Into The Storm

Release date: August 8, 2014 Into The Storm

There is no calm before the storm.

We’ve had our fair share of big budget disaster flicks: Waterworld, Volcano, 2012, and The Day After Tomorrow. While not a new concept, Hollywood always tries to redo a “winning” formula. This time they married two genres to create Into The Storm: Disaster meets found-footage!

I was truly hoping Into the Storm was a simple remake of 1996’s Twister; and that the tornado had a twitter account where it would make snarky comments about the damage it had done. Sadly technology isn’t apparent in this movie other than go-pros and loss of cellular service.

Into The Storm primarily follows two groups of people dealing with the biggest tornados ever seen on earth. Both groups, one professional storm-chasers and the other a family documenting the local high school’s graduation, recording the day’s events. Little do they know they’ll be documenting a pretty jaw-dropping shitty disaster. Oh, and there’s comic relief, as if you needed any as the film also follows a band of hillbillies who just want to be youtube stars. Editor’s note: I don’t believe these guys would understand how to get on the interwebs to begin with.

Pushing this flick is director of Final Destination 5, Steven Quale. If the director’s chair left any doubt in your mind at how bad this film could be, the credited writer is John Swetnam… You don’t know who he is? He wrote Step Up All In. I rest my case.

The Acting in these sorts of flicks is never all that memorable unless it is completely dreadful. In the case of Into The Storm the acting is passable; thankfully. Nothing really of note other than the continued face/attitude of Matt Walsh who plays Pete. Walsh plays a storm chaser with no character arc other than to some sort of shelter-aid to the rest of the cast, while being casually snarky.

The word that flew out of my mouth upon the credit scroll was “craptatuclar.”This isn’t a cardinal sin of a movie, but it isn’t very good either. While the amazing sound design will be a treat for your ears, the delivery of dialogue acts as the cavity to the treats from the sound department. Found-footage films are rarely beautiful to the eyes, and Into The Storm is far from being an exception to this rule. The only reason I can find for forking over $12.99 or even $5.99 on a cheapy-Tuesday is that this flick won’t sound as nice in your living room. That being said you’ll likely want to skip Into The Storm as it gets The Toilet.

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The Fifth Estate

Release date: October 18, 2013 The Fifth Estate

You can’t expose the world’s greatest secrets without exposing your own… Chicken stuff

Here I was, sitting all handsome and thinking Benedict Cumberbatch could do no wrong. Oh how I was terribly mistaken. The Social Network The Fifth Estate is the story of recent events surrounding the infamous, secret-exposing website wikileaks and its “mastermind” Julian Assange. Sitting at 128 minutes, this flick feels strongly like Coke Zero to Pepsi Max. The Fifth Estate is a product that comes from great brands, but it just a crappy knock-off in the long run.

I sat back with what I wouldn’t call high expectations, but at least slightly elevated ones as I knew I would be seeing such great actors as Cumberbtach, Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis and Stanley “friggin” Tucci. Even with merely slightly elevated expectations, I was let down on all fronts.

 

For those under rocks or away from computers, The Fifth Estate follows the exploding rise of Wikileaks, a sight dedicated to exposing the aweful truth behind governments and their lies and wrong doings towards the people of this world. Along with the rise of this site, they follow the rise to infamy if Julian Assange and his relationship to those who helped him most. Josh Singer’s writing of Assange was very undecided. For the first 20 minutes Singer paints Assange as a maverick-saint working to better the world, and for the remaining 108 minutes, he does his best to make him look like the world’s biggest scumbag.

On to the nitty gritty!

WHAT WORKED: (not much)

– The acting is pretty much the only thing saving this movie. Most noteworthy, is ol’Ben Cumberbatch. This guy really transformed himself into that albino looking european. His dark, soulless eyes help you detach from Assange anytime you start feeling any sympathy and help remind you that the character he is portraying is batshit weird.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

– The soundtrack. Is this flick just trying to be cool and hip with a heavy electronic sound? Most of the time it felt the scenes were taking place in area’s with DJs just because they wanted obnoxious technodribble.

– The Pacing. This film is jumpy. You have no perception of time until some character mentions a timeframe on camera. Not to mention how many scenes lagged when cutting at least 30 seconds would have made a tighter moment. I know I keep comparing The Fifth Estate to The Social Network, but when The Social Network lingered in a shot it was to build emotion, not just have an extra 12 seconds of “wan wan wan wom wom wom dubdub dubduuub.

– The look. I know the world is filthy and decrepit. But even the scenes held in US political environments felt dirty rather than skeezy or corrupt.

THE LOWDOWN:

The Fifth Estate will hopefully be forgotten about within 6 months. Any film that openly reference’s itself in the last four minutes and isn’t doing it to be meta or tongue and cheek deserve to be slapped. With the exception of supporting the fantastic actors in this flick, you shouldn’t even look at the poster or box-art. Instead go see A later Harry Potter film, BBC’s Sherlock or The next Hunger Games film.

