Archive for January, 2015

Why do they think they call it a numb-bug? It’ll go away in a few hours, but you can go away now.

Year Released : 2014AlienOutpost_poster
Director : Jabbar Raisani
Cast : Adrian Paul, Reiley McClendon, Rick Ravanello, Douglas Tait, Matthew Holmes and Brandon Auret

Sometimes you watch a film that leaves you breathless. You have just spent 90 or so minutes watching one of the most visually stunning and engrossing movies with characters that grow to love. These are the films where you want to watch it over and over again and the best thing is that more often than not, they are the films where you want to watch them over and over and over again because you don’t want to miss anything.

This is not one of those films!

I have films that waste my time. There are a few films that I have reviewed on here in the past that fall into this category because they are so stupid, dull or anything of a similar nature and this falls into the same category as Frank, Zombie Apocalypse, The Proposition and the ultimate time-waster of a film, “Night of the Living Dead : Resurrection

This film does very little to actually try and entertain you, or even be clever. At least some of the aforementioned had the ambition behind, such as Frank. I absolutely hated Frank, couldn’t stand it, but at least it tried to be ambitious.

Infact, I would actually go as far as to say that this is actually a propaganda style film to try and encourage American kids to join their army when they grow up.

Plot

In 2021 aliens attack Earth and kill most of the world’s population but they eventually find a way to hold the aliens at bay. Several aliens have been trapped on Earth and therefore outposts are set up in various places around the globe just incase they decide to attack. In 2033, twelve years after the attack, a camera crew follows an American outpost in Pakistan that are fighting the aliens.

Whilst fighting off violent locals, strange events start occurring, including goats having their throats cut in the middle of the night. Whilst investigating this, North (Holmes) is kidnapped by the aliens, the first event of it’s nature.

Soon after attacks increase and the group find themselves struggling to stay alive as more and more aliens converge on their position.

AlienOutpost_2

Pure and unadulterated rubbish

This. Was. Shit!

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film with the word “alien in the title” with so little footage of aliens in the film. I write notes as I’m watching the film and sometimes full sentences/paragraphs and at the time of writing this one I am 63 minutes into a 92 minute film and guess what the cumulative time of aliens being on the screen is…….a whopping 27 seconds. Even in places where there is a perfect opportunity to have aliens, there isn’t.

In the first battle you don’t see what they’re firing at other than a random blur in the distance. Takes out any real tension, especially towards the end of that battle when it shows that they aren’t actually fighting aliens as an Asian man jumps over the wall and is quickly shot down. Don’t me wrong, films with a theme involving aliens don’t necessarily require aliens appearing on a regular basis to be interesting as the rest of the plot makes up for it.

One of my favourite films about aliens in recent years was Peter Jackson’s “District 9” and the “prawns” in that don’t actually appear that much. The story is driving by an excellent performance by Sharlto Copley as Wikus” and he’s fear as he starts turning into a “prawn” drives that film forward. Another example is “Monsters”, a film where you don’t see the aliens until pretty much the final 10 minutes.

If done correctly, you don’t need to overload us with sightings of the aliens, you really don’t, but this film fails miserably. Not a single one of the characters is developed properly. The interview segments are supposedly to let you see the soldiers in a more human context, but it fails miserably. One character’s development stops and ends with him saying that his misses his mother’s cooking.

A character dies in the first battle but you don’t care because you know sod all about that character. Infact, at the time of writing this sentence I am 47 minutes into the film and whilst I know one fact about most of the characters, simply knowing a fact isn’t even to get me emotionally involved in the story.

If this isn’t a film designed to get kids interested in going to war for the US then I’d be amazed. It does everything in it’s power to try and give the impression the America are the ultimate heroes, right from every character in the army that it follows being like a superhero, and the incredibly racist stereotype of virtually every single one of the Asians that appears in the film being a violent, uncaring person that only wants to kill Americans. It even has a kid exploding the style of a suicide-bomber.

This isn’t the only example of a non-American character killing others though as later on in the film a character called Saleem gets his mind taken over by the aliens and he starts killing people on the base. So in the first hour of the film there are three people who kill other human characters, and all of the characters that kill someone are Asian. Don’t get me wrong, the Americans are hardly likely to kill each other.

There is precisely zero mention of any other country putting up a fight against the aliens. The film leads you to believe that it is literally only America that are fighting, with a few soldiers who have joined the American army from around the world. Am I really supposed to believe that America would be the only country in the world that would give enough of a shit about what happened to set up a defensive network? No. Just no!

maxresdefault

For me one of the biggest crimes is that the film is just exceptionally dull. It wasn’t even a short term thing or something I only noticed late on, but even just 14 minutes in I was wanting this film to end, and that was with nearly 80 minutes still to go. You shouldn’t want a film to end when it’s not even 1/6 of the way through, you really shouldn’t.

I was just bored to tears. Documentary style films don’t have to be boring, for example, one of my favourite documentary style films is the Eugene Levy spoof “Best in Show” and that does it perfectly because even though it’s about a dog show (similar to Crufts), it’s done in such a way that it actually makes it interesting, even taking out the comedy. Even in the main battle at the end it continues the trend from earlier in the film where it doesn’t show you what they’re shooting at. They could be shooting at a bunch of kittens for all we know. The aliens rarely appear even in this part of the film.

I’m not sure which I ended up caring less about, the aliens of the humans, I couldn’t care less if every single one of them died. The aliens weren’t really intimidating or awe-inspiring, and the humans were about as far from interesting as Patrick Stewart is from being described as “hairy”. The aliens don’t even look realistic, or even slightly intimidating. In many ways they just look like they’ve gone down to the local gym, got the guys with the biggest muscles there, put a bit of make up on them, as well as one or two minor prosthetics and just said “walk towards them”,

There is also the bizarre trailer that loses all credibility within seconds of the film start. The trailer clearly says that the film is set in 2031, but within seconds of the film starting it says it’s 2033. How can I take a film seriously where they can’t even get the trailer to match up with the actual film in the basic terms?

Summary

This should really have been called “The American Army : The Movie”. It has all kinds of racist stereotypes about non-Americans in the film and it is quite tedious to watch it try and give the message “America Good, Everything Else Bad!”

My biggest problem with the film however is that it is just dull as hell. It’s 92 minutes long and so little actually happens and when it does, it doesn’t last long and is too little, too late. It tries to develop characters to a point where you care but it fails miserably.

Don’t waste your time.

A quick update

Posted: January 28, 2015 in Blog
Tags: , ,

Hello all,

I trust everything is well with everyone?

After receiving a few emails asking why reviews have suddenly stopped appearing on a regular basis I just wanted to address this properly.

When I started this site several months ago I was working nights and had long spells where (up to 9 hours a night) where I was just waiting for calls to come through that never did, therefore I was sometimes able to get through two films a night and review them, at one point I even managed to write at least one review every day for ten days in a row.

