Truth or Dare and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Jeff Wadlow
Another day, another PRESENTED BY BLUMHOUSE film, which basically means it’s time to flip a coin! Heads Blumhouse wins, tails I lose but Blumhouse still makes a bunch of money! They’re certainly a studio that’s had their ups and downs as they’ve been responsible for getting films like Get Out and the Purge Franchise to the big screen, but are also responsible for The Gallows, at least half the Paranormal Activity movies, and that first Ouija movie. Now normally I’m at least SOMEWHAT aware when Blumhouse is putting out a horror film (at least one that has a shot of getting a wide release) but this one flew COMPLETELY under my radar which can only mean good things, right!? Does this film manage to rise above the underwhelming marketing it’s received and be a gem in its own right, or is this gonna be worse than Jem in its own right (yet ANOTHER of Blumhouse’s failures)? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with a group of friends traveling to Mexico to celebrate Spring Break by drinking booze and eating nachos! One of the young women named Olivia (Lucy Hale) ends up meeting some cool dude named Carter (Landon Liboiron) and he leads the whole group to some abandoned church in the middle of nowhere to… I don’t know, party I guess? Doesn’t SEEM like the place to get wasted considering how much dirt and broken stuff is littering the floor, but Carter ends up convincing them to play a game of Truth or Dare. It goes… alright I guess, but Carter eventually flees and leaves Olivia with a warning; KEEP PLAYING THE GAME OR ELSE! Well THAT certainly seems weird. Anyway, the group heads back home to continue their college education, but soon enough ghostly figures and other strange occurrences compel them to continue the game with HORRIFIC results. Basically you can either do the challenge the ghostly visions propose which USUALLY involves hurting someone or hurting themselves, OR the ghosts will make them commit suicide because THAT’S not tasteless in the least! So I guess the game is on as each one of them has to take turns being tortured and risking death until… something happens I guess? I mean, that something is PROBABLY death considering there doesn’t seem to be a Get Out of Jail Free card for this situation, so… keep your chin up I guess! Can this group of friends find a way to outsmart this game that for whatever reason has followed them back home? What secrets will they learn about each other as the game continues, and how far will they be pushed to go just to survive? Did someone fall asleep at the wheel over at Blumhouse, because that’s the only excuse I can think of for how this managed to get past even THEIR lax standards!
Passengers and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures
Directed by Morten Tyldum
I’ve started watching Parks and Recreations recently and seeing Chris Pratt in that film has started to color my perceptions of him as a leading man. Sure, Guardians of the Galaxy still holds up as he’s still playing up to his comedic strengths, but every time I see the poster for this movie with him and Jennifer Lawrence blandly starring back with their chiseled Hollywood looks, it’s just gotten harder to take that seriously when all I can think of Burt Macklin: The best FBI agent ever! Still, the guy does have a HUGE amount of talent and more than enough charisma to carry a movie, so maybe he’s the right fit to bring some humanity to this kind of science fiction story and can hold his own against an actress of Jennifer Lawrence’s caliber. Does Passengers manage to give us a compelling story anchored by two great performances from some of the most bankable names in the business right now, or is this a giant misstep that will be stain on their relatively strong careers up to this point? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with everyone’s favorite member of Mouse Rat in a giant space mall that’s hurtling through the galaxy at a preposterous rate but still too slow for anyone to if they had to manually control the damn thing. That’s why the ship is on autopilot and presumptive hero Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) along with the other five thousand people on this ship are in hibernation pods and riding out this long journey to the new space colony on Homestead II. Unfortunately for Starlord, there’s some malfunction that wakes his ass, and ONLY his ass, before everyone else with no way to go back to sleep and is trapped alone on this space ship for the next ninety years. At first it’s not all bad considering he sort of has the run of the place which is full of video games, movies, and sushi, and he even has a friendly robotic bartender (Michael Sheen) to air his grievances at. Eventually though, he manages to taste every variation on the tuna roll, got the high score in the latest instalment of Just Dance, and manages to drink half the ship’s wine cellar within about a year, so doing this for another 89 of them isn’t all that appealing. He basically has two options at this point; kill himself or wake someone else up to keep him company. Well we wouldn’t really have a movie if they went with the former (that actually would be a pretty awesome short film) so he JUST SO HAPPENS to fixate on a writer named Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) and eventually cracks open her hibernation pod and pretends it was an accident just like his was. Will she be able to fill the silence that has driven him to the brink of madness and give a reason to live once again? What could he possibly do to make up for essentially kidnapping her and ruining her life as she’s doomed to suffer the same fate as him, and what will happen when she finds out the truth? Well there IS an airlock. I’m pretty sure she could have some fun with that.
Jem and the Holograms and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Jon M Chu
We all saw the trailer and most of us had one reaction which was to try and repress our gag reflexes. It just seemed like a really poor adaptation of a cartoon that probably means a lot for many people and a much lesser version of what we’re currently getting from the IDW comics. Still, trailers aren’t always accurate in showing what a movie will ultimately be, and the director is someone I think has quite a bit of talent. Can they manage to make something at least half way decent of a series that’s ripe for an updated adaptation? Yeah… no. It’s not good at all. Just how bad did they screw this up? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows Jerrica Benton (Aubrey Peeples) who lives with her aunt (Molly Ringwald), her sister Kimber (Stefanie Scott), and her two foster sisters Shana and Aja (Aurora Perrineau and Hayley Kiyoko). Her father died some time ago which is why she and Kimberly are living with Claire Standish and her the other two and the only thing he seems to have left (the guy most not have had insurance) is a non-functioning robot he made and a pair of ear rings that sadly don’t do what you think they should do. All is not good at the house Pretty in Pink bought however, because the bank is foreclosing on them for… some reason, and Jerrica finds out about it. In what I guess is either a despite move to get internet famous or an outlet of her frustration, she puts on a bunch of make, hides in the shadows, and films herself singing a song she wrote. She’s too afraid to post it online because they had to put in at least SOMETHING Jem related (Jerrica’s fear of performing) but Kimber ends up getting a hold of it puts it online. Sure enough, a poorly filmed video of a girl singing while strumming an acoustic guitar becomes the next big YouTube sensation and everyone is instantly in love with whoever this Jem is. In comes the EVIL head of Starlight Records Erica Raymond (Juliette Lewis playing a gender swapped version of Eric Raymond) to offer Jem a deal with her label. She eventually agrees, gets her siblings to go along with her (not the Aunt because who needs adult supervision these days?) and they begin their journey to super stardom with all its ups and downs, betrayals and reconciliations, romances with hot dudes, and everything else you’ve seen before. Oh, and the robot’s name is Synergy and it’s doing… something. Whatever. OH! And Rio is actually Erica’s son. Because why not.