The Fifth Estate gets The Toilet!

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The Internship

Release date: June 7, 2013 The Internship

Crashing the system… is not as fun as crashing a wedding.

In the immortal words of Jason the Red Ranger, “Back to action!” And I truly believed this action would be tickling my funny bone. Oh how I was slightly wrong. The Internship is a film about two lifelong friends attempting to get jobs at Google when their lives have sh!t the bed. Their apparent obstacles? They are both computer illiterate. They real obstacle? They’re kind of douchey and old. They, along with a group of misfits must band together to win the summer internship at Google to secure themselves jobs. What jobs? Google jobs. Vague, I know.

The Internship is written by Vince Vaughn and Jared Stern. It’s also directed by Shawn Levy, who is known for making the brilliant Date Night. This flick stars our dynamic duo of Vaugh and Owen Wilson, with a ragtag cast of rugrat actors like: Rose Byrne, Aasif Mandvi, Max Minghella, Joanna Garcia, Josh Brenner, Dylan O’Brien and Tiya Sircar. I’m going to spoil my own review and say they shinning stars of this flick aren’t the ones who got paid the most.

WHAT WORKED:

– The supporting cast. These guys and gal, were cast into stereotypical roles but made it work. Now I don’t know if Vaughn just saved the good stuff for them or it was just their delivery but they brought the laughs to a less than haha film.

– Owen Wilson’s lovability. He always seems to play the guy that might be dopey. Might be a schemer. But has a heart of gold and will do anything for anyone. He’s the true heart of this flick. Kind of like Wedding Crashers.

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WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

– The Pacing. This film felt a little long and a little short.

– The plot. The plot holes are more numerous and deep than the pot-holes on the mean streets of Montreal in the middle of spring; or any season for the matter. Vaughn’s girlfriend leaves him at the beginning of the flick, there’s no resolution to this. And from there, it’s only a landslide of holes. What jobs are these people fighting for? Especially Vaughn and Wilson!? They could have cut out many things that created holes to make a tighter film. Or they could have tied those loose ends up, adding 20 minutes to the flick and sent everyone home completed. But they didn’t

– Vince Vaughn. I can’t take it anymore. The fast talking, bullsh!tting loveable jerk from Old School and Wedding Crashers is dead to me. Now he just rambles BS that doesn’t make sense and gets people to agree only to make him shut up. It’s as though he’s trying to be Chili Palmer from Get Shorty and Be Cool; only he’s failing at it big time. Please see what I wrote in my review for The Watch.

THE LOWDOWN:

Sony pretty much buried this flick in promotions. I haven’t seen many adds, which is a good thing. I never wish for anyone to fail, but maybe a solid flop will push Vaughn to evolve as an actor and writer. The Internship is 119 minutes of googley crap. And if you fail to understand what googley means then this film will spit in your face at the end. With the exception of a few laughs, I spent most of the film wishing I was googling better flicks. The Internship gets The Toilet.

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Fanboys

Release date: February 6, 2009

Never tell them the odds. Because the dorkiest one of them got the hot chick. WTF, man?

I guess it was fitting that Fanboys took like a million years to come out after being announced and even produced seeing as it is directly related to Star Wars, which took like 16 years between films. Lazy George Lucas.

I’ll be honest guys. This ain’t much but a nerdy nostalgia trip wrapped in a sweaty, fear-pee stained blanket with X-Wings and Millennium Falcons printed on it.

Fanboys is directed by Kyle Newman and stars Jay Baruchel, Dan Fogler, Sam Huntington, Chris Marquette and Kristen Bell. This flick also boasts many cameos from various Nerd-Hollywood celebs and Star Wars Allumi. Even Jim Kirk: William Shatner gets in on the action.

Taking place in 1998; this flick follows four friends and Star Wars fanboys Eric, Linus, Hutch and Windows as they embarque on a quest to break into Skywalker Ranch and watch a rough cut of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace months before it’s original release. They are fulfilling their childhood dream because Linus has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and won’t live to see it it come out on the silver screen. What happens on their journey is any fanboys wet dream, as they encounter opposing fans in the Trekkies and other nerd legends.

There was much hassel to get this film completed. Going though a million re-edited and reshoots, Fanboys went through BIG changes even in post-production. At one point the whole Linus is dying of cancer storyline was removed from the film. I ask where their motivation would have been!?

