Annabelle: Creation is Really … um … Good?

Annabelle: Creation is Really … um … Good?

Reviewed by Adam Trolley Bing for

(Editor’s note: Film critic Adam Trolley Bing has admitted to not actually seeing Annabelle: Creation before posting the following review.)

Annabelle: Creation … Wow. I mean, where do I even begin? This is one of those movies where I really don’t want to say too much and give away anything important. That would be irresponsible criticism.

I will say that this movie is nothing if not professionally made. For example, the cinematography is extraordinary. The film was obviously shot with professional-grade cameras, the kind only true pros would bother to use. And boy does it pay off, because the movie is almost always in focus and every frame makes visual sense. Like, when the camera is pointing at a person or something really scary or a piece of furniture or something, you totally believe what you’re seeing on the screen. You just don’t see that kind of technical wizardry every day in Hollywood films.

And don’t even get me started on the sound design. This film is just jam-packed with all sorts of sounds. I consider myself a bit of a “sound aficionado,” so believe me when I say that the scope, diversity, and quality of sounds in this movie is absolutely mind blowing. Trust me, you’ll be black and blue from pinching yourself in disbelief at how realistic some of these sounds are. I can’t even remember how many times I said to myself “Oh yeah, I recognize that sound.” And if it’s realism you crave, wait until you see the costume design.

The women’s costumes in the film are astounding. They really look like the kind of stuff these particular characters would have in their closets. The same can pretty much be said for all the male characters as well. There is one male character in particular whose choice of pants really speaks volumes about who he is as a person, where he’s been, and where he wants to go. All of his hopes and dreams are right there on display in the face of his belt buckle, and the way in which the fabric fades a little near his pockets suggests an unfulfilled longing that hits me right in my gut even now, long after seeing the film. But let’s not forget that these amazing costumes are just empty vessels without talented actors to inhabit them and allow them to realize their full potential.

Luckily, this movie is defined by great performances. According to Wikipedia—I mean according to the credits, which I sat and watched in their entirety, the movie stars Stephanie Sigman as Sister Charlotte. And, oh, man, does she ever give a whopper of a performance. I’m sure nuns are going to see this and say “She totally nailed us.” And then there’s Anthony LaPaglia and Miranda Otto as a married couple. Let me tell ya’, there isn’t one second of film where you don’t believe that these two are married. They play a married couple so well that I’d be shocked if their real-life spouses didn’t crap their pants out of sheer jealousy. Years from now, people will look back on these performances in history classes to study the way married people used to behave.

So … is Annabelle: Creation scary? I would have to say … uh … yeah, pretty much, sure. I mean, if you like atmospheric ghost stories with great acting, professional camera work, seamless editing, a believable sound design, and character-defining costumes, all set to a score that just really utilizes the perfect number of musical instruments, then Annabelle: Creation is probably for you. But what’s really fun about a movie like this is the debate that I’m sure people will be having in the days and weeks to come over the film’s various uses of all kinds of really interesting themes, motifs, and metaphors and whatnot.

For the record, I hope my analysis hasn’t gone too deep, and that I haven’t ruined the film for anyone. Any spoilers present in this review are completely accidental, I promise.

I give Annabelle: Creation 5 question marks (?????) out of a possible 5.

(Annabelle: Creation is rated R for any number of vague, adult-type things and situations that are not easily described but that people under 17 really shouldn’t see. I mean, the MPAA has a tough job, so who am I to question their criteria for rating a movie like this. Now, I can’t say for sure that I would have given this film an R, but my opinion doesn’t matter. Although, now that I think about it, I probably wouldn’t take my children to see this film. Of course, I don’t have children, but that’s hardly the fault of Annabelle: Creation or the MPAA.)

The Dark Tower is a Real Buzzer Beater

The Dark Tower is a Real Buzzer Beater

Reviewed by Annie Poppler for

(Editor’s note: Film critic Annie Poppler is a sports novice who has recently begun dating a sport’s writer. Keep this in mind when reading the following review, which is for entertainment purposes only.)

The latest Stephen King adaptation to totally body-slam multiplexes around the globe, The Dark Tower, is a stunning achievement, combining the majesty and power of a LaBron James slam dunk, the silky smoothness of a Steph Curry 3-bomb, and the looming terror of Dennis Rodman doing just about anything. The film, which seamlessly combines genre elements of horror, westerns, action, and fantasy, is directed with a sense of confidence and surehandedness of something akin to Bill Belichick leading his New England Patriots onto the field of battle in pursuit of yet another Super Bowl victory.

