Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Silent Hill Revelation 3D-Review

Silent Hill Revelations 3D is the sequel to the 2006 movie Silent Hill, based on the popular video game of the same title.  Silent Hill Revelation 3D shows a lot of inspired new creatures and clever visuals.  The problem is that it is bogged down in lame characters and a weak script.

A teenage Sharon, from the first movie, played by Adelaide Clemens, is in a new school in a new town.  Her father, played by Sean Bean, are on the run and trying to hide from a cult in the ghost town of Silent Hill attempting to bring Sharon back into the town.  What is their purpose? 

The acting for this movie has gone downhill.  Sean Bean doesn’t even try. Half the time he seems to be looking like he has been contracted into doing this movie and he is dying to get back to Game of Thrones.  Adelaide Clemens does an okay job and is cute as a button since she is a spitting image of a young Michelle Williams.  The charm of this movie comes from the bit parts of Carrie-Anne Moss and Malcolm McDowell in small, yet colorful, parts that show them having fun with over-the-top roles.

The visuals are fascinating. They return the undead nurses and add a bizarre mannequin spider creature.  Most of the scenes in Silent Hill Revelation 3D looks to be nightmare fuel.  Conceptually it is really well done.  The script is laughable. The dialogue is awkward and there are a lot of expository statements that would be better shown than said.

As a whole Silent Hill Revelation 3D is not a very good movie.  In the hands of a better writer this could have worked out.  If they really wanted to fix this concept maybe they should have just started with a new, bold set of characters who we can care about for a change.  I’d give this movie a miss unless you are a big fan of the series or a fan of the videogames.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Paranormal Activity 4-review

The Paranormal Activity series is one of the few I know that seems to get more intricate and better with each movie that comes out.  While the first was so subtle and creepy it has expanded it’s own mythos to involve so much more than a demonic entity causing chaos.  It now involves covens, cults, and new gimmicks in each new movie. 

The movie begins by showing the ending to Paranormal Activity 2.  We are then introduced to Alex, played by Kathryn Newton, a young teenage girl who is big on taping aspects of her life.  She also enjoys the joys of Skype.  Alex and her boyfriend come across a boy named Robbie who lives across the street.  When his mother is put in the hospital he is asked to stay with Alex and her family.  Many odd things start occurring around Robbie.  The main question is why?

The story is decent.  It certainly follows the main concept of the Paranormal Activity universe.  There are a few plot holes and many questions from the past movies left unanswered but considering that, it is still a good movie that is at least trying to bring something new to the table. You can sometimes give it a benefit of the doubt.   This movie shows just how expansive this coven really is. 

I thought of using computers to show the audience the footage was a clever idea.  It worked well with the rest of the story so it moved the narrative along smoothly.  There is a thematic element of “the boy who cried wolf” which is really hard to work in an age where you can literally get footage of just about anything from anything be it a camera, computer or cellphone.  Still, the movie pulls off this feat and it works out well.   The ending felt a bit rushed which is a shame because it really is an interesting movie and I want to know more.

Paranormal Activity 4 is worth seeing if you are a fan of the rest of the series.  It brings some new plots twists that were not expected. While not terrifying, it does build on the other movies well.  If anything, it makes me wonder where it’s going to go from here.  It’s at the very least worth a matinee or a rental.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Resident Evil 6- video game review

Resident Evil 6 is the sixth installment of a survival-horror franchise that has done it’s time.  In this game instead of following a single storyline there are three separate campaigns and then a fourth that you unlock by finishing the previous three.  They all intertwine in different ways and it is in that way the makers of this game were trying something new.  The style of each campaign is a bit different each time as well.  For instance- In the Leon campaign  it’s more the standard Resident Evil game from the past, with Chris it’s more shooting and action,  with Jake it’s running away from creatures and situations, and in the Ada campaign it’s puzzles.
I was not a fan of the different campaigns.  My personal opinion is that one really decent and well-run story is so much better than four intersecting ones that just glance at one another and don’t let you care about the characters.  The intersections also mean that you are going to be fighting the same boss fights twice with multiple characters.  It comes off as really lazy on the part of the game designers.  They really needed to attempt to add some more variety to the monsters.  Every campaign faces a creature with the stamina of Jason Voorhees that you will face countless times and in several forms.  It gets so redundant fighting them again and again. 

