Friday, October 25, 2019
By Matt Pascarella
Runtime: 1 hour, 33 mins.
Way, way back in 2009, we were introduced to four characters in a post-apocalyptic world. They were running from (what else), zombies, and choose to identify themselves by where they were from. The first ‘Zombieland’ is very funny and worth watching, but all you really need to know to watch the second film is that Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) are still alive ten years later. This movie is called Double Tap, because that is one of the many rules explained throughout both movies.
‘Zombieland: Double Tap’ is funny from the moment you see the image for Columbia Pictures. It begins with Columbus identifying a few types of zombies they’ve discovered through the years.
The group is currently living in the White House and it is described that they were a family making everyday feel like Christmas. Little Rock, the youngest in the group, expresses that she would like to leave and look for people her own age. Wichita and Little Rock leave Columbus and Tallahassee.
Very soon after, Columbus meets Madison (Zoey Deutch) who has been living in a refrigerator at a mall. A little while later, Wichita returns and tells the others Little Rock met a boy, Berkley (Avan Jogia), and they took off together. Madison, Wichita, Columbus and Tallahassee all go looking for Little Rock.
They head to Graceland, because they had all talked of going there, but when the four get there, it’s not as they expected. In a nearby motel (Elvis-themed, of course) Tallahassee meets Nevada (Rosario Dawson).
Meanwhile, Little Rock and Berkley have gone to the pacifist, gun-free, setting of Babylon.
The group meets Albuquerque (Luke Wilson) and Flagstaff (Thomas Middleditch), and what follows is nothing short of mayhem.
Everyone eventually finds Babylon and Little Rock – and after they do - Tallahassee decides to separate from the group, but quickly changes his mind when he sees a hoard of zombies coming for Babylon. Can the group get rid of these zombies before they reach Babylon? Will there be any casualties?
With an all-star cast, Zombieland: Double Tap is fun from start to finish. It reminded me of a much funnier version of the TV show, “The Walking Dead.” They both have a similar premise and similar scenery. This movie is very violent and gruesome, with a lot of blood and some salty language.
Harrelson and Deutch are great. With clever lines like ‘the King [Elvis] is dead...probably’ along with a surprise here and there, this is the perfect zom-com pre or post Halloween. I give it two zombie limbs, of your choice, up.
Oh, and don’t leave right after the movie; stay for the credits – you won’t regret it!
Friday, October 18, 2019
Run time: 2 hours and 2 mins.
Ok, “Breaking Bad” fans - this is the moment we’ve been waiting for. What happened to Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) after the end of the series? “EL Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie” answers this question. If you haven’t seen “Breaking Bad” yet, I highly recommend it.
The story of a chemistry teacher, Walter White (Bryan Cranston), gone bad is one of the greatest shows ever created. This movie does give you a series recap, mainly focusing on Walter and Jesse’s relationship and what Jesse was put through by working with Walter. However, watching the series will give you a better understanding of many of the things that happen throughout the film.
The movie opens with a flashback to Jesse and business associate Mike (Jonathan Banks) talking about starting over and where they would go if they had the chance. Jesse says starting over would enable him to put things right, and Mike corrects him by saying that putting things right is the one thing he can never do.
Fast forward to right where “Breaking Bad” ended for Jesse. He goes to former business partners Badger (Matt Jones) and Skinny Pete’s (Charles Baker) house, looking for protection. The news is covering the exact thing Jesse is running from; even interviewing Jesse’s parents. Jesse is a suspect and there are police everywhere. He is very paranoid and suffers flashbacks of his mistreatment during the series.
There is a lot of back and forth between Jesse’s past while working with Walter, and the present. You get a different perspective and interactions with characters from the series.
The police have put a tracker on Jesse’s EL Camino and Badger and Skinny Pete give him a new ride and some cash to get out of town. The EL Camino is left at Badger and Skinny Pete’s house. Jesse rips a page from the phonebook and Skinny Pete gives him an untraceable cellphone.
What follows is a satisfying epilogue (though I do not think this story is over) to Jesse Pinkman’s life, post Walter White.
This movie delivered in the way “Breaking Bad” used to. Writer and creator, Vince Gilligan, has once again hit a homerun. His storytelling ability is fantastic and everything in the “Breaking Bad” universe is gripping and leaves your eyes glued to find out what happens next.
The character development in the series carries over to the film. You definitely see the toll working with Walter has taken on Jesse. There isn’t as much action in ‘EL Camino’ as I thought there would be, but there are definitely moments that catch you off guard and there is a surprise or two you’ll have to see for yourself. The movie has some nice callbacks to significant moments or locations in the series – like the Vacuum cleaner store – and I found the ending mildly satisfying, though it did leave me wanting more. To be fair, if it’s “Breaking Bad”-related, it always leaves you wanting more.