In December, I got offered a new job back in Lincoln, the city where I grew up, and I jumped at the chance. I had a month to wait due to security checks but after nearly 3 hours of not living in Lincoln, I spent most of my time catching up with my friends and seeing a few films at the cinema. I also have a few commitments, such as filming and editing the highlights of games involved the Blackburn Hawks Ice Hockey Team, so my spare time hasn’t actually really allowed me to write new reviews on a regular basis.

I am now going to commit more time to this site and tried to have at least two new reviews every week, and also every Sunday (hopefully) I will be writing a blog style entry about something related to films. This could be something as simple as talking about a new film being released and how excited I am about it (or vice versa), a top 10 list of some variety or anything of a similar nature. I’m sure you get the idea.

Anyway, I hope all of the above made sense and you appreciate why reviews haven’t been coming as regularly as before. I have also set up a Facebook page that will automatically feed any new reviews into your Facebook news feed, it can be found here – https://www.facebook.com/sorryneverheardofit?ref=bookmarks

Kate

I’ll bet you’re wondering why I asked you here in the middle of the night. I have a favour to ask of you, Steve, something that will be our little secret. You up to it?

Year Released : 1995MPW-39407
Director : Kelly Makin
Cast : Matt Frewer, Jeremy Renner, Valerie Mahaffey, Rob Moore, Eric Edwards, Kevin McDonald and Fiona Lowei

The most dangerous films to watch are those that you loved when you were younger but haven’t watched in years and you are left asking yourself “Why did I ever like this?” That’s one of the reasons why I have left reviewing this film until now.

Cast your minds back to 1995, O.J Simpson goes on trial for murder, Manchester United fail to win the Premier League for the first time, a sheep is controversially cloned and films such as “Braveheart” and “The Usual Suspects” are released. For me, it was the start of my final year at primary school as I turn 11 and during that year I also saw a comedy which I loved called “National Lampoon’s Senior Trip”.

I haven’t covered comedies on this site too often, infact, just twice have I wrote about films that are outright comedy, and one of those was the monstrosity that was “Frank”, but I decided to add to that small collection given I have recently struggled to find films that aren’t well known that I would be interested in watching. The film is now most famous for being the on-screen debut of Jeremy Renner, who has since gone on to achieve success in films such as “28 Days Later”, “The Hurt Locker”, and the Marvel film franchise.

Plot

Whilst in a class detention for throwing a party at the house of Principle Moss (Frewer), a group of students express their discontent at the education system and they are encouraged to write a letter to the President about their thoughts on improving it. Much to the surprise of everyone involved, the letter is taken seriously and they are asked to travel to Washington to speak in front of the senate.

Everything seems to be going as planned until their bus driver overdoses and dies. Suddenly the the troublesome students, lead by Mark (Jenner) and Reggie (Moore), have to make their own way to American’s capital and as well as avoiding a Star Trek obsessed loner (McDonald) who is bent on revenge on Reggie after being offended.

The mischief continues when they arrive in the capital before realising that the senator has decided to use the letter and the presentation by the students as a way to embarrass the President and strengthen his own campaign for the next election.

Renner-in-Senior-Trip-jeremy-renner-26517702-853-480

So does it still work?

I can’t actually recall the last time I watched the film, but I’m pretty certain I can guarantee that it was when I was a teenager, so I decided to wipe my mind of the film and what happens and treat it like it was the first time I was watching it. This way I could give a very objective review and not base it on something I haven’t watched for at least ten years.

I’m not going to lie, I was sat here expecting to really not like the film and question why I ever liked it, much like I mentioned earlier, but I did actually enjoy it for the most part. I’m not going to sit here and lie by saying that it’s the best film ever or anything close. It’s not as fun as a lot of other films set with characters in their teens, especially compared to those from the 1980s, such as Bill and Ted, but either way it is still better than anything of a similar nature that you get these days.

One thing that modern day films set in schools suffer with is that they very rarely give the roles to actors that are around that age. Sometimes it works and others it doesn’t, and in this it doesn’t. The actors are clearly at least several years into adulthood and it doesn’t make it convincing. Whilst the actors and actresses in NLST are older than high school age, they have at least tried. Here is a breakdown of some of the students and the age of the actor/actress portraying that character.

Mark D’Agostino – Played by Jeremy Renner – 24

Carla Morgan – Played by Tara Charendoff – 22

Meg Smith – Played by Nicole De Boer – 25

Steve Nisser – Played by Sergio Di Zio – 23

Lisa Perkins – Played by Fiona Loewi – 20

Barry Kemmer – Played by Danny Smith – 22

renner-in-senior-trip-jeremy-renner-26518074-853-480

I will give them credit for not using actors who closing in on 30, or are indeed above, it’s refreshing to see them use actors that could pass for being younger than they are, and even Nicole De Boer (who was also in the recently reviewed “Cube”, as was fellow NLST cast member, Wayne Robson) looks like a school student, that despite being 25. At least they’ve actually tried rather than just going out and finding any actor or actress willing to just take a pay day despite their unsuitability for the role.

There were also moments early on that made me laugh, even though it’s nearly 20 years since I initially saw the film, such as a very mild-mannered older teacher telling the students to calm down in the middle of a rave in a tone like he’s in a library, an elderly secretary’s exceptionally delayed reactions, a typing teacher having a heart-attach and Barry typing out exactly what noises are being made rather than trying to help and many other similar moments.

In the early parts it does what comedies should do, it doesn’t make things funny through slapstick, but rather relatively well thought jokes and I was genuinely surprised that I still found it funny.

My main criticism of the film comes from most of the characters being a stereotype of some variety, there are no “normal” people whatsoever and each of the characters and events do become somewhat predictable. Characters such as Carla and Steve are exceptionally one dimensional and even though they’re not major characters,

398_1103

Whilst there were some jokes that did make me laugh, there were others where it seemed like they were just saying stupid things for the sake of saying stupid things. For example, at one point Mark is asking Barry what his opinion is on a girl that he likes and after a few minutes and another student butting in, this following conversation takes place, this is word for word;

Miosky: I wanna do a Jap.
Barry : Hey! How about Carla Morgan? I hear she’s half Jewish!
Miosky: Not that kind of Jap. A real Jap from China.

I don’t even know where to start with that, the referring to people from Japan simply as “Japs” is, I’m pretty certain, a bit racist, where there is no need to be, a character thinking that “Jap” means Jewish and that the character thinks that the “Jap” would be from China. I mean there’s trying to be funny and then there’s just being stupid.