The game play is okay for the most part. The AI for the partners has improved a lot more from the last game.  A welcome change I was happy to see that maybe twice I had to take care of my partner in a fight.  Navigating the new version of the inventory was a challenge at first but I got used to it.  The worst part by far is the constant use of “monkey-see monkey-do” commands. Since Resident Evil 4 for some reason these commands keep popping on the screen and expecting you to hit the button at just the right time or die.  It brings to mind games like Dragon’s Lair where the game gets frustrating incredibly fast unless you memorize the button actions.  As if that wasn’t frustrating enough the game added several death races against the clock sections where a single second off your game will lead to the character’s dying in an overly long cut scene.

I understood that Resident Evil 4 changed the series to be more action based.  The sequel added a teammate element.  The problem is that the Resident Evil universe has really played out its story.  Capcom should wrap it and Silent Hill up and start a franchise that is bold and different.  There are other really amazing games that have proven that survival-horror can still be an amazing genre of game.  The two Dead Space games still blow me away and they seem to have borrowed a lot of the feel directly from Resident Evil.  This game is superfluous.  It really ads nothing to the universe other than the side note that Jake is Albert Wesker’s kid and that is not even a shocking Darth Vader-style reveal since Jake is a new character himself. Nothing new is brought to the table. 

Resident Evil is okay.  It has become a neutered form of the survival-horror it once was.  There are sections of this game where you fly a crashing plane and have a car chase. That is not the mood I have at all with a Resident Evil game.  That is a mood I have with an Uncharted game.  If you are a fan of the series it’s probably going to disappoint you in its lack of growth.  If you are looking to start playing the survival-horror genre I’d look elsewhere because this is certainly not that genre anymore and you can find a lot better.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


I love it when a movie surprises me as much as Sinister does.  The movie is genuine and chilling in its presentation.  It uses creepy super 8 films of families dying to create a horrifying atmosphere.  The acting is good and the scares are truly worthwhile in this awesome movie.

Ellison Oswalt, played by Ethan Hawke, moves into a new house with his family.  He is a true crime novelist and he is there to investigate the murder of a family that happened in that house.  While in the attic, he discovers a box of super 8 “snuff” films of families in different house being murdered in different ways.  He notices a familiar creature in each of the films. 

The movie was really spooky.  I am not one that is easy scared but the limited use of the Buguul character was smart and the use of the really spooky super 8 footage was really wonderful.  There are aspects that are just not scary, such as seeing ghost children.  Still, the use of camera work and shadows are really well done and I couldn’t help but be affected by it.   

The acting is really well done.  Ethan Hawke brings a very believable character to the screen. We can really imagine seeing these horrible films and still being drawn into the mystery to keep watching again and again.  His wife, played by Juliet Rylance, also brings a worthwhile character to the table.  You can see her anger and frustration with her husband and there is an air of subtleness in their performance that works well together.

This movie is really fantastic.  The real fear it brings comes from the subtle atmosphere. The ending throws any aspects of predictably out the window.  Sinister would make a great companion film with the likes of Insidious.  It’s a clever movie that is completely worth seeing this holiday season.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Trip to the Island of Misfit Holiday Movies.

Let me take you on a cinematic journey through the Yuletide holiday.  While a normal journey would cross into familiar territory of the many iterations of “A Christmas Carol,” “White Christmas,” and “It’s a Wonderful Life,” this journey will skip those in favor of darker lands.  Past the comedies like “A Christmas Story” and out of the realm of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and even  “Bad Santa,” we enter the obscure holiday films.  I am talking about the films brought out during the holidays that have just enough “yule” to tide us through the holiday.

Let’s start with the Christmas classic, “Die Hard.”  I know it’s a stretch but it all takes place during the attack of Nakatomi Plaza during a work related Christmas party.  One of the employees’ estranged husband happens to be none other than NYPD Officer John McClane, played by Bruce Willis, who caused nothing but trouble for the would be robbers during their Christmas heist.  The whole time there are elements of the holidays splattered through this movie in clever ways.  From the carols on the radio to the way John dresses up one of the men he kills in a Santa suit.

“Die Hard 2: Die Harder” takes place one year to the day after the events at Nakatomi Plaza.  This time he is in an airport as it gets hijacked.  He quips and kicks some ass all in the hopes of getting reunited with his wife.  It’s not nearly swimming in the spirit of Christmas as the first but as it’s supposed to take place one year to the day, I count it.  McClane is one unlucky dude on the holidays; not as if he has not paid that misfortune forward quite a bit over the years.

