fan of Bill Murray and like to see actors fool around and ad-lib together but is it a perfect comedy or the ultimate Christmas special that's going to put you into the holiday spirit and one that you can watch year, after year, after year? In my opinion it's really not. It's fun to watch once and it's definitely also a good short to watch but I doubt I'll be ever seeing it again, or will be singing any Christmas songs for the next fews days.

Ohh and for those worrying; Yes, Miley Cyrus is in the movie but she actually is one of the highlights in it, surprisingly enough!


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