As the film goes on these stupid moments do become a bit more frequent and what made it enjoyable at first becomes more tedious as it goes on. That’s not to say that there aren’t enjoyable parts, but by in large the jokes do become less and less funny as it goes on.

renner-in-senior-trip-jeremy-renner-26517810-853-480

Summary

Whilst it may never go down as one of the best comedies in history, it still makes a commendable effort for it’s low budget and whilst it is somewhat held back by largely one-dimensional characters, it’s still an enjoyable romp at first. As it goes on it does become less enjoyable and feels more like a chore to watch, but overall it still has some very good moments.

Don’t go in expecting anything incredible, but if it means anything, it is definitely one of the more unique low budget comedies I’ve seen in my life.

The sarlacc pit. From “Return of the Jedi”. Uh, hello. Being slowly digested over a 1000 years – worst death ever.

Year Released : 2010Frozen_Poster
Director : Adam Green
Cast : Emma Bell, Shawn Ashmore and Kevin Zegers

Yesterday I watched “Whiplash” at the cinema and whilst I enjoyed it, I couldn’t help feel that it was overrated somewhat, although it was still worthy of at least a 7/10. That got me thinking onto other overrated films and naturally the first one that came to mind was Disney’s “Frozen”. I can’t even put into words how overrated that film really is and I really wish it was obscure enough to rip it to shreds, but alas, too many children have poor taste and liked it to make it one of the most successful films of the last few years.

Anyway, after that I started to think of other films and one of them was the 2010 film that shared the same name, the thriller “Frozen”. Whilst slightly better known than most of the films I review on this site, I think that after a few weeks off from writing reviews for various reasons, I should return with a film I know relatively well.

Unlike it’s namesake, the 2010 “Frozen” is an enjoyable film that entertains throughout, is actually worth watching and is realistic. I’m not going to sit here and claim it’s the best film that ever existed but if you have a spare 93 minutes and don’t want to spend it watching an overrated piece of non-sense, then this might be the film for you.

Plot

Dan (Zegers), Joe (Ashmore) and Parker (Bell) go on holiday together to a New England ski resort called Mount Holliston and are about to travel home when they realise that there is another time for one last run on the mountain. After convincing the ski lift attendant to let them go up, a misunderstanding sees the lift turned off with them still on it.

Joe and Dan convince themselves everything will be alright before Parker remembers that the mountain was actually going to be closed for a week and knowing that they won’t survive that long, it becomes clear that at least one of them must find their way down to get help.

As the group struggles to come to terms with what they need to do, but their options become increasingly limited as their bodies start succumbing to the effects of long exposure to the cold. Soon wolves catch the scent of warm meat, further restricting the group’s options.

Frozen-2010

So why is it good?

Much like any film with so few main characters, it relies a lot on the performances of the actors. A lot of films with smaller cast of characters struggle because of the lack of strength of the actors, whereas some of the better films are because of the exact opposite. For example, the 1986 remake of “The Fly” only had three main characters and no other characters were on screen for more than 2 minutes, and the reason it works it because Jeff Goldblum, John Getz and Geena Davis all put in exceptional performances.

Whilst I am not saying that the performances of Bell, Ashmore and Zegers are comparable to those three actors, they all put in very good performances, almost to the point you start to believe that they genuinely were left up on a ski lift for days on end. It’s hard to single any of them out because they all do very well, but it’s arguably Bell that stands out for me, not only because she her character goes through the most physical torture throughout the film.

There are several scenes where she has fallen asleep with body parts touching the frozen metal of the lift and she has to rip herself away, leaving all of the skin behind and it would naturally be hard to convincingly portray a pain that you’ve never realistically experienced, but Bell does an exceptional job. It would naturally be easy to overact in this situation and very few relatively unknown actresses could pull off making it look realistic without it looking ridiculous.

images

All of the characters suffer heavy physical pain throughout the film, and they are shown to be very human in this regard. Some Hollywood films are very unrealistic with regards to injury and there is one scene where Dan breaks both of his legs when jumping off of the ski-lift. In most Hollywood films the character would largely be fine, with the most being suffered is a limp, but if you’re going to jump roughly 10 metres (at least) onto snow and ice, you’re not only going to walk away with a limp, infact, you’re not going to walk away at all. The film doesn’t hold back from showing you the legs being broken and Dan’s panicked reaction to this because whilst he is out of the ski-lift, there is no way for him to get down to the bottom of the mountain.

When Joe tries to escape by climbing down the wires that the ski lift operates on, it quickly tears his hands to shreds and he has to endure this once he gets going because he doesn’t have the strength to go up hill and return to the lift. Again, this is realistic. Whilst I love some films that aren’t realistic or have very little basis in reality (I am watching The Hobbit whilst writing this to give you an example of that), in films like this there needs to be a sense of realism and that’s exactly what you get with “Frozen”. It doesn’t hold back, it doesn’t bullshit you into thinking that these characters won’t suffer.

Being realistic is a key aspect to any film that is supposed to be serious. For example, one of the reasons that the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy was so successful was because it was far more realistic than it’s more comedic and camp nature from the Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher installments from the 1980s and 1990s.

If I have a criticism of the film then it would be that it’s a very slow paced film. There isn’t a lot that actually happens throughout the 93 minutes and there are long gaps without anything happening to advance the plot. Don’t get me wrong, at 93 minutes it’s not a long time and with a plot premise that is simple, you don’t really need to progress at an overly fast rate, which is another common sin amongst films, but as I say there are lengthy gaps without anything at all happening.

frozen008

 

Summary

If you want to watch a film called Frozen that’s set on a mountain and isn’t full of incessant singing, then this is the choice for you. As Iapproved said earlier, I’m going to sit here earlier and claim it’s the best film ever but what it is is realistic. You don’t get enough of that in films these days but when it’s done right, it makes a good film.

With a small cast, they achieve a lot and the young cast excels. They give a realistic portrayal of what would happen to people in that environment and situation.

If you’ve got a spare one hundred so or minutes then give it a shout.

B7ZWH-NCcAAEbR8 (1)

Well Oscar season is now in full swing and yet again I find my favourite film of the year doesn’t even feature in the Best Film category. Last year I was exceedingly disappointed that “Rush” wasn’t even nominated, and this year it’s the case for my favourite film of 2014, Nightcrawler.

So now that the nominations are out, I’m going to run through the main categories, give general comments and who I think will win.

BEST PICTURE

Nominees : American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything and Whiplash.

Glaring Omissions : Nightcrawler and Gone Girl

For me there is only one worthy winner and that is “The Theory Of Everything”. It is the only film of the eight that I actually feel passionate about having seen six of the other seven. The only one that I haven’t seen is Whiplash due to not being released in the UK yet (although it does look well made).

I saw “Birdman” fairly recently and I’ll be honest, I was bored. It’s a well made film and Ed Norton in particular is fantastic, but for me it was just frightfully dull and although it definitely looks unique due to it’s editing making it appear to be one continuous shot, but that isn’t enough for me.