The film stars Idris Elba as Roland, a gunslinger on a mission to save his world from extinction while being pursued by a ruthless horde of creatures hell-bent on stopping him. These villains are headlined by Matthew McConaughey as Walter o’Dim (a.k.a. The Man in Black, a.k.a a few other names I don’t remember). Both Elba and McConaughey are perfectly cast. Elba’s gunslinger reminds me of Joe Montana, the legendary 49ers QB who earned the nickname “Joe Cool” due to his ability to never be rattled in the face of adversity. (By the way, Montana also boasts a career touchdown to interception ratio that is absolutely ridonkulous. This may not be relevant to my review, but it’s just one of those things that we sports fanatics can’t help but notice whenever we think about Joe Montana—which is, like, a million times every day. Am I right?) And McConaughey plays The Man in Black with the ticking-time-bomb intensity of a young John Daly in the tee box in that critical moment just after one final puff on his cigarette before he totally punishes the poor golf ball with a 5 wood. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if McConaughey were to publicly acknowledge drawing inspiration from Daly’s legendary tee shots—it’s just so obvious in the performance.

So anyway, the Gunslinger and The Man in Black begin this whole Magic Johnson-Larry Bird-style rivalry that can best be described as the cinematic version of a Conor McGregor back kick to the balls. It’s just that powerful. The chase scenes bring to mind the best of the storied history of the Daytona 500. The fight sequences are every bit as harrowing as Ali-Frazier 3. Watching Elba do his thing as the Gunslinger is like watching Mario Lemieux terrorize St. Louis Blues goaltender Rick Wamsley on his way to a hat trick (he actually scored 4 goals; one more than necessary for a hat trick) on New Year’s Eve in 1985. This is one of those movies that is best enjoyed with a Dodger Dog (mustard only) and a cold one … and maybe some nachos. The action is just that awesome. Of course, to be completely honest, I missed a good bit of this film because I was busy checking the day’s baseball scores on my phone. No need to worry; the Dodgers won.

About an hour into the film I settled back in my seat, tore open a pouch of Red Man Chew (I prefer the Golden Blend), and basked in the brilliant glow of men shooting at each other while I occasionally scratched my groin area and spat into a half-empty cup of Diet Dr. Pepper.

Now that’s a great time at the movies!

I give The Dark Tower three gold medals and half a bronze out of a possible 4.

(The Dark Tower is rated PG-13 for some kick-ass stunt work by some amazing athletes who are totally ripped, graphic locker room talk, sporadic taunting, and extended depiction of untended wounds.)

The Emoji Movie: Animated Poop Gets the Star Treatment–Finally!

The Emoji Movie: Animated Poop Gets the Star Treatment—Finally!

Reviewed by Thurston Chatwell for

(Editor’s note: Film critic Thurston Chatwell is a self-proclaimed pop culture expert concerning farts and poop. Keep this in mind when reading the following review.)

As a connoisseur of cinematic gastrointestinal distress, I can’t help but view Hollywood as a bit of a tease. Sure, there was that great campfire scene in Blazing Saddles in which a congregation of hirsute cowpokes, windblown and trail-worn from a long day on the range, relieve their bean-heavy bellies in a blistering symphony of shaky-legged bliss, as a sky of brilliant prairie stars twinkles above and a crackling campfire illuminates these pioneers of cinema in all their twisty-faced glory. Blazing Saddles set a pretty high bar, and let’s face it, the overwhelming majority of attempts by film and TV producers to recreate the magic of Mel Brooks’s legendary campfire crop dusting sequence have failed miserably. Memo to Hollywood Fat Cats: flatulent cowboys don’t happen every day.

Clearly the industry has underestimated the difficulty in bringing realistic flatulence and poopy to the screen. They seem to have no understanding of how delicate the process of depicting characters expelling carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane from their butts really is. Capturing the perfect facial expressions in the play of light and shadow as an actor recreates the farting experience is every cinematographer’s worst nightmare. And it’s also really, really difficult to perform. It’s common knowledge in Hollywood circles that many of the legends of acting have been known to avoid this particular challenge. There’s a reason why you’ve never seen Meryl Streep hunched over, sweating profusely, white-knuckling the back of a sofa, moaning in sweet agony to Jesus above as she spasmodically power blasts the poor lunchtime decisions she made at Taco Bell out of her backside while her skirt flaps violently in the chili-scented breeze. I mean, come on. She may be good, but she’s not that good.

