Downhill and all the images you see in this review are owned by Searchlight Pictures
Directed by Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
Let’s see… I don’t remember seeing any trailers for this, I didn’t know it was coming out until the day before I saw it, and I haven’t even seen Veep yet. Yeah, not sure what to say about this one going into it, especially since Sonic The Hedgehog took up all my attention last weekend. But hey, I’m sure SOMEONE out there is excited for this film, right? It made it to Sundance! Did SONIC make it to Sundance? I think NOT! Yeah okay, it’s got a good cast but Will Ferrell hasn’t been on the best of streaks lately so I’m giving this about a fifty-fifty shot at being any good. Does it manage to beat the odds and be the surprise hit of the weekend, or will the only thing people remember about this is that it’s the film that tried to take on the Blue Furball on his opening weekend? Let’s find out!!
Pete and Billie Staunton (Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus) have taken their sons Finn and Emerson (Julian Grey and Ammon Jacob Ford) to the Alps for a family vacation which frankly Pete really needed as his father died a mere eight months ago and he’s been shaken up about it ever since. You know how these things go however; the kids would rather just be on their screens all day, the busy schedule means everyone is tired, and all this extra effort and tension is bubbling up repressed negativity in unexpected ways. Perhaps the MOST unexpected way though is what Pete ends up doing that puts a huge damper on things for the rest of the trip! At one point the family is enjoying their lunch on the patio when an avalanche starts to approach, and like what any of us would do (what, you WOULDN’T do this?) Pete grabs his phone and skedaddles while Billie clings to the kids and hopes that they don’t all die in the snowfall. They don’t of course, but darn it if Pete running away didn’t become the biggest buzzkill of this entire trip, and it calls into question quite a lot about their lives, their relationships, and where this family is headed. Will Billie and Pete find a way to come back together after this bizarre event has torn them apart? Will their kids be able to cope with the fact that their dad left them for dead and is barely even acknowledging this fact? Seriously, what kind of excuse could Pete POSSIBLY come up with to explain that? At that point you might as well just drop a smoke bomb and disappear for the rest of your life.
Annabelle: Creation and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by David F Sandberg
I’m gonna let you all in on a little secret. I absolutely HATE The Conjuring. Seriously, my hatred for that movie may not be on par with something as dreadful as Incarnate, but I was completely miserable while watching it. Even if you ignore the rather gross way it tries to legitimize (or at the very least sensationalize) a pair of “paranormal investigators” who have been bilking people out of money for decades. I mean sure, this is true of ANY of those assholes who purport to be super natural experts (outside of those groups that dress up as Ghostbusters) but it just irks me how a talented cast coupled with a talented director were being wasted on what is essentially propaganda for fraudsters because SPOILER ALERT, GHOSTS AREN’T REAL! I can suspend my disbelief for a movie or basically any work of fiction, but The Conjuring crossed that line by not only claiming to be BASED ON A TRUE STORY, but by doing so in a way that would only boost the supposed validity of people that clearly didn’t deserve it. Anyway, rant over. My hatred over the first movie kept me from seeing the sequel which got GOOD reviews as well as the Annabelle movie which… didn’t. Seemingly realizing the hole they dug themselves into, Warner Bros is trying to pull a Ouija: Origin of Evil; not just because they got the same actress from THAT movie, but by creating a retro prequel that looks to have nothing to do with the other film. Sounds like a good movie as far as I’m concerned. ANYTHING to get us as far away from The Warrens as humanly possible! Does their gamble to distance themselves from the first crappy movie manage to pay off, or was this a bad idea then and an even worse idea now? Let’s find out!!
Back in the good ol’ days before polio vaccines were widely available, there was a little girl named Annabelle (Samara Lee) who got the Pet Semetary treatment, i.e. she got hit by a car that REALLY should have been going a lot slower! Her parents Samuel and Esther (Anthony LaPaglia and Miranda Otto) get very depressed with the latter even suffering from some sort of degenerative disease, but they eventually open their doors to a group of orphans who have nowhere else to go. The two main orphan girls Janice and Linda (Talitha Bateman and Lulu Wilson) soon realize that weird stuff is going on with the former even finding a mysterious doll in Annabelle’s old room. Okay, not so much her room but what looks to be a War Room that’s been secretly carved into her wall… for some reason. Anyway, we eventually find out that the doll houses some sort of demon that was passing itself off as the ghost of Annabelle, but the parents found out and locked it away! I figure they should have BURNED the damn thing instead, but I guess locking it behind a not-so-secret door and leaving the key out so that practically ANYONE could find it was a good option too! And so Janice spends the rest of the movie trying to convince her fellow orphans as well as Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman) that something weird is going on, but no one other than Linda seems to take it seriously which can only mean that things are gonna get worse and worse in the house as Demon Annabelle is free to roam the halls and I guess extract its revenge. Can Janice and Linda survive the near constant onslaught of spookiness brought about by the demon? Will everyone else wise up to what’s going on before it’s too late? How does someone make this doll and the NOT expect it to be a demon magnet!?
This 2014 film based on a graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux (who also wrote all the Underworld movies), somehow take the Frankenstein monster and has him fighting legions of demons. Well you can’t say that’s not one of hell of premise! I’m actually for wacky premises like this with characters you’d never expect. Hell, it’s not like Universal was above putting it’s own monsters in crazy and outlandish situations to make a quick buck! They’re the guys who practically invented the idea of cross over movies! All that said, the lukewarm buzz around this film when it was released doesn’t give me a whole lot of hope, but you never know with something like this. Is the movie a fun and cheesy romp, or is it just as bad as every says it is? Let’s find out!!