As I mentioned above, “The Theory of Everything” is for me easily the best film of the eight. It is exceptionally well made, is heart-warming and life-affirming. It makes you realise just how great Stephen Hawking’s achievements are and out of the ones that I have seen, it’s the only one I would consider watching again.

Prediction : The Theory of Everything

thetheoryof

BEST ACTOR

Nominees : Steve Carrell, Bradley Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Keaton and Eddie Redmayne.

Glaring Omission : Jake Gyllenhaal

Right away I’m going to rule out Cooper or Cumberbatch as for me the other three stand out.

Redmayne was absolutely incredible as Stephen Hawking. Although he spends the majority of the film not really doing a lot, he has that presence which you would expect from an actor double his age and he commands the screen. The scenes early on are well played by Redmayne as well and he is a very strong candidate in this category.

Despite Birdman being dull, Keaton is actually quite good as the titular character. I haven’t seen anything of Keaton since the mid-90s comedy Multiplicity, and he has aged considerably since then, and he played the character very well. Infact, I’ll go as far as saying that there isn’t actually any member of the cast that did a bad job on Birdman, they all did very well, but it was just the story that I found hard to get into.

I’m not going to lie, I was a bit disappointed with Foxcatcher, it just wasn’t very engaging and I still don’t find Channing Tatum entertaining in the slightest, especially not enough to lead a film, so I am glad that he was ignored for this film and Carrell was given the best actor in his role as John Du Pont. It says it all about an actor that you wouldn’t know it was them unless you’re told. Usually you can see past the make up and still see that person, but I didn’t get that with Steve Carrell at all.

I’ve never been sure on Steve Carrell, he was awesome as Brick in the Anchorman films but other than that I’ve been largely “meh” about him, but for me this shows that he has a broad spectrum and that for me is a great thing. It’s similar to Jim Carrey, I didn’t really like him at all until I saw “The Truman Show” because it shows that he isn’t one-dimensional.

Prediction : Steve Carrell

steve-carell-is-unrecognisable-in-first-image-from-foxcatcher-143170-a-1377071676-470-75-steve-carell-is-unrecognizable-in-new-foxcatcher-t

BEST ACTRESS

Nominees : Marion Cotillard, Felicity Jones, Julianne Moore, Rosamund Pike and Reese Witherspoon

Pike, all the way. Not a question about it at all.

She is incredible in Gone Girl and although I’ve liked her for quite some time, this performance stands out as the best in her career and she is the only one here who is worthy of the Oscar.

Prediction : Rosamund Pike

gonegirl_pike

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Nominees : Birdman, Boyhood, Foxcatcher, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Nightcrawler

For me there is only one winner in this category, my film of 2014, Nightcrawler, however, I know the Oscars don’t work like that. The Oscars tend not to give an award to a film that is only nominated in one category when the other films in that category have been nominated for best picture.

I would love Nightcrawler to win this as it was an incredible story, however, with the unlikely event that the Academy won’t against their long term form, I reckon it will go the most enjoyable film of the other four, The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Whilst it dragged at point, TGBH was enjoyable in parts and had an excellent all-round cast, including Ed Norton, the only person who appears in more than one of the films in the Best Picture Categories, and it’s the case with this category as well.

Prediction : The Grand Budapest Hotel

Grand-Budapest-Fiennes-Revolori

Unusual form, a mystery. You take the audience by the hand, and you lead them… in the wrong direction. They trust you, and you betray them! All in the name of surprise.

Year Released : 1982download
Director : David Greene
Cast : Robert Preston, Jeff Goldblum, Patrick Macnee, Lawrence Pressman, Madolyn Smith-Osborne, William Russ and Lynn Redgrave

One of the biggest joys I can get from a film is when I am expecting it to be crap and it turns out to be just the opposite. It’s something that doesn’t happen often in films. When I think something is going to be awful, it usually turns out to be the case.

The reason I didn’t expect a lot for this is that it was part of a boxset of 10 “thrillers” that I found located on my dad’s DVD self. Typical when a film is located in a boxset like that, especially when it’s two DVDs to a single disc, it’s not going to be good. Infact the only reason I got even slightly interested was because it said that Jeff Goldblum was the main star, and as he is one of my favourite actors I thought that it would be good to see his earlier work. It turns out that Jeff Goldblum isn’t the main star at all in this film and whilst he is in it throughout, he’s barely involved in the story until the last 20 or so minutes.

However, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a mystery style film where you didn’t know throughout the entire film who it was, or weren’t given strong hints as to who it was, so I was genuinely pleased when it is eventually revealed who the murderer was, but I’ll get onto that later.

It is also wonderfully obscure, and the fact I’ve had to create my own images to be used below says it all. I apologise for the quality of these images, but trying to get a clean and clear image of the characters was nigh on impossible.

Plot

Following the debut of a new Broadway play, leading lady Monica (Redgrave) is found dead after an apparent suicide, but Alex (Preston) refuses to believe that his fiancee would willing kill herself after they had had a conversation that night about their future together.

One year later Alex has gathered the cast from the original play to take part in what they believe is a rehearsal for a new play, but it turns out that Alex is using this as a way to try and establish who the guilty party is throughout. The cast are less than thrilled by this, each maintaining their innocence whilst under the watchful gaze of Alex and William (Heller), a policeman who himself is convinced it was a suicide.

As the night progresses, the cast become far more agitated as they become increasingly uncomfortable with Alex’s questioning and refusal to accept what they believe is the truth.

RFM-Scene1

So what makes it different from other murder mystery films?

Well as I mentioned above, it’s refreshing for them to not even strongly hint at who the murderer was until the last few minutes of the film. When the killer finally admitted it was them, I was very surprised as there has been no genuine clues up until that point. In a lot of other films like this, or at least in the same genre, the clues are there throughout and once you know what to look for, it’s obvious, or infact you’re told very early on in the film who the killer is and it takes away the tension. When it was finally revealed who the killer is, I felt a sense of relief of how refreshing it was.

That’s what I felt throughout the majority of the film. I’m not going to lie, I was ready to turn the film off after the first 20 or so minutes because it was so incredibly tiresome and poorly made up until that point that I felt I couldn’t watch anymore, but I did and I was very pleased I did. I was watching this at about 3am and despite feeling tired, I wanted to stick with the film as even though it’s about as basic as it can get in terms of look and feel, I was kept engrossed by what I was watching. As the film went on I found myself getting more and more engulfed by the story and that’s what I want when I see a movie, something that gets me more involved as it goes out.

Despite not being a main character in the film, or even a well known actor at that point in his life (he was only 30 when this film came out), Jeff Goldblum stood out for me. This was four years before what was, for me, his best performance of his career as Seth Brundle in the remake of “The Fly”, but even in this he stands out despite his relatively small role. I’ve been a big fan of Goldblum since first seeing him in Jurassic Park and it this film proved to me how versatile her can be as his role as Leo is this film is far different than anything else he has done before.