At least Hollywood hasn’t completely given up. There’s that explosive-diarrhea-in-the-trashcan scene in Van Wilder, and, yeah, okay, there’s that pretty-girls-destroy-the-restroom scene in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. Oh, and let’s not forget the lightning-quick glimpse we get in Sin City of that bowling-pin shaped floater in the toilet (the same toilet that Clive Owen’s Dwight character uses to give Benicio del Toro’s Jackie Boy character what is arguably the gnarliest swirlie in movie history). But these examples, like most modern fart/poop scenes, are really more gross than great. We haven’t really seen anything noteworthy since South Park treated us a few heapin’ helpins of Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo. But other than the rare Mr. Hankey appearance, the world of screen farts/poops has become a putrid, stinking, peanut -and corn-infused shell of its former self. I mean, where’s the passion? The artistry? The humanity?

Believe it or not, the answer lies in The Emoji Movie.

The film propounds to be a metaphor for being yourself and following your own path, regardless of what the world thinks about blah, blah, blah … None of that garbage really plays very well, and nobody cares to see a cinematic lecture about the importance of individuality in a time when critical thought is under attack. Come on, Hollywood. Get real. Movie tickets cost money. Let’s get to the poop, already.

The Poop emoji in The Emoji Movie is voiced by—get this—Sir Patrick Stewart, who is the perfect actor with the perfect voice to bring dignity and class back to the world of movie poopy. For true connoisseurs like yours truly, Stewart represents hope—that’s right HOPE. Casting this icon of the stage and screen to play Poop signifies with absolute clarity that the Powers That Be in Hollywood are taking poopy seriously, and that from this day forward the voice of the great Sir Patrick will reign supreme over all of Poopydom. Trust me, this performance is one for the ages. Sir Patrick achieves the seemingly impossible, as his voice imbues Poop with a sense of regality and majesty while simultaneously (and magically) keeping Poop grounded in the real world. Poop’s story is the human story. Poop seeks love and wants to be loved in return. Poop makes mistakes (God knows Poop can make a mess), but Poop also has the capacity to learn from his mistakes. His triumphs are our triumphs; his failures are our failures. Simply put, Poop IS all of us. And we humans are most assuredly Poop. Especially the people who made this movie.

I give The Emoji Movie two pizza slices, four winky faces, a few of those cupcakes with eyes and stuff.

(The Emoji Movie is rated PG for undermining thousands of years of human communication through the popularization of simplistic cartoon iconography that will likely stunt the intellectual growth of generations to come, creating an unbridgeable void between humans and their humanity that will slowly erode the fabric of decent society, turning people into drooling savages who engage in terrible acts of violence for sport, rendering the planet an uninhabitable hellscape and damning us all to an unknowable, terrifying future that can only end in the obliteration of our species. There are also a few fart jokes stuff like that.)

Atomic Blonde

Atomic Blonde is Da Bomb

Reviewed by Jane Doeadeer for

(Editor’s note: Film critic Jane Doeadeer has been missing since the filing of the following review. Anyone with information pertaining to her whereabouts should contact their local law enforcement officials immediately. Do not attempt to make contact with her on your own.)

Violence in Hollywood filmmaking is so passé. This latest generation of so-called action films is really little more than a collection of ultraviolent kill-scenarios haplessly stitched together in a series of nauseating fast cuts of extreme close-ups set to a soundtrack of thundering percussion until the entire screen is rendered nothing more than a dripping, oozing backdrop for bloody bullet wounds, broken bones, and freshly slain bodies. So, as a feminist and a mother of two beautiful, innocent children, I have to ask: Is this brand of immoral violence really entertaining?

In the case of the new Charlize Theron actioner Atomic Blonde the answer is … awww hells to the yeah!!!

I never in my wildest imagination thought that watching a gorgeous woman punch a man in the face could be so exhilarating, so captivating, so life altering. Holy balls was I wrong. Charlize was all hella jacked and knocking out fools with her fists of fury, and I was like, “You go girl. Give them boys what they gots comin’ to ‘em. Show those panty wastes no mercy.” And that’s exactly what my girl Charlize did. Hell, she was havin’ so much fun punchin’ out suckaz I decided to give it a try my damn self. I coldcocked the silly bastard sittin’ next to me in the theater. Hit that boy hard, son. Hella hard. Pretty sure I knocked out a tooth; damn sure I drew blood. Fool looked like he was smuggliln’ a balloon in his bottom lip.

My high was startin’ to fade, so I bounced and went to the gun store round the way and got myself all Glocked up. I been takin’ down scores ever since. Crazy ass clerk at the Stop ‘N Shop tried to step to me, actin’ all tough, like he all that. So I pistol whipped that fool. Now he’ll see my calling card every time he passes a mirror. Sorry it had to go down that way, but don’t poke the bear and act all surprised when ya’ get mauled. Turns out the little prom queen at the jewelry store wasn’t as dumb as she looked. Girl gave up the goods right away. No questions asked. She knew I wasn’t playin’. My eyes told her so.

