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Monday at 11:01 A.M. (2016)
Lead Actor / Writer / Director
This movie had a good premise. The one, single thing that kept it from being a good film, was the lead actor, Charles Agron, who also served as writer and producer. Based on his dazzling display of acting, it would seem the only he could get in front of the camera, was to control behind it. His acting is just plain terrible. Have of his emotional range included hanging his mouth open while he thought of his next line.
Many of the actors take it over the top in their performances. The only bright spot, was the actress playing Jenny, Lauren Shaw. She played the role effortlessly and seemed very believable in her performance.
Honestly, I would skip the dud and avoid any other films that have Charles Agron listed as an actor.
Jeepers Creepers 3 (2017)
Made for DVD release
I have to say that I really enjoyed the first two installments for this franchise. They were original and well done. Then we get to the third entry. I am sure this was a made for DVD release film that the producers decided to get a few more dollars out of and released it for one day only at the theaters. Smart ploy. Who would want to see it the after the reviews from that first day were released.
This film was horribly acted. Brandon Smith plays the incompetent Sheriff Tubbs. He is so over the top. Horribly over the top that his performance almost comes across as comedic. Meg Foster, who is a reasonable actress, but not an Academy Award performer, is sadly almost as bad. The rest of the cast is much the same.
Gina Phillips is in the last five minutes of the film, even though she is billed as a top star. The plot is so convoluted that it is confusing. The cinematography is poorly done. The direction is poorly done. The acting is poorly done. The script is poorly done. Getting the picture? And the twist in the second to the last scene was nothing more than a contrivance.
And finally, Victor Salva had two of his trademarks in this film as well: slow pandering over the backsides of the hunky young stars and making sure those same guys had to take their shirts off. We all know about Salva's, but squeezing these events into every film regardless of necessity has become a bit much.
Alien: Covenant (2017)
I really wanted to like this entry in the Alien franchise. The predecessors had been well done, even Prometheus, which, while I was not knocked out by it, appreciated what it brought to the franchise. I was however, mostly disappointed wit this entry.
This entry was slow and I mean very slow. It felt like we were watching any another Sci-Fi film, instead of an 'Alien' film. Even Alien 3, which ran slowly, seems like a sprint in comparison to Covenant.
Casting was unusual. Academy Award nominated actor, James Franco, has three lines and dies in the first 10 minutes of the film. Carmen Ejogo and Jussie Smollett are mostly wasted. Billy Crudup came across as whiny. The three bright spots were Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston and, very surprising to me, Danny McBride. All three did a great job with their roles and with the scripts put in front of them. I have never been a big fan of Danny Mcbride, but he really did a great job with the role and I found his performance to be quite good.
Leading up to the premiere of Covenant, this is the film that was supposed to tie Prometheus to the earlier franchise entries and "answer all of our questions". It does not deliver, at least to the last part of that promise. There is already another entry slated for 2019. The producers over-promised, under-delivered and pulled a last minute fast one. They did not explain many of the unanswered questions for that matter.
The biggest disappointment was the genesis of the xenomorphs. Through all of the predecessors to this film, we were lead to believe that when the aliens blended with another creature, the two DNAs led to a new hybrid. This entry tells us it was all David's fault. Bad, bad David. What a sad revelation and an even sadder way to tie up the mythos behind the franchise. David, like all of the androids in the series (with the exception, of Call in Alien Resurrection) have been bad to some degree. This 'revelation' was like saying the butler did it.
I could only give it a 6/10.
I have to say that we generally avoid movies with sub-titles and Asian films. We want to watch the movie, not read the sub-titles and most Asian films do not make sense to me because of the cultural differences. Train to Busan had both these as strikes against it, yet for some reason, we decided to give it a shot, fully expecting to hate it and have another selection going in short time. Boy were we wrong!! About fifteen minutes into the movie, the main characters had been introduced, the stage set and the roller-coaster started heading down the first hill. And a roller-coaster ride it was. We were on the edge of our seats: anxious, happy, sad, shocked, the full gamut of emotions.
This is a zombie film, but it is an intelligent zombie film. The director does not resort to cheap gags and scenes that all of the zombie films now-a-days fall prey to. In many respects, it reminded me of World War Z and very well could have occurred in the same universe.
Sang-ho Yeon, who also wrote the screenplay, did an amazing job with direction. He gave the film depth and subtle levels.
Yoo Gong and Soo-an Kim, who play the father and daughter respectively, were so believable in their roles. The majority of the cast deserve praise for their work: you hate who you should hate, you like who you should like you change opinions about the ones you should change your minds about. But it does go beyond the simple classification of "good guys" and "bad guys".
Whether you like zombie movies or just a good "who lives, who dies" film, give this little gem a shot. You will be surprised.
*** Spoiler Alert ***
For a 'no-budget film', this was actually far better than I was expecting. The acting was good, but not stellar. The premise, while not fresh, was handled well. And for the small budget this film would have had, it was done well. That being said, I have three issues with the film.
The main issue is with the reactions of the characters. Jake has one blackout episode and immediately assumes he is a werewolf. Jake tells his cousin, Brandon, that he is a werewolf and Brandon says "okay' and just takes it at face value. Jake sees his cousin laying on the floor of the garage and covers his crotch before he goes to check on him and keeps it covered the entire time his cousin is dying. Rose asks Jake to kill her husband, Gonzo, and he says sure and just goes with it. Rose watches Jake dispatch Gonzo and his two henchmen and continues over to Jake's house for safety. Jake's uncle invites him to his cabin to see if he has the werewolf gene and then disappears instead of helping the kid. When Turner finds the GoPro case with blood on it, he automatically assumes something nefarious had happened.
If someone blacked out and woke up naked somewhere else, normal people would not automatically assume they are a werewolf. If someone said they were a werewolf, normal people would laugh and take it as a joke until they proved otherwise. If a person woke up to see their cousin laying dead or dying on the floor, the last thing on their mind would be to hide their twigs and berries before rushing to his aide and then keeping them covered while that cousin died. If someone asked a person to kill their spouse, normal people would go to the police or, at the least, bow out and keep their distance from that person. If anyone watched a person change into a werewolf and dispatch three men, the last place they would go to for safety would be the werewolf's house. If the uncle was truly concerned about Jake having the gene, he would have stuck around and helped him out, not left him hanging in the wind. And if Turner was such a great friend, he would look to a nose bleed, a cut on Jake's hand or some such, before going to murderer as an explanation for the blood. Plain and simple, these people do not react the way normal people would react.
The second big issue is with the transformation Jake goes through. The first two times he blacks out, he wakes up completely naked. The final time, he remains in his clothes and they are still on him the next morning, without being ripped up. How do they get ripped to shreds twice and then remain intact the final time?
The final issue is with the side stories in the film. The story lines with Gonzo the drug-dealer, Kyle and Crystal, and Rose's dog, muddle the story instead of adding to it. They could have edited those down or out completely and had a much better film.