Other that Goldblum, the cast is largely unknown, with only sporadic appearances in major films (for example, Heller was in “American History X” as Danny and Derek’s father), but most of them put in very believable performances. Heller himself stands out, especially towards the end of the film when his characters becomes more involved. They are all actors that you could see working in the theatre and I think that is one of the reasons why I think this film is actually a decent one, it’s believeable.

A problem with a lot of films is that the characters are cast with actors that aren’t believable in the role. Sometimes it works, but other times it really doesn’t. For example, below are some actors who played roles that they really weren’t suited for and the film suffers as a consequence (I’m not saying that it’s the only reason it suffers, but you get the idea);

  • Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates in the remake of “Psycho”
  • Kevin Costner as Robin Hood in “A Prince of Thieves”
  • Sean Connery in any film where his character isn’t Scottish due to his refusal to try and hide his accent.
  • Dakota Fanning in War of the Worlds, a film that she near enough single handedly ruins…much like any other film that she is in.
  • Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader in Star Wars Episodes 2 and 3
  • Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, the film itself suggests that they should have hired someone attractive.
  • Jennifer Aniston in pretty much anything she is in, she is truly awful.

I could go on. Anyway, as I was saying, the cast makes the movie and in this instance they relatively succeeded as all of the actors feel like they could easily performance on stage, however, just because they’re believable, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they actually played the character well. Just looking the part isn’t everything and that leads me neatly onto my negatives.

RFM-Scene2

 

I know this was the 1980s, the early 1980s at the that, and actors of that day weren’t like what they are today, but I found Robert Preston’s acting to be terrible. I like a lot of films from the late 70s and early 80s and can’t recall seeing an actor from that period give such a wooden and uncharismatic performance whilst in a leading role. Infact, to give you a comparison to other actors of the time, “The Thing” (one of my favourite horror movies), also came out in 1982 and in that there are actors of a similar age to what Robert Preston was in this, and all of them produce far better performances.  The character isn’t even that boring, but the acting just does absolutely nothing for me whatsoever, it’s terrible.

Another major problem throughout the film is the lighting, or rather the lack there of. Below is a direct screenshot from the film where Robert Preston is facing away from the camera, and most of Jeff Goldblum’s face is obscured the lack of light, and it remains like this throughout. Now, I appreciate that this is realistic of what it’s like in theatres, but even then it’s hard to really tell what’s going on half of the time due to the poor lighting of the film.

A few days before this I had watched Birdman at the cinema, which again is set in a theatre, and there was no issue with the lighting whatsoever, and even though it was 33 years ago, I wouldn’t expect lighting this poor in a film that isn’t a horror film.

rehearsal

Summary

A film that took me by surprise and one that I would recommend. The whole film is on Youtube so you can easily watch it there, and I approvedwould recommend that if you have a spare 90 minutes then you give it a try. Don’t expect anything spectacular, just expect to be entertained for the majority of the film.

Although you may want to turn the film off after the first 15/20 minutes, especially where you are forced to watch Robert Preston’s inability to act, so much to the point where he shows less emotion than Keanu Reeves, I would implore you not to turn it off, sit back and relax.

Now, I normally like to put a trailer at the bottom of my reviews, but as I can’t find on I am just going to put the Youtube video with the entire film up.

Wait! Don’t I get a choice? Don’t all the condemned get a choice? I choose death!

Year Released : 2004MV5BMTM4OTUyNzgxOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDQ4NjcyMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR1,0,214,317_AL_
Director : Ernie Barbarash
Cast : Zachary Bennett, Stephanie Moore, David Huband, Martin Roach and Michael Riley

I commented in my review for “Cube 2” that sequels are very rarely as good as the first film, but is even rarer is a good third film in a trilogy. When I think of poor “threequels” there are a few that jump immediately to mind as not being needed, being awful, not adding anything to the previous two, not really resolving anything from the first two films or on a regular basis, all of the above.

Some examples of very poor “threequels” are;

  • Terminator 3
  • Neverending Story 3
  • Hangover 3
  • The Matrix : Revolutions
  • Jurassic Park 3
  • The Mummy : Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

You get the idea.

Whilst the first Cube film was amazing and could have left to a new, long running franchise, they decided to then ruin the long term chances of that with the second installment, the horrendously boring “Cube 2 : Hypercube”, so my excitement for the third film was very, well, non-existent going into it, and whilst it is still nowhere near as good as the first film, it does start going back into the right direction.

It sees the return of trapped cubes, deaths of characters and actually expands on the universe by introducing the characters who control what happens in the cubes.

Plot

Wynn (Bennett) is a technician for a company that puts people who break the law in a form of rehabilitation, a maze of cubes, some of which are armed with traps that are designed to kill. Much to the frustration of his fellow technician, Dodd (Huband), Wynn keeps asking questions that he really shouldn’t be asking.

Meanwhile, a new group of participants had entered, headed by Cassandra (Moore), who takes an instant dislike to Kaskell (Roach) due to his job as a bounty hunter, either though he doesn’t remember it. As they move through the cubes the group starts to dwindle due to being trapped by flesh eating viruses, soundwaves and many others.

Things seem to be going as normal until suddenly an entrant from a previous group has found their way to the exist and Wynn notices that it is a former colleague of his. When he is killed by Dodd, despite surviving the cube, Wynn decides to take things into his own hands and enters the cube system to help Cassandra’s group escape via the hidden exit. Dodd soon finds himself accompanied by his supervisor who is determined to kill of Wynn within the cube.

cube_3_2

So why is it better than the second one but not the first?

Well, it doesn’t take a lot to be better than the second one, although the one thing that they do have in common is poor female characters. In “Cube 2” there are four female characters, one is a boring woman with no personality, one is a senile old woman, one is a blind girl who can’t do anything for herself, and the other is one who has sex with literally the first man that she sees, and in “Cube Zero” there are only two female characters, with the main one being the irritating Cassandra.

Cassandra is an awful character, she makes herself unlikeable from the first second but turning on Haskell, despite it being obvious that he is no longer under control from the people who turned him into a bounty hunter (they are shown in flashbacks as having bright, lime green eyes when under control), she isn’t prepared to listen to his pleas of not knowing who he is and literally spits in his face.

She has no likeable qualities whatsoever and I was desperate for her to die and you shouldn’t have that from a film that is trying to promote them as one of the chief protagonists. When you want one of the protagonists to die, the filmmakers have not done a good job at all.

I didn’t feel the same sort of tension that I did in the first one and there is very little character development. Now, I mention character development in pretty much all of my reviews and whilst it’s not vitally important, you do want your characters to grow in some way, but they don’t. All the characters are the same from when you first see them until either when they die or the end of the film, depending on which is appropriate.

vlcsnap-2014-11-01-21h27m20s49

What I did like however was that it did expand on the situation by revealing some very clever elements, including;

  • Realising at the end of the film that Kazan from the first film was more than likely a former employee of the company the runs the cube.
  • Every cube is trapped but can be turned off and on, although in theory this does make the numbers completely irrelevant.
  • Pretty much everyone within the cubes, barring one or two exceptions, actually gave their consent to be in there, regardless of whether they remember doing so or not.