So now I’m on my way to Mexico. If you really think you can stop me, just get in my way and see what happens. Yeah … I didn’t think so.

Oh, by the way, James McAvoy is really, really good in this. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always like him, but the way in which he continues to mature as an actor is astounding. I mean, he keeps challenging himself to raise his craft to the next level, and I really admire that. Can’t wait to see what he does next.

Yeah, so … anyway … Daaaamn!

I give Atomic Blonde 5 stars out of a possible 5, and a cap in the ass of anyone who disrespects Charlize. She’s my girl!

(Atomic Blonde is rated R for strong language, strong graphic violence, and because the presence of a strong female lead in an action film makes suckaz nervous. And I’m out!)



Don’t Breathe

Don’t Breathe; Moreover, Don’t Buy a Ticket to This Dreck

Reviewed by Doris Goldfarb for

(Editor’s note: Film critic Doris Goldfarb is an octogenarian who rarely sees Don't_Breathe_(2016_film)modern films. Keep this mind when reading the following review.)

Don’t even get me started! Oy gevalt, what a terrible movie Don’t Breathe is. I mean, my God, with the violence and the potty mouth … What the hell happened to movies anyway? This one is even worse than that disaster with the foul-mouthed cartoon hot dog. Ah, the whole thing’s a shanda, I tell ya’. If my Irving—God rest his soul—had seen this movie, he would’ve plotzed, hand to God. Now, I may just be a yenta who loves to kvetch, but I’m sorry, this movie caused me great tsoriss, and I want restitution. Thank God I didn’t have to pay for my ticket. But thirteen dollars for popcorn and a Coke! Thirteen dollars it cost, hand to God. For a nosh? Are you kidding? What am I, made of gelt? Ah, the whole system’s fercockt.

So, anyway, Don’t Breathe tells the story of a troubled shiksa named Rocky (what a pretty name for a girl, am I right?) whose parents neglect her and her baby sister. So now Rocky wants to run away with her sister, but she needs money. By the way, what is it with these young girls today? Rocky dresses like a real nafka, always with the shirts that expose her pupik and the tight pants that highlight the roundness of her tuches. And don’t even get me started on the tattoos. Hand to God, these girls today look like walking comic strips. These little pishers should show off their healthy skin while they have it, not hide it beneath a layer of vulgar graffiti hastily carved into their hides by a bunch of derelicts with electric needles. But I digress.

In order to get the money she needs to run away, Rocky commiserates with her boyfriend, a real shmegegge named—get this—Money. Anyway, Money’s brilliant idea is to break into the house of a blind man who, rumor has it, has a safe just waiting to be burgled. So, with the help of Money’s friend Alex (a total schlemiel, hand to God), Rocky and Money set out to steal their fortune. One problem: the broken-down blind man they’re supposed to steal from is no shmendrick. He may be old and blind, but he’s tough as balls and steady as a moyl at the moment of truth. Soon these ungrateful little bastards are running for their pathetic little lives from this blind gonif with a pair of balls like a Holstein bull and the shvantz of a Triple Crown winner. Sure he may be a violent psychopath, but he doesn’t take crap from teens and he doesn’t sweat the small stuff, and that’s a nice way to live. Good for him.

So, anyway, there’s really no reason for anyone to sit through this whole megillah. It’s really nothing but potty-mouthed kids and violence, and I can see plenty of that any day of the week on the D train, and for free. Bottom line, Don’t Breathe stinks like my friend Gerda’s water closet after a brisket-and-beets lunch from Katz Deli—you know, the one on 53rd across from that place that makes all the pies. Anyway, my point is, don’t bother wasting your time and your money on Don’t Breathe. Just thinking about this movie makes me grepse.

I give Don’t Breathe zero stars, and may it bring shame to those who aided in its creation.

(Don’t Breathe is rated R for just horrible language and some of the most ridiculous violence I’ve seen. Is this really the kind of thing people find entertaining? If so, it’s time for me shuffle off this mortal coil and be with my Irving, hand to God.)

Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad: What it Lacks in Romance, it Also Lacks in Every Other Way

Reviewed by Steve Huntersmith for DecimalPointless and Suicide_Squad_(film)_Poster

(Editor’s note: Film critic Steve Huntersmith is a love-stricken newlywed. Please keep this in mind while reading the following review.)