WHAT WORKED:

– The nostalgia. Many nerdy conversations had in this film I have had myself. I’ll admit it. I’m a Star Wars Fanboy. BUT that doesn’t keep this film afloat…

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

– The score and sound effects. It’s said that Lucas saw a rough cut of the film and loved it so much that he gave them the right to use all the original sounds from Star Wars. This would have been awesome had they not shot the poodle by just piling on sound effect after Artoo beep after stock metal clang. Sometimes less is more. Adding to the pain, the score just seemed like some fool wanted to make fun of the music of John Williams with Apple Garage Band.

– The Plot. Well the premise for the plot is fantastic and had so much potential. However, Anakin Skywalker had so much potential. He was “the chosen one.” But he still managed to f–k s–t up. We can also chalk it up to this film being re-edited a billion times. The break don’t taste too good with a 12 hands in the dough.

– The Star Trek references. If you can’t get the licensing or have the right to get images at remotely resemble the stuff you’re going to mock, just don’t. It was a stretch that only had a tiny pay off when seeing Seth Rogan kiss the decapitated head of a man’s statue.

– SUPER NERD OUT WARNING: Too many goofs and mistakes with Star Wars merch. MANY of the guys’ stuff included merchandise that was released years after The Phantom Menace was. Piss poor work there.

THE LOWDOWN:

If you aren’t a Star Wars fan in the very least, this film is going to be garbage to you. If you love good cinema, this is going to be garbage for your eye-holes. Only in the niche realm of die-hard Star Wars fanboys who have a good sense of humour and self-depreciating tendencies do I believe someone will enjoy this film on a geeky-nostalgia level like I did. But if you don’t fit that mold, Fanboys gets The Toilet.

Silent Hill: Revelation 3D

Release date: October 26, 2012 Silent Hill- Revelation 3D

This Halloween prepare for a 3D ride through hell… of the senses.

Holy Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! It’s another film sequel based off of a popular videogame. And boy do we all know those do so well! I’m looking at you Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.

Silent Hill: Revelation 3D is the sequel to 2006’s Silent Hill. Yet strangely enough, this is based on the third instalment of the Silent Hill videogame franchise. Writing and Directing this 94 minutes of your life is Michael J. Bassett who is known for many other “dark” films as Death Watch and Solomon Kane. Contractually obligated to appear on camera and recite prepared lines and squeals are Sean “006” Bean, Kit “feels like Penn Badgley in The Stepfather”  Harrington, Adelaide “you wouldn’t want to see her on a bad day” Clemens and Malcom “usually makes better life choices” McDowell.

This flick follows Heather Mason (Clemens) and her father (Bean) has spent the past several years evading evil forces that she feels are all too familiar. Then on the eve of her eighteenth birth; something Bean says all to conveniently, shit hits the fan and now Heather must go against everything her father has ever told her to save him and banish the darkness from Silent Hill. Sounds chill on paper, right?

SH:R3D (shred lolz) is filled with odd scenes of grotesque creatures supposedly designed to scared the living crap out of the audience. weirdly angled shots with gross dismemberment and blood are a plenty in this one. Where as people have dubbed the Saw franchise as “Torture Porn,” I’d like to coin a phrase for this flick: “Softcore Torture Porn.”

WHAT WORKED:

I’m not gonna lie – not much.

– Adelaide Clemens. Where most of the other actors had an odd fake-vibe going on, she kept the sensation raw. Now I don’t know if it’s 100% her, or the writing though.

– The effects. This film is gross. It is gory. It is nasty. Strangely some of the shots felt all too real. I guess this is where they succeeded. At least in comparison to House of Wax.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

– The story. Adopted. Blah. Evil. Bleh. Want you back. Blah. Want you dead. Bleh.

– The pacing/editing. This flick is only 94 minutes long. But hot damn did I look down at my watch iPhone often. Moments of silence dragged on; not in built suspense, but in built boredom.

THE LOWDOWN:

Silent Hill: Revelation 3D is all sizzle and no steak. (That’s right I said it. Another overused saying.) Where Hollywood believes they can do justice with an adaptation of a videogame I don’t know. This film is filled with gross imagery. This wouldn’t be such a bad thing if only they hadn’t wasted their energy in solely that when the story is seriously lacking. Add in some subpar performances and you have this… this hour and a half colossal waste of time. Do yourself a favor: this halloween season, treat yourself to the gifts of years past. Stream Let The Right One In if you really wanna scare the bat-crap out of you while enjoying a truly riveting story because Silent Hill: Revelation 3D gets The 3D Toilet.

Paranormal Activity 4

Release date: October 19, 2012 Paranormal Activity 4

All the activity has led to this… crapfest.

In what I like to believe is starting off YEAR-TWO of thestabilo.com I am watching the sequel of the first film I reviewed for this lovely little non-pornographic website: PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4. Last year’s Paranormal Activity 3 (Read my review here) was a nail bitter.

Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman are back in the directors’ seats for PA4, and they bring us back into the 21st century with webcams and Xbox Kinects! Left behind are the beta-cams on floor-fan rigs. Now we get to see what our poor Mac iSights have to suffer while we skype with our BFFs. Also returning is Katie Featherston who plays Katie from the three first flicks. Only other actress worth naming is Kathryn Newton who plays our main character Alex, the teenaged girl with cameras stuck to her hands throughout this thang.

This film picks up five years after the events of Paranormal Activity 2. A simple unassuming family take in the “weird” sandle and socks wear son of their ill neighbour. Little do they know, they have let into their home what will result in their demise. When I mention this film picks up 5 years after the fact, it does it so blandly. Unlike the previous films, there’s no introduction stating this is found footage, therefore killing the fact that this film was shot in that style. What follows is 88 minutes of semi-comedy filled with fake outs that leave the audience thoroughly underwhelmed.

WHAT WORKED:

– The homage to The Shining. Yes somehow the writers Zack Estrin and Christopher B. Landon managed to squeeze in a little big-wheel action between a little boy and a big demon.

– Kathryn Newton. This lil’ gal isn’t new to the acting realm as she’s been in there with some heavyweight talent before, but having a camera in your face for about 55 minutes and acting your ass off well? That takes some grapefruit sized lady-balls. Newton almost put Colin Farrell to shame. Anyone remember Phone Booth?

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

– As I mentioned earlier, this film starts abruptly and ends just that way too. In fact, probably the scariest part of the whole film was the final 2.5 seconds and the silent credits that followed.

– The LOL moments. Yes they were funny. But what was the point of this film? The make light of the past three? Or to scare the pants of off people this Halloween season? I mean when you hear more laughter from the crowd than gasps or screams while you’re marketing this as a horror, you’re doing something very very wrong. I feel a youtube remix along with old-time comedic sound effects coming here.

– I know we’re in the 21st century, but no one has webcams that are that HD. I don’t know why, but the image being so clear in some shots just too away from what could have been an even creepier creepy scene.

THE LOWDOWN:

– Many people I know were planning on doing a Paranormal Activity marathon before going out to see this one. My suggestion? Stick with the first three at home. It’s cheaper and you can scare your little sister more easily. With such a huge back story to build from, Paranormal Activity 4 feels like you could have put the entire development of the story into a 10 minute scene at the end of PA2. Do yourself a favour and if you wanna laugh this Halloween, just watch any Nightmare on Elm Street flicks, because Paranormal Activity 4 gets THE TOILET.

Hit and Run

Release date: August 22, 2012 

A comedy that never takes its foot off the gas.

While I was sitting in the theater, I kept thinking I was on the first season of Punk’d, Because I kept hoping this film was just an elaborate prank. I was wrong.

Hit and Run is an “action” romantic “comedy” starring Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell, Kristin Chenoweth, Tom “Mr Rosanne Barr” Arnold and Bradley Cooper. It was written, partially directed and produced by Shepard, who in turn hired all his friends for cheap wages. And believe you me, the wages weren’t the only on cheap things about Hit and Run.

Hit and Miss (hahaha I did it.) follows Yul Perrkins (Shepard) and his girlfriend (Bell) of one year as they face the usual trials and tribulations any young couple faces: murderous revenge from Yul’s secret past, and a gang of inbred-southerners as friends. This film has slow reveals that are evident from the beginning and some useless B and C plots to flesh out the 100 minutes stolen from everyone who see this flick.

WHAT WORKED:

– Bradley Cooper. He took a really dumb role, with little character motivation and a crappy wigger style, and made it the funniest part of the film. And he isn’t there much.

The trailer. Watch that if you want all the funny. I’m serious.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

– The music and score. By the beard of Zeus, when you have a romantic scene or a serious or even a sad scene, DON’T use springy “boing boing” music. It confuses the audience. Already no one can take Dax Shepard seriously with his “Keanu Reeves Homeless Man” Beard, you don’t need to add the 2012 equivalent to the Seinfeld “pop.”

– Tom Arnold and Kristin Chenoweth’s plot lines. You could have trimmed these scenes out completely and it wouldn’t have changed much in the other character’s motivations AND I would have been home in time for a Gilmore Girls rerun.

– The relationship between Shepard and Bell. I’m not complaining about their on camera chemistry as it was alright. But what I am complaining about is their history. At one point in the car Dax’s character says things about other people that greatly upsets Bell’s character. After a full year of dating, how does she not already know he’s vulgar like that? Especially if she sees him hanging around the simpleton of Tom Arnold. And why does he ALWAYS call her Buddy!?

THE LOWDOWN:

It’s 100 minutes long. Take that whichever way you want. This film is full of filler scenes that do nothing for plot, pacing or laughs. A sub-par performance for Bell and Shepard. It’s unfortunate that Cooper was stuck in his position. But then again in 6 months no one will care for or remember this flick.

Hit and Run gets The Toilet.