That’s just a few of them but I do like that they thought to expand the universe rather than just shove people in a cube again to fight their way out. A lot of franchises, especially in the horror genre (although this isn’t horror), just repeat the same thing over and over again and that’s why a lot of people get bored of them very quickly. “Saw” is an excellent example of this. It’s almost unanimously agreed by anyone who has watched all seven that the first two are the best two, but after that nothing really changes.

Characters get put into a situation where they have the mutilate themselves, or others, in other to survive, and whilst there is a story going on in the background, you need what’s happening on the inside of these stories to be more than convenient ways of getting people to kill themselves.

peliculas.4021.IMAGEN2

For me one of the most important things that they did was completely abandon the portals and alternative reality nonsense that the second film turned into. They’ve taken what made the first film work and expanded on it, and whilst it’s nowhere near as good as the first one for many reasons, I will give it credit for trying.

The flipping between the cube and the control work both works and doesn’t work at the same time. It works because it expands on the first film and shows that the environment is control, there is a scene where the group enters a cube and Dodd’s supervisor turns on the traps in all of the surrounding cubes, and that was quite cool. However, it doesn’t work in one sense because one of the elements that made the first so intriguing was the claustrophobic environment, but due to the constant flipping you don’t feel as confined as the characters do and in a way the film loses some of the elements that made the first film so tense.

Finally, it’s hard not to talk about “Cube Zero” without talking about the traps and despite most of the film not being as good as the first, I did actually think that the traps in this film were actually better than in the first. For example, one of the characters gets infected with a very fast acting flesh-eating virus and all of a sudden no-one wants to be anywhere near her, nor the person who she accidentally infects.

Due to a slightly higher budget they were able to come up with a lot more interesting method of death, and this is evident from the first screen when a character is walking through a cube, gets sprayed with what he thinks is water, but it actually turns out to be something that corrodes his skin and his body literally falls to pieces. That was quite well done.

cubfilee-zero-1

Summary

If you’re going into the film expecting it to be better than the first film then you’ll be wrong. It lacks a lot of what made the first film so good and whilst it does offer something new, the elements that it lost are too hard to overlook.

It is a definitely improvement from the second installment though, however, it’s probably for the best that the franchise stopped after this one. You can’t continue a franchise after only one of the installments was actually good, and whilst “Cube Zero” did try, it ultimately failed.

What happens if whatever that was in there, that killed the guy – killed me, what happens if that fucking thing gets in here?

Year Released : 2002cube-21
Director : Andrzej Sekuła
Cast : Kari Matchett, Geraint Wyn Davies, Grace Lynn Kung, Matthew Ferguson and Neil Crone

One of the key aspects to any debate about films is whether there are truly any good sequels. They often lose the magic of the original and more often than not, are just made as a cash-grab from studios that don’t know when to stop.

There are some very good sequels out there, if you can be bothered to look for them, but I’d say that they only account for roughly 5% of sequels, and the rest are just terrible.

Just for the record, here are SOME of my favourite sequels, all of which I think are either just as good, or are better than the original;

  • Terminator 2
  • The Dark Knight
  • Aliens
  • REC 2
  • X Men : Days of Future Past (as a sequel to The Wolverine, which was terrible)

So what we’ve just established there is there there are good sequels, there are ok sequels, there are bad sequels, then there’s fifty layers of crap, and then there’s like “Cube 2 : Hypercube”.

Plot

Eight strangers awaken in a cube that is surrounded by an intense white light. On the each wall is a door that leads into another cube shaped room. As most of them try and figure out what is going on, they soon notice unusual behaviour from the rooms itself, such as the laws of physics seemingly not existing, such as climbing through a door on a side-wall, only to then fall into the next room as if gravity has shifted.

As they navigate through the rooms, they find that they are being pursued by a wall of energy that ages whatever it touches significantly, and that the laws of normal space time don’t seem to apply, with the characters regularly encountering future versions of themselves.

With options running out quickly, the characters are left to try and survive with a near literal race against time.

cube23

So what makes it a bad sequel?

Sequel to the amazing “Cube”, it abandons pretty much everything that made the first film so good, even down the absolute basics. You can’t have a sequel that other than the basic premise of being trapped in a cube, is absolutely nothing like the first one.

Let’s start with one of the basic plot points of the first one, the fact that rooms are trapped. In this they are not. The characters can move freely between the rooms and the only threat of death seems to come from the way of time that pops up every now and then. There is no sense of tension as the characters climb into rooms and not knowing if they’re trapped or not. Infact, other than the wave that ages everything significantly.

Now, I’m not saying that characters have to die in order for a horror film to be interesting (although they do start dying), but when one of the major plot points of the first film is that the characters could die at any second, you can’t just abandon that.

The characters are mindnumbingly terrible and stereotypical that it is unbelievable.

  • Kate – The main character, a woman who wants everyone to get along
  • Simon – A private detective with a short fuse and from the outset wants to make people afraid of him.
  • Sasha – A blind teenager who cowers at every opportunity
  • Jerry – A socially awkward engineer
  • Max – A computer hacker who has a very bitter view of the world.
  • Becky – A missing woman who Simon was sent to find
  • Mrs Paley – An elderly woman with dementia
  • Dr Rosenzweig – A scientist who used to work for the company that have put everyone in here but refuses to divulge any information. He willingly kills himself by not moving when the time wall is approaching him.

Unlike the first one, none of the characters develop at all. They tried to make Simon exactly like the way Quentin ended up in the first film, and by the end he also goes on a murderous rampage, but the difference is that you believe that Quentin is a good guy who loses his mind because of being trapped, but Simon is just a sociopath from the first second you meet him. It is just isn’t interesting.

cube2

It’s amazing that they have more characters than the first film but actually achieve significantly less, and one of the main points from the original was that none of the characters knew why they were in there, but in this one they throw that straight out of the water by letting you know in the first scene that he’s in that he knows what’s going on and why he’s there.

Not a single one of the characters is worth caring about and to be honest, neither is the story. It’s bland it really is. It classes itself as a psychological thriller but it really, really, really isn’t. There is nothing psychological about this. There is no tension, if anything, unlike Kazan from the first film, having someone around that has a mental condition, Mrs Paley in this film, isn’t actually a good thing and I wanted her to die so incredibly badly that every single time she was on the screen, it ruined the scene.

The character of Sasha is also bizarre. She is a blind woman who seems to require help with anything she does. It really makes you wonder how the character would cope in the real world and anywhere new that she goes. She can’t walk from one side of a 4 metre long room to the other without crying for help.