Suicide Squad, the latest big-budget comic book explode-a-thon to land in thousands of megaplexes, is a truly difficult film to review. As a newlywed, I have to admit that I hate this film, mostly because it forced me to spend two precious hours away from my sweet widdle schmoopie-woopie. Two full hours (almost three, if you include traffic, which I do) away from my hot stack of loveberry pancakes is just more than I—a mere mortal—can handle right now. I know, I know … the honeymoon is officially over, and I really need to concentrate on getting back to work, but it’s just so darned hard to say goodbye to that tall, sexy glass of yum-yum juice to which I am so fortunate to be married. Her lips taste like a hot fudge sundae, and her hair smells like some of those really crumbly cookies you shake on top of your hot fudge sundae. Strangely, her shoulders don’t remind me of hot fudge sundaes at all, which is kinda weird, considering their close proximity to her hair. But her armpits … you guessed it—hot fudge sundaes!

Quick story: As I was leaving our house (“our house”—isn’t that awesome!) to attend the critics’ screening of Suicide Squad, my new wife (again, awesome!) stopped me at the front door and said, “Do you really have to go to work? Can’t we just climb back into bed and snuggle?” So I said, “Aw, does my teeny-weeny snuggle monkey miss her hubby-wubby already?” And she said, “I just don’t know what I’ll do without my hunka-hunka fur-covered tickle-wickle bear for two whole hours, almost three if you include traffic.” Then she made one of those pouty faces that makes my stomach flutter. I knew I’d better leave quickly or I’d never leave again. Since I pride myself on my professionalism, I blew one last kiss to my vanilla pudding-smeared cuddle duckling and headed off to the movies.

Now, about this Suicide Squad movie … I’m not sure I’d let my children see a movie like this. And, yes, we are planning on having children. My beautiful honey-dripping goddess of a wife thinks we should have two kids, preferably one of each. Isn’t that adorable? As for me, I think I’d like to have five or six little walking embodiments of our love. Of course, I haven’t mentioned that to my mouth-watering slice of love soufflé just yet, but I’m sure she’ll be cool. Speaking of cool, Margot Robbie’s in this movie, and she’s pretty cool. She’s covered in way too many tattoos, otherwise she’d be really sexy—not as sexy as my petite little ice cream cone with love sprinkles, but still pretty hot. In the film, she plays Harley Quinn, a supervillain whose boyfriend is a total psychopath called, of course, The Joker. Their relationship is soooooo messed up. It’s like, take a chill pill and learn to respect each other already. These two could learn soooooo much from my marriage. My creamy butter-pants and I really know how to share our feelings. And sometimes, when it’s late and we can’t sleep because we’re so deeply in love, we profess our love to each other through the magic of song. Which reminds me, the music in this movie, composed by Steven Price, was really beautiful. It reminded me of how beautiful my perfect, perfect angel looked on our wedding day. That’s the power of cinema for ya’.

Oh yeah, Will Smith and Jared Leto and a bunch of other yahoos fight and use superpowers and stuff. One of them is some kind of witch or something … if that helps.

So, I guess the movie wasn’t terrible. I mean, it wasn’t as good as a night at home with my tasty little peanut butter cup with whipped cream and a cherry on top, but no movie could ever be that good.

I give Suicide Squad 1.5 chocolate hearts, a butterfly kissy, and a big warm hug out of … I don’t know … 4.

(Suicide Squad is rated PG-13 for adult language, violence, and for sentencing me to two horrific hours of terrible loneliness away from my little cuddle-bug, three if you include traffic.)

Jason Bourne

Jason Bourne is a Real Kick … in the Balls

Reviewed by Sonny Thompson for DecimalPointless and  Jason_Bourne_(film)

(Editor’s note: Film critic Sonny Thompson is recently divorced and openly bitter about the failure of his marriage. Keep this in mind when reading the following review, which is for entertainment purposes only.)

In the latest Jason Bourne movie, which is appropriately titled Jason Bourne for those moviegoers too stupid to remember an actual title, the titular protagonist is back and more dangerous than ever. Bourne has finally put that whole amnesia thing in his rearview mirror, and now he makes his living as an underground fighter. This storyline is clearly a metaphor for the horrors of marriage. Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne represents the married man: an emotionally exhausted, spiritually castrated individual, so lost and confused that he literally loses his identity, thanks to the soulless vampire who latched onto his neck and sucked the remaining life from him the moment he said, “I do.” As a result, Bourne (or the married man, if you will) must begin a desperate, at times violent, search for his lost manhood, a search that will cost him his sanity and inevitably lead him into one perilous situation after another.