Friday, October 11, 2019
By Matt Pascarella
Run Time: 1 hour and 41 minutes
Based on the novel by Stephen King and son, Joe Hill, “In the Tall Grass” tells the story of a vast field in what appears to be the middle of nowhere that is impossible to get out of...and can be deadly.
Blades of grass sway back and forth and back and forth. The camera slowly zooms in on the tall grass. Brother Cal (Avery Whitted) and sister Becky (Laysla De Oliveira) – who is pregnant – are driving to San Diego. They pull over next to a giant field because Becky is carsick.
Suddenly, they hear screaming and cries for help. A child claims he has been stuck in the field for days. “Something is not right about this,” Becky stated.
The two enter the field and quickly get separated, unable to find each other. After calling out for each other for a while, they decide to bail on the kid and just get out of the field.
Out of nowhere, Becky meets Ross Humbolt (Patrick Wilson) and Cal meets Tobin (Will Buie Jr.). Ross is Tobin’s dad. Tobin says he entered the tall grass
Cut to a man (Harrison Gilbertson) looking for Becky. He comes across their car, and from the looks of it, it’s been there for days. The man goes into the grass and meets Tobin. Tobin knows the man’s name, Travis, and that he is looking for Becky. Travis discovers what happened to Becky.
Here’s where I found the movie a little hard to follow. We either enter a space-time continuum of some sort or it’s a flashback. We see more of Becky and Cal’s story after they entered the tall grass; the whole time they are searching for people they met or people they think are in the tall grass. Tobin gets on Travis’ shoulders and helps them locate a house they use as a vantage point until it just disappears. They meet up with Ross again and try to find a way out; will they?
This was another movie I had semi-high hopes for because it was based on a novel by Stephen King. This movie was not particularly scary or much of a thriller, but it had a few parts where you could see something was or might by building and more than one part where something happened that I didn’t see coming at all.
Multiple parts were visually appealing, and this movie had several different point of view shots that were kind of cool. Some portions of the film were very slow, but it did have a creepiness to it that left you thinking ‘what will happen now?’ There was a mild predictability and I was confused by what was real and what was not. Overall, this was an OK movie, but the end left me wanting more. Worth watching to judge for yourself.
Friday, October 4, 2019
By Matt Pascarella
Runtime: 1 hour, 32 min
It’s October! And that means scary movies. ‘Haunt’ is from the writers of ‘A Quiet Place’ (if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it) and produced by horror movie producer/writer/actor Eli Roth, so immediately I was onboard. It tells the story of six friends who go through an extreme haunted house, only to find out it’s much more than they were expecting.
The movie opens in Carbondale, Illinois where three girls are getting ready to go out on Halloween. They go to a club where they meet a guy who tells them about a haunted house. They meet up with two other friends and head to the haunted house. They are greeted by a silent clown and in order to enter they must deposit their phones in a lock box as well as sign a waiver. In the distance, they hear a woman screaming. They enter the house anyway and the clown closes the door behind them.
As they walk through, it starts out a little cheesy, but soon becomes creepier. They see a few unsettling images. It gets creepier when they come across three doors designed as coffins and they must decide which door to go through. They begin to suspect they are being followed...are they? Things go south quickly when a member of the group becomes seriously hurt. A member of the haunted house offers to help them. This only makes things worse. One member of the group manages to find his way out of the haunted house. He quickly notices the box with their cell phones is missing. Now things go from worse to horrible. The group does eventually find their phones, but has trouble accessing them. Can the group make it out of this haunted house gone very bad?
I went into this movie with high expectations, maybe too high. Eli Roth is a decent horror movie producer/writer and has done movies like the ‘Hostel’ trilogy and ‘Cabin Fever.’ What really drew me in was that it was written by Bryan Woods and Scott Beck who wrote ‘A Quiet Place.’
‘Haunt’ does have a strong start where you wonder about the weird clown who says nothing and what this haunted house could have in it that a waiver would be necessary (I kind of knew, but was still curious how it was going to happen). About halfway through the second act, they kind of lost me. This movie is very, very gruesome and bloody. It has a few jump scares but is not really that scary overall. It drags in the middle and never really regains its momentum.
I got bored once I realized what was about to happen and lost interest in the outcome. This was definitely not worth renting and I wouldn’t recommend it. You should watch anything else instead. Two severed thumbs down.