Sasha also ignores what Kate is telling her when she’s trying to escape from a sharp object that’s trying to kill them all, but then complains “well what do you want me to do?” Maybe if she listened then you wouldn’t be constantly putting yourself in danger.

She is a fine example of what a lot of film-makers do with blind characters in films like this, they try and make them far more interesting that would normally be the case. They are always able to sense something that’s going on that the other characters can’t see, are often horribly acted because the actor/ress obviously doesn’t know what it’s like to be blind and therefore can’t feel genuine, and they act like big know it-alls when they know nothing at all.

images

 

My biggest condemnation for the film though is that it’s boring. Nothing happens. At the time of writing I am actually watching the film to make notes on anything I miss whilst writing this and I’m 45 minutes into the film and other than one of the characters dying via his own choice, nothing has happened. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of films that are slow, not a lot really happens and they drag, but I can’t recall anything to this extent.

45 minutes is far, far, far too long for characters to just be talking and theorising about what’s happening without anything actually happening.

I’ve mentioned previously that it is extremely rare that I watch a film and turn it off before the end, regardless of how bad it is, but that’s what I would do now if I was watching this piece of trash for the first time. Even if this was a stand alone film and not a sequel to another film, I still wouldn’t find it interest. Yes, I’ve compared it a lot to the first film in this review, but even as a stand alone film it’s awful.

cube23

Summary

One of the worst sequels I have ever watched. Infact, I would go as far as saying that I hate this movie.

It’s boring, not very well made, is completely unrelated to the rest of the trilogy, asks questions that it never even attempts to answer and worst of all, just ignores what made the first, and to a lesser extent, the third film interesting.

If you’re going to watch the Cube franchise, avoid this entry because you won’t actually miss out on anything.

No more talking. No more guessing. Don’t even think about nothing that’s not right in front of you. That’s the real challenge. You’ve gotta save yourselves from yourselves.

Year Released : 1997Cube_The_Movie_Poster_Art
Director : Vincenzo Natali
Cast : Nicole de Boer, Maurice Wint, David Hewlett, Nicky Guadagni, Andrew Miller, Wayne Robson and Julian Richings

Following on from the “Ginger Snaps” trilogy and the “[REC]” franchise, I will again be reviewing a series of films within the same franchise and this time I will be going with the psychological horror, “Cube”

A relatively well known film compared to the movies I usually write about, “Cube” is as close as I will probably ever come to using the phrase “low budget, psychological masterpiece”. The very low budget (so low budget it’s set it a small, cube shaped room with different coloured lights shone into it) Canadian film is a cult classic and a favourite amongst those who love low budget films.

It is one of the few low budget films that always keeps you guessing and until the third film in the franchise came out, you were given no idea whatsoever why these people have been put into the Cube. Whilst not to the same level of suspense as films such as “The Thing”, is comes damn close to making you feel very paranoid and the character development is excellent.

Plot

Seven people awaken in individual cubes shaped rooms, surrounded on each side by more cube shaped rooms. Alderson (Richings) dies before he can find anyone else when he sets off one of the main bobby traps within the cubes. Soon after all the other members of the group find each other but none can remember how they go there.

After initial arguments, the group decide to make their way to the edge of the maze and work out what they can from there, however, when Rennes (Robson), is killed when acid spits in his face, they all soon realise that getting to the edge might not be as simple as it sounds. Around half of the rooms are trapped and rigged to kill someone upon entry.

Leaven (de Boer) soon notices numbers on the entrances to each door and soon discovers that not only are they facing trapped rooms, but the rooms are also not static and move around. As well as struggling to survive the traps, the group struggles to overcome their growing thirst, hunger and the paranoia of Quentin (Wint).

cube1997

 

So what makes it good?

The premise might not sound that interesting, nor might the fact that they characters are only in a single set throughout the entire film, but it somehow works because of the character work from the actors, only two of which actually went on to higher profile roles (De Boer went on to feature in Star Trek : Deep Space Nine and Hewlett starred in several of the Stargate TV series).

Wint steals the show as Quentin. At first the cop seems very reasonable, logical and one of the best chances the group has of surviving due to his intelligence, but he quickly loses his mind due to being confined in the cubes with no obvious way out. His behaviour starts becoming very threatening, even to the point where he (SPOILER ALERT) decides to let go of Holloway when she is hanging over a seemingly never ending fall.

Without that character the film would have been a no go. The rest stick together and try and band together to try and solve it between them, but Quentin just wants out and is willing to sacrifice anyone in order to do that, including throwing various people into rooms without knowing if they are trapped or not. You genuinely don’t know what he’s going to do next and that tension is incredible.

cube-scene

Tension isn’t just restricted to the Quentin character as there is no true way of knowing whether a room is trapped due to the different nature of sensors. Some of the rooms are triggered by movement, some by the heat of your body, the moisture on your skin, and arguably the most terrifying of all, which leads to one of the most heart-pounding scenes in film.

The characters enter a cube that is surrounded on all sides by trapped cubes (other that the one they just came from) so they decide to risk going into a trapped cube to progress. This cube is activated by sound so they have to be silent when going through, but the issue with that is that Kazan is autistic and you don’t know when he might say/do something that will get them all killed. This leads to all of the characters very nervously crawling going into that cube not knowing whether they will be killed through no fault of their own.

Unlike a lot of films, there are no wasted scenes, every single one serves a specific purpose, whether it simply showing a character trait, their history, or probably what most people tune in for, the death of a character. Now, with so few characters through, it’s hard to really keep you invested, especially as two of them die within the first few minutes of the film, one of whom you don’t actually even speak, and they have done that superbly.

Arguably the most interesting aspect of the film comes later when they realise that the Cubes aren’t static and move,meaning the simply constantly moving in the same direction isn’t guaranteed to get you to the edge. It also means that the characters that are put into the cube are well thought out and each serve a purpose. For example, Rennes is a escape artist, regularly being put in prisons and being gone soon therefore, and Leaven is a math genius, which comes in handy for the numbers on the doors.

It makes you realise just how fragile the chances of them escaping is because whilst they can still escape if one of those characters die, it makes it a hell of a lot more difficult and the early death or Rennes sets the characters into pessimism straight away.

0026d194_medium

Summary

I know this is a relatively short review and I have mentioned in the past that I do struggle when talking about films that I like. More approvedoften than not you will know if I like a film because the review is short, whereas if it goes on forever then you know before even reading that I hate it.

Cube is comfortably one of the best low budget films out there. It keeps you tense throughout and you never truly know what is going on. Although you learn more about it later on in the franchise, it doesn’t put you off watching this, especially as it has the best character development from any other low-budget film, with the exception of “Exit Humanity”, which was the first film I reviewed on the site (click here for the review)

It may not be high budget and is hasn’t dated all that well (it is 17 years old at the time of writing this), but it certainly brings a lot more to the table than films that are widely released.