For the record, Damon is awesome in this role. There are times when his distant, stony gaze says it all, no words necessary. For example, during an extended car chase sequence, there is a moment when Damon glares into his rearview mirror, and in that moment we, the audience, can tell that he’s thinking about that time when he forgot to do the dishes after working a double shift and his wife totally went nuts on him for absolutely no good reason. And it’s like, what the hell, man! How many times can I say I’m sorry? They’re just dishes. Chill! I mean, it’s not like Bourne forgot to feed the children or pay the mortgage or something. I mean, God forbid the dishes sit in the sink for a few measly extra hours. I’m sorry, but Bourne has a lot on his mind, too. I mean, it’s not like people are trying to kill you, Linda. Ever think of that? Of course not. Because Linda only thinks about Linda. And, let’s face it, it’s not like your job is more important than Bourne’s. Not that there’s anything wrong with risk management, but you’re not exactly curing a disease or walking on Mars, so maybe you should get over yourself and try to consider what life is like for Jason Bourne.

Okay, sure, it was a mistake for Bourne to say that the brown dress wasn’t very flattering to your figure. Bourne acknowledges that. But I’m sure he was just trying to respect your intellect by sharing an honest opinion with you, Linda. Maybe Bourne had just never seen anybody wear a brown dress to a cocktail party before. Oh, and by the way, it is an absolute crime that Jason Bourne has to live in an unfurnished studio apartment on the fifth floor of a six-floor walk-up, while you get to keep living in a four-bedroom house that Bourne continues to pay for. Your parents have money, Linda! Don’t deny it. Admit it, you’re only making Jason Bourne live like an animal because you’re a spiteful she-creature who finds nourishment in the suffering of others. Here’s an idea: go to the park and throw rocks at the ducks if you need to be cruel to innocent living things, and leave Bourne with the last dangling shreds of his dignity. Or go hide among the haystacks in an abandoned barn with the other shrews. But please, please, for the love of all things holy, remove your fangs from Jason Bourne’s swollen, puckered neck and let him get on with the rest of his life.

Oh, and Alicia Vikander is pretty good.

I give Jason Bourne 3 viperous divorce lawyers out of 10 and exactly half of everything I own.

(Jason Bourne is rated PG-13 for adult language, violence, stubbornness, refusal to have a civil conversation, the employment of jerk-face lawyers, the inability to take the dog for regular walks, and a total lack of sexual content for more than a year.)

Lights Out

Lights Out: A Scary Movie for People Who Suck

Reviewed by Shirley Franks for DecimalPointless and Lights_Out_2016_poster

(Editor’s note: Film critic Shirley Franks is an insanely busy soccer mom who hasn’t had a vacation in more than three years.)

     Lights Out is a sometimes-clever, often-spooky horror film that absolutely drips with atmosphere. It’s the kind of shriek-fest that I would’ve loved 15 years ago, back in those halcyon days before I met my ass-bag husband and started pumping out ungrateful children by the bucket load. However, now that life has crapped on my dreams, blackened my heart, and shriveled my once-beautiful body, I find this movie endlessly annoying and relentlessly un-scary.

The story of Lights Out concerns a mysterious ghost-lady with Medusa hair and terrible posture who appears in the dark and disappears in the light. Oooh, I’m sooooooo scared! Shadowy ghost bitches aren’t scary … Five kids and 1 bathroom—now that’s scary. The appearance of varicose veins at 35—now that’s scary. Working 40 hours a week reviewing idiotic movies aimed at mouth-breathing teenagers, only to come home to a filthy house where I’m greeted by a sea of dirt-smudged faces screaming, “What’s for dinner?”—now that’s scary.

Teresa Palmer stars as the film’s sweet little cutie, who always looks daisy-fresh and is decades from worrying about stretch marks and episiotomies. So, basically … UP YOURS, TERESA! Enjoy that tight body and that silky-smooth skin while you can, sweetheart, because one day—maybe even soon—you’re gonna wake up in a bed filled with potato chip crumbs, next to a snoring, wheezing, ass clown that tricked you into getting married and then effectively stole every ounce of your youth, beauty, and zest for life, leaving you a soulless husk with prematurely gray hair and the disposition of a demon in church.

About 25 minutes into this obnoxious teen spookshow, I realized that I was still wearing my slippers and a pair of sweatpants dotted with scores of oozy, drippy stains whose origins are as mysterious and frightening as the identity of Jack the Ripper. Not to mention the fact that my ass-bag husband (in fact, let’s just refer to him as Ass Bag from here on out) forgot to fill the station wagon with gas, so I basically coasted to my critics’ screening of this film on fumes. Thanks, Ass Bag. Love Ya’. Oh, and I haven’t slept more than two hours straight in about six months. And I’m supposed to find this movie scary? Really? Give me a freakin’ break, Hollywood!