If you want to find more oddly obfuscated holiday pictures then look to Tim Burton’s “Batman Returns.” It’s a dark movie and seems to go way more over the top than the 1989 film that it proceeded. Nearly the entire film takes place during Christmas events in Gotham City. There are holiday parties, tree lighting ceremonies, mistletoe, and penguins with missiles on their backs.   It even ends with the age-old line “Peace on earth good will towards men…and women.” If you have wee children you may prefer an alternative Burton film. Grab a copy of the movie that is Tim Burton’s answer to the Halloween movie and Christmas movie, “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” There you can see stop motion animation at some of its most amazing.  It is one of those movies that really does well for both holidays and the characters have a childlike delight as one who is new to the holiday of Christmas.   

Speaking of great special effects, I want to take a moment to remember a real holiday misfit, “Gremlins.”  A teenage boy gets a small creature called a Mogwai as a Christmas gift.  This creature comes with very specific rules: don’t leave it in bright lights, don’t get it wet, and don’t feed it after midnight.  After a mistake and basically breaking every single one of the rules the Mogwai has multiplied and has created its evil counterpart, Gremlins which promptly take over the town in short order.  The movie is fun and creepy and was a marvel of special effects for 1984.  It also has a great speech by Phoebe Cates about what happened to her father one fateful Christmas Day.

Maybe action and monsters are not your style. You might rather watch a movie about the raving drug crazed late nineties.  The movie “Go” might be your style- written as three intertwining plots about people on Christmas Eve in Los Angeles.  One story involves the buying and selling of a drug, another character is on an adventure to Las Vegas and the other is caught in the middle of a police sting operation.  It’s a comedy of errors and I don’t know if it has aged well from the nineties.  Still, at its bare bones it’s a fun movie with a very colorful nineties attitude. At the very least it’s good for a cynical laugh.  

The movie “Rocky” takes place during the holidays.  From Thanksgiving when Pauly throws the turkey into the alley, until the New Years Eve boxing match between Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed.  The holiday aspect of the films never overshadows this underdog story.  It’s a feel good movie that is good year round and the rest of the series is a lot of fun as well.  Rocky is a sweet story at its very core about his relationships with Adrian, Pauly, Micky and the other cast.  They are his family of sorts, which is what the holidays are all about.  They believe in him and he goes the distance with the help, love and support of those closest to him.

The movie “Lethal Weapon” takes place during Christmas.  The entire opening even opens to Jingle Bell Rock.  The action of this film is fairly intense and there are a lot of themes of family and suicide, which, as we know, rise in number during the holiday. It is not for those who aren’t craving a good old-fashioned buddy cop movie.   Still, if you are in the mood for this type of movie in the vein of “Die Hard” look no further.

There are several horror films that are considered Christmas movies.  The ones that are actually worth seeing are few and far between.  For the old school horror fan there is “Black Christmas”.  A mad man is killing girls in a sorority house on Christmas.  It’s a creepy movie that actually precedes “Halloween” as a holiday slasher movie.  That is as basic as it needs to be.  What can I say about the remake? Avoid it if you can.  Like “My Bloody Valentine” this movie is pretty much an in-name only remake.  

If you are more into the tongue-in-cheek style of horror there is “Santa’s Slay” starring the wrestler Goldberg as Santa.  In this movie he is the son of the devil and is murdering people who are naughty. There are cameos and silly jokes and violence a go-go.  It’s a stupid movie.  There are buffalos, curling, and strippers.  I’m actually surprised it hasn’t become a holiday cult staple. 

Lets not forget the other good movies that you can use as a holiday movie excuse.  The events of the amazing movie “Brazil” start during Christmas.”  Yet another Terry Gilliam movie “12 Monkeys,” takes place at Christmas.   The beginning of “Cast Away” starts with a Christmas dinner that gets cut short.   You literally can make this excuse with a plethora of movies that use the holidays as a background.  All it takes is a bit of imagination when it comes to what you want to watch. 

If you are sick of the standard fair of cliché movies every holiday then take time to remember that you can always be very open minded with what is considered a Christmas classic.  When a channel decides to do a 24-hour marathon of a single movie you can offer another suggestion from that island of misfit movies and enjoy something different and maybe even share it with someone else.