Just because you’re dead it doesn’t mean that I can’t move in with you.

Year Released : 2009Dead_Like_Me_Life_After_Deathposter
Director : Stephen Herek
Cast : Ellen Muth, Callum Blue, Jasmine Guy, Britt McKillip, Sarah Wynter, Cynthia Stevenson and Henry Ian Cusick

Here is a first for the website, a movie that very few people have heard of that’s based on a TV show that very few people have heard of. This intro is going to be slightly longer than normal because I have to really describe the premise of “Dead Like Me” so that the plot and the rest of the review makes a bit of sense.

During the early 2000s, one of my favourite TV shows was the dark-comedy that was “Dead Like Me”. It focuses on a girl called Georgia after she is killed by a falling toilet seat and she begins life amongst a group of grim reapers, all whilst having to watch her family try and cope with the death.

As well as Georgia’s initial refusal to play along with her new role, the show also focuses on a few other reapers, each with unique backstories, such as Mason, a Brit from the 1960s who tried to achieve a permanent high by drilling a hole in his head, or Rube, a gangster who’s crimes caught up with him.

“Dead Like Me” was a true gem of a TV show and although it only lasted for two series, it achieved so much in terms of character developed in those two series that it remains one of my favourite TV shows to this day. It is an amazing TV show not just because of it’s dark comedy, but because of some of the more serious moments when some people struggle to deal with the fact they’ve just died, and Georgia’s initial struggles with what she now has to do.

Below is a great clip from early on in the first series where Georgia has refused to reap someone and her boss is far from happy.

But anyway, I digress. The show finished in 2004 after two series and that was the last of it until 2009 when a movie came out, and had it been successful then they would have considered bringing the show back. It wasn’t successful for many reasons, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

Plot

After performing his last reap, Rube (who doesn’t appear in the movie) has moved on into the afterlife and has been replaced by Cameron (Cusick) as the head of the reapers. He doesn’t care what happens to the dead after they pass away and things soon start falling apart. Because of this various members of the reaping team conspire to get rid of him via one method or another, made even more difficult by the fact that you can’t really kill someone who is already dead.

Meanwhile, Georgia (Muth) is fired from her job at Happy Times after she harasses a new employee. Things in her personal (after)life are far from simple either as she faces a dilemma that she never thought she would face as Reggie (McKillip) discovers who she is.

Despite Georgia’s desire to connect with her sister, she knows that ultimately they can never enjoy that relationship again, but Reggie struggles to understand.

dead-like-me-life-after-death-w1280

So why wasn’t it successful?

I think one of the main reasons that “Life After Death” wasn’t successful was not because the TV show was so relatively unknown, but because it departed so much from the tone and nature of the TV show that it had very little in common with it.

It almost felt like the director hadn’t watched a single episode of the TV show because so many factors of the TV show weren’t even referenced in this one. For example, earlier in this review I mentioned that Rube was angry at Georgia for refusing to do what she needed to do and the reason why was because if a soul wasn’t taken before the death then the soul starts to rot along with the decomposing body. This isn’t referenced once in the film on the numerous occasions that the reapers don’t reap someone’s soul before they die.

There were quite a lot of inconsistencies with the TV series and if you’re going to make a movie based on a TV series, it has to be largely still relevant. The character of Daisy is probably the biggest example of this though as the character is NOTHING like her counterpart in the series. Laura Harris did an excellent job in the TV series, bringing a lot of warmth and depth to a character that initially seemed conceited, whereas Sarah Wynter’s portrayal of the character seemed to just go back to being conceited and not develop from there. It could potentially have been because of scheduling conflicts but I think there is a very good reason that Harris didn’t return for this movie.

so-gut-wie-tot-dead-like-me-der-film-13-rcm0x1920u

I’m trying desperately not to compare it to the TV show but it’s almost impossible. The film almost has no centre to it, nothing that keeps you wanting to go back and watch more and more of it. In the 29 TV episodes there were a lot of reasons for keep going back, you developed an emotional connection with each of the characters, and you appreciated the moral lesson behind each episode, whereas the film doesn’t really seem to have a lot of point to it.

It’s not all negative though and what I especially liked about the movie was that it gave both Georgia and Reggie some closure when it came to their relationship. One of the key plot points of the TV show was Reggie trying to deal with Georgia’s death and the various different emotional issues it caused (such as gathering toilet seats and hanging them in the tree) and it’s nice to see a character that was broken and lost finally get some closure and get the chance to say goodbye to Georgia.

There is an excellent scene where Reggie is determined to kill herself because she doesn’t care anymore as everyone she loves keeps dying. She starts driving 85mph towards a shipping container and Georgia tries some reverse psychology by slamming her foot on top of Reggie’s and the car goes to 125mph, only then does Reggie realise that she wants to live and then the two have a frank conversation with each other and share what will probably be there final moments together.

Life-After-Death-Movie-dead-like-me-4509148-640-352

That was one of the few scenes that I truly liked from the movie.

I’m going to move away from comparing it to the TV show and talk about the performances. Ellen Muth is still remarkable as Georgia, she is delightful as the sarcastic and down to earth girl. Muth hasn’t really enjoyed a prolific career in Hollywood as she doesn’t really fit into any categories but she plays this character so incredibly well that you warm to her very quickly. Even early on in the TV series, where she is an immature, teenage girl, you still feel a connection to her character because she feels very real.

Blue is still as charismatic as Mason as he was in the TV series, and whilst his character is actually quite deplorable, Blue’s performance brings him to life and he represents a very reluctant anti-hero character so incredibly well.

I must admit that I was disappointed by the performance of Henry Ian Cusick though. He played Desmond in “Lost” and was one of the stand out actors from that TV show, and despite being the most famous actor to appear in “Life After Death”, he doesn’t really live up to his star billing as he doesn’t really seem to enjoy playing his character, although to be fair the character isn’t very well developed at all. Cusick played Desmond with such passion that he became one of the central characters of “Lost”, but in this it felt like he stumbled onto the set one day and thought “Ooooooh, I can do this!” He’s a poor replacement for Rube from the TV show…….

You know, I can’t continue this review without consistently comparing it to the TV show and I’m finding it very difficult not to keep going back to it, so I’m just going to leave it here.

Life-After-Death-Movie-dead-like-me-4508419-640-352

Summary

To be honest, even as a fan of the TV show I found it very hard to like the movie. It lacks a lot of what made the TV show so enjoyable. Whilst it wouldn’t have made an awful made for TV movie if it was a stand alone movie and not related to anything, ultimately it fails to deliver enough to keep fans of the TV show interested.

If you were going to watch the movie then I would recommend watching the TV show first because if you watched the movie first then you wouldn’t want to watch what it’s based on, and that is an injustice.

Is it awful? No,not overly, but I can’t go that much higher than being average, at best.