The only truly positive thing I can say about Lights Out is that I fell asleep for about a third of the film and woke up feeling more refreshed than I’ve felt in weeks. Not refreshed enough to recommend this garbage movie, mind you, but refreshed nonetheless. So, in conclusion, if you’re under 40, single, and childless, I’m just certain you’ll love Lights Out. Why the hell wouldn’t you? Life is a parade for you people. Every movie is a celebration. Every breath is a joy. You people make me sick. So, go ahead, see Lights Out and have a ball—and then choke on it.

I give Lights Out one stink-filled diaper out of four and every ounce of bile my liver can produce.

(Lights Out is rated PG-13 for “adult” language and “adult” situations … As if these people have any idea what it means to be an adult. It also contains prancing nubile bodies, the overt flaunting of youth, and the potential to induce rage in anyone with a pulse and half a brain.)


Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond Comparison

Reviewed by Miles O’Bannon for DecimalPointless and  Star_Trek_Beyond_poster

(Editor’s note: Film critic Miles O’Bannon is an extremely gullible man, prone to lapses in critical thinking. Since he has a history of believing nearly everything he is told, we urge readers to remember that his reviews are for entertainment purposes only.)

First things first, as much as I enjoy the new Star Trek film—and I really do love it—I have to admit that it isn’t worth the $500 ticket price. As a professional film critic, my tickets are usually free of charge. So imagine my surprise when a theater employee demanded that I not only pay the new ticket price of $500, but I also had to use a credit card, and I had to disclose my PIN number “for security purposes.” Whatever that means. And since when do theater employees wear leather jackets and have forehead tattoos of pentacles? And, as if that weren’t enough, an usher (this one wore a red bandana and had a series of teardrop tattoos on his face) informed me of a newly instituted $100 seat tax. After paying this second unexpected (and exorbitant) fee, I immediately called my boss to make sure I would be reimbursed for these costs, since they are clearly work expenses. She told me that she was too busy washing her hair to talk about it at the time, but we’d work it out as soon as she returned from her trip to Transylvania. Anyway, my point is this: Movie studios and theater owners better figure out a way to put a lid on these rising prices, and soon, or they will face hordes of angry moviegoers and thousands of empty theaters.

Okay, on with the review of Star Trek Beyond, which is, of course, the third film in the newly rebooted Star Trek franchise. It is also the best of the three films. Let’s start with the marvelous cast. Chris Pine (who I’m told is a distant relative of Count Dracula) returns as James Kirk. He is joined by all of the regulars we have grown to know and love in these roles. Zachary Quinto (a collector of rare bayonets and an activist for octopus rights) returns as the cold-but-lovable Spock. Part-time fish monger and amateur calculator historian Karl Urban reprises his role as Dr. McCoy. Zoe Saldana, whose hair is rumored to be made of licorice, is once again Lieutenant Uhura. Simon Pegg also returns (after emerging triumphantly from a nine-month battle with the bubonic plague that ultimately cost him his left nostril) as Montgomery Scott. And, rounding out the cast, night-terror sufferer and inventor of Doan’s Back Pills John Cho as Sulu, and his muse, the late Anton Yelchin as Checkov.

This time out, the Enterprise is mercilessly attacked by an unknown foe and forced to ditch their beloved ship in a foreign, unforgiving landscape. Will they be rescued? Hell, will they even survive? I won’t ruin the surprises or any of the fun, but, rest-assured, there is plenty of fun to be had with Star Trek Beyond. The film’s action sequences and special effects work are absolutely breathtaking. I was flabbergasted to learn that the whole film only cost $2,000 to make. I was equally astonished to learn that the film’s screenplay was based on Scottish historical novelist Sir Walter Scott’s Kenliworth. Seriously, I had no idea. But I guess uncovering juicy bits of trivia about a film like this is all part of the fun. And, speaking of fun, according to my friend Jeff, there are numerous Easter eggs and special moments of homage geared toward hardcore Trek fans. I didn’t really notice anything special at my screening, but I can’t argue with Jeff. He has a Ph.D. in Star Trek from Hogwarts, so I’ll just trust the expert.

Ultimately, if you’re a Trek fan and you can afford the ridiculous ticket prices and all of the new theater fees and taxes, Star Trek Beyond is likely to be a worthy entertainment enterprise. It may also be worth the extra 20 bucks to try the new auto-detailing service now being offered at many movie theaters. Apparently, all you have to do is give your car keys and $20 to the theater’s head of valet services, and the valets will wash and detail your car for you as you relax and watch the movie. The only problem is that it takes forever to get your car back. In fact, I’m posting this review from my smart phone in the parking lot of the theater as I wait for my fresh, clean new car to be returned to me. I hope this doesn’t take too long. I need to buy a lottery ticket on the way to my appointment with my tarot card reader. Oh, well … At least I have the memories of Star Trek Beyond to keep me company as I wait.

