Flatliners and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures
Directed by Niels Arden Oplev
There are several movies a year that for whatever reason has trailers that will not stop playing in front of EVERYTHING I go to see. I remember Our Brand is Crisis being one of them, The Fate of the Furious played pretty constantly, even Snatched was one that was hard to avoid! This movie is certainly the latest to have that problem as I swear it was in front of every movie I’ve seen for the past three months and I’m finally happy for it to be released for no other reason than to stop seeing that trailer. I’d never seen the original film until very recently, and while the premise itself seems strong enough to support at least too movies, the trailers didn’t fill me with much hope; not just because they played them ALL THE TIME, but because I couldn’t really wrap my head around what exactly it was that they were being haunted by. I mean… I get it NOW since I watched the original, but with lines like “I did not know that the side effects would show up and start hunting us down”… yeah, it just felt like I was in for an uphill battle. Still, remakes are a great opportunity to try something new (*cough* IT *cough*), so maybe there’s a chance that this will turn out just fine! Will this manage to be just as good if not better than the original, or was this film… dead on arrival!?
Sorry. Let’s uh… let’s find out.
The titular Flatliners of the film are a group of medical students who doing some messed up experiments in the basement in the hope of finding out the secrets of the afterlife. The procedure which was concocted by Dr Courtney Holmes (Ellen Page) involves stopping someone’s heart (i.e. a flatline on an EKG machine) and letting them stay dead for a few minutes before reviving them. Initially with the uncertain help of Sophia and Jamie (Kiersey Clemons and James Norton) the group eventually grows to include Marlo and Ray (Nina Dobrev and Diego Luna) and most of them end up doing it themselves as well. At first it seems awesome as coming back from the dead apparently makes your brain SUPER strong, but eventually the SIDE EFFECTS start to kick in which complicates things for them. They start to see things that aren’t really there (OR ARE THEY!?) and it eventually becomes nearly impossible to separate fantasy from reality. Will the Flatliners find a way to stop whatever it is that’s haunting them? Is there something in their past that is the key to doing so? Seriously, why are they making it THIS easy for everyone to do the “dead on arrival” joke!?
The Bad Batch and all the images you see in this review are owned by Neon
Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour
So has anyone else heard of this? I certainly hadn’t heard of it until I was looking up movies to watch during a trip I was taking, and once I saw the cast I was IMMEDIATELY excited to see just what the hell it is! We’ve got two actors who are quite possibly in the prime of their careers (Jason Momoa and Keanu Reeves) and they even managed to fish Jim Carrey out of obscurity who’s been one of my favorite actors since I was a kid; personal stuff and recent filmography notwithstanding. How the hell did this movie manage to fly under the radar!? Is it one of those weird obscurities that’ll be a treasured masterpiece to its target audience, or is this movie unsalvageable even with its all-star cast which is why it was dumped as a limited release? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with a woman named Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) being dropped off in some desert wasteland which appears to be the dumping ground for “societal undesirables” that this dystopian future government has set up in Texas. I don’t know why they don’t just shoot them in the head instead of letting them wander the desert with no water, food, or supplies, but whatever. The point is that she’s in a harsh and lawless world filled with other terrible people that want to hunt and eat everyone they come across. That’s right, we’re dealing with cannibals in this movie that honestly probably don’t NEED to be eating people (there are scenes that confirm editable plant life exists out here) but just like the extra protein I guess. The bad news is that she gets caught rather early and loses an arm and a leg (literally), but the good news is that she escapes and manages to make it to a cannibal free sanctuary city known as Comfort ran by what is essentially a cult leader named The Dream (Keanu Reeves). A bit on the nose, but I guess when you don’t have TV to watch, you basically have to add theatrics to your own life just to keep things interesting. Anyway, from there we’re basically following Arlen who’s trying to find her place in this harsh and merciless world as well as meet a colorful cast of wasteland wanders who have their own shit to deal with, such as another cannibal known as The Miami Man (Jason Momoa), a wandering hermit who’s pretty much a True Neutral in all this (Jim Carrey), and even a little girl (Jayda Fink) who winds up with Arlen after a… particularly grim confrontation. Will Arlen lose her soul in a world that never rewards those who are Good Samaritans? Just what does The Dream have planned for the people of Comfort, and is it any less awful than what The Miami Man does? Is this what a Mad Max movie would be like without the cars, interesting characters, fast pace, and exceptional cinematography!?
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by Gareth Edwards
In what will surely be a yearly tradition until the day we all die, Disney has given us our holiday present in the form of another Star Wars movie. We’re only at two so far which means they PROBABLY aren’t gonna start half-assing these just yet, and in fact this one seems to be willing to take a few more risks than what we would normally expect from franchise features like this. Okay, the fact that it’s a one-time spin off means that they’re only so much damage this can do if it blows up in their faces, but the tone of the trailers and the nature of the story they’re telling at least inspires some hope that the franchise has gotten so big that they’re willing to let it take some chances. Does this experiment in growing the series turn out to be a total success, or will this somehow be the worst prequel yet? Okay, I kind of doubt that’s even possible, but you never know!
The movie begins a long time ago in a galaxy far far away where little Jyn Erso (Beau Gadsdon) has her life completely uprooted when her family is found by Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) who is a high ranking member of the galactic empire. Why did this guy hunt halfway around the galaxy for them? Well it turns out that Jyn’s father Galen (Mads Mikkelsen) is an Empire scientist who defected and they need him back to finish some super weapon they’re working on. The good news is that Jyn manages to escape the Empire with the help of a family friend Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker). The bad news is that her mother (Valene Kane) got killed in the process and dear old dad got kidnapped. Flash forward to sometime later where we meet grown up Jyn (Felicity Jones) who’s been rebellious youth-ing all around the galaxy and winds up at Rebel headquarters where they have a proposition for her. Go with the rebel agent Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) to find her father and stop him from finishing the Death Star as he seems to be looking for a way out once again. Okay, it’s not QUITE that simple, but that’s the basic idea of what they’re trying to do! Anyway, they’ll point her in the right direction in the hopes that her skills and connections will kill two birds with one stone; she gets her dad back and they get to stop the Space Nuke from being completed. Of course, nothing is as easy as it seems and there’s plenty of treachery to go around as the mission becomes only more difficult once the Empire get wind of what they might be up to. Can Jyn save her farther before the Empire find out if he’s been undercutting their progress on the super weapon this entire time? Does Cassian have a hidden agenda that he’s not telling Jyn about? On a scale of one to Vader, how screwed are they?