I give Star Trek Beyond a 10 out of a possible 10.

(Star Trek Beyond is rated PG-13 for intense sci-fi violence, profanity, and, I’m told, the potential to spread mad cow disease through tainted 3-D glasses, so beware.)

Rest peacefully, Anton.

Ghostbusters (2016)

Ghostbusters Blows Open the Doors of Perception and Makes Reality Its Bitch

Reviewed by Thomas Gage for DecimalPointless and ghostbusters_ver6

(Editor’s note: We now know for certain that film critic Thomas Gage was dosed with multiple tabs of a low-grade but highly hallucinogenic form of LSD prior to viewing this film.)

Okay, so … Ghostbusters … the movie with all the phantasms and the proton packs that sound like human souls patched into an electrical outlet, and that one bad guy that I just absolutely hate, man. You know the one. Anyway, this movie is awesome, and if you don’t believe me, just ask the coyote who sat right next to me. He’ll shoot ya’ straight, man, cuz he doesn’t know how to lie—like, he doesn’t believe in lying. So, in a way, he IS truth. But it isn’t just the movie that rocks, it’s the whole movie-going experience. For me, this crazy ride called Ghostbusters began with a large Coke that tasted funny and ended when I woke up in a wheelbarrow just outside my office, like, ten minutes ago.

Let’s get down to the review. As we all know, Ghostbusters is a reboot of the 1984 classic. This time around, Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig star as Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray, while Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones totally embody Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson. And, for the record, everyone is great, even Chris Hemsworth as … I don’t know … let’s say Sigourney Weaver. The story really kicks in when Wiig and McCarthy, who co-wrote a book about ghosts years before, decide to team up for some reason. I don’t really know why. To be honest, it was about this time in the movie when I found myself having a hard time concentrating. For starters, I could hear my hair growing, which was really distracting. Also, the coyote next to me was smoking clove cigarettes and incessantly quoting (loudly) from the poem “The River of Bees” by W. S. Merwin. “Men think they are better than grass,” my ass!

Anyway, just when everything was starting to return to normal, the screen began to melt into a soupy, goopy mess, which somehow defied the laws of gravity and dripped straight up, where it collected in a shimmering pool on the theater ceiling. Luckily, an attentive—and winged—employee fluttered up to the ceiling, soaked up the liquid-y screen with a sponge, and then gently reapplied it to its rightful place at the front of the house. It was at that point that I realized the employee was actually a manticore, and I was proud of the theater for instituting hiring practices that don’t preclude mythological Persian creatures from employment. Of course, if that particular manticore happened to also be transgender, he or she would not be allowed to use the public bathrooms in the theater. Come on, America! It’s time to wake up and treat manticores with the respect they deserve.

Okay, so … back to the movie. I have to admit that I had serious doubts concerning a Ghostbusters reboot. After all, the original film remains a cherished childhood memory. However, this new version of the film gave me the duel powers of invisibility and squirrel hypnotism. Let’s see Ivan Reitman compete with that! Of course, this new Ghostbusters isn’t perfect. Director Paul Feig relies a little too much on improvisation, and his decision to adorn every character with a set of strangely asymmetrical Manitoban elk antlers remains a mystery. And why was Verne Troyer hired as the director of photography? Does he have any experience with cinematography at all?

All in all, Ghostbusters is an enjoyable movie experience, particularly if you don’t constantly feel like you have to shave your tongue, as did I. In the spirit of total honesty, I will admit that I didn’t like having my life threatened by a bag of popcorn, nor did I find it amusing when I realized that my theater seat followed me home. And, yeah, sure, maybe it was terrifying to believe that the theater was a giant mouth and that I was being slowly ingested, but that’s the kind of thing every film critic must learn to endure if he or she plans to maintain an acceptable measure of professionalism. (Speaking of professionalism, I’m starting to believe that I may have been dosed by rival film critics Alfonso Duralde and Christy Lemire. I don’t mean to cast aspersions, but I saw them hovering near my Coke and giggling when I briefly stepped away to get a few napkins at the snack bar. Real professional, you guys!) Now, if you all will excuse me, I need to find a cold compress and a dark room without gremlins … for obvious reasons.

I give Ghostbusters 3.5 buckets of slime out of 4.

(Ghostbusters is rated PG-13 for horrific nightmare imagery, hallucinatory visions of a self-created hell, the dawning realization that humanity is, by its very nature, doomed, and adult language.)