Short, quick, reviews for some of the movies that are out on Blu-Ray this week.

Divergent (2014)

Another one of those movies set in a dystopian future, based on a novel for teens/young adults and it's one of the lesser ones in my opinion.

Despite having a fast face, there isn't an awful lot of action and never anything truly interesting or engaging going on in the story.

The story is poorly handled and things aren't set up in the best way imaginable. There is a lack of true tension, suspense and mystery in the movie, as well as some lacking character development, which again is all part of the reason why it just never manages to work out as the most interesting or engaging movie to watch.

It's not a terrible movie but there is nothing in it to love or feel thoroughly entertained by, making this an ultimately very forgettable one in my experience.

Read the full review

Watch the trailer

God's Not Dead (2014)

How come that all of these Christian movies always feel like they are set in a fantasy world? The way how people behave, react, change, deal with certain's all so terribly unconvincing and just plain ridicules.

On top of that, it portrays all of the atheist as lying, stubborn, angry, unhappy, ignorant people, while all of the Christians get portrayed as kindhearted, all-knowing and good natured people, which is a big problem for a movie that pretends to be a religion vs. science type of movie, starring all of the 'usual suspects' such as David A.R. White and Lisa Arnold, as well as Kevin Sorbo and Dean Cain.

Absolutely nothing objective about this movie of course and it's nothing but Christian propaganda that however isn't going to turn any non-believers into believers though. It's also especially disturbing how this movie on top of everything else also portrays the Islam as a terrible religion and it tries to proclaim that Christianity is the only real and true religion to go by.

Propaganda at its worst.

Oculus (2013)

A horror movie that's a few notches above the average genre attempt, mostly because of two reasons.

It's a fairly original movie, not due to its script, characters or any of its settings but mostly because of the approach. It's not an entirely chronologically told movie and cleverly uses flashbacks, which all also help to move the main story forward. It therefore also basically feels like you are watching two individual movies, each with their own tension, suspense and surprises present in it.

The second reason why the movie is better than just the average genre movie is the fact that instead of just people getting haunted- it's also a movie in which the main characters deliberately go in, knowing what can happen to them and are actively looking for answers, rather than trying to run away or hide from any of the dangers. It's a different sort of approach to the genre that perhaps works out better for its mystery than its horror but it works out as effective nevertheless, as well as original.

Recommended watching, especially if you are into horror and think that modern genre movies can't surprise and impress you anymore with anything.

Watch the trailer

Phantom of the Paradise (1974)

Typical early Brian De Palma craziness and I love it!

This is a horror/musical/comedy in the vein of other cult-classics such as "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". It's actually more comedy than horror really and more fun and entertaining than a straightforward or full blown musical movie. It's definitely playing things for laughs and the movie very deliberately goes over-the-top and be as crazy as possible at times, with its characters, situations and overall visual style and atmosphere of the movie.

It's "Faust" meets "The Phantom of the Opera" in this flashy and insanely entertaining '70's production, that deserves to be seen by more!

Without Warning (1980)

A late humans vs. nature type of movie with a twist, in which strange little creatures attack and start to kill people in the woods.

The twist is that besides being a 'horror' it's a science-fiction movie as well. Let's just say that this movie is like a more silly and less impressive, B-movie like, predecessor to the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie "Predator".

The main problem with this movie is that it was an obviously cheap one to make. Nothing ever really impresses and the sound quality, cinematography, lack of gore and acting, despite the presence of Jack Palance and Martin Landau in it, are all highly questionable.

It's also definitely far from the most exciting thing you'll ever see and despite an original sounding concept, the movie as a whole still feels very standard and all too familiar. There are big chunks of the movie in which absolutely nothing is happening and in which its confusing to figure out where the story is supposed to be heading at and who are supposed to be the main characters again.

It's not a terrible movie but not a very recommendable one either, perhaps only as a curiosity piece.

The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997)

Not Bill Murray's best movie or most memorable role he has ever played throughout his career but with Murray in the lead of a comedy, you just can't go wrong really and he does provide the movie with a few laughs, while the movie itself remains a heavily flawed and even at times unfunny one.

The story is a bit too simple and a totally unbelievable one, that's filled with unlikely situations. It's good for a couple of laughs but it at the same time prevents the movie from ever turning into a fully effective and hilarious one.

Despite a good cast and some good and funny moments, it's not a very recommendable movie as well.

Read the full review

I'll Follow You Down (2013)

A more 'realistic' and dramatic approach to the time traveling genre, in which Haley Joel Osment tries to find out what happened to his father, who suddenly disappeared several years ago but unfortunately the movie doesn't work out as the most effective one.

The movie never does anything special and it's really missing some true creativity, excitement and surprises in it. It even feels like a needlessly long movie that truly could have used some more 'fun' and fantasy elements in it. The 'dry' approach and dark, depressing, look of the movie makes things needlessly serious and dramatic and just not in a very engaging kind of way.

An original and good enough movie, with a surprising cast in it but it ultimately still is nothing but a very average movie that does some things right but it does some things 'wrong' as well and handles the story and concept never in the best or most interesting and engaging way imaginable.

Watch the trailer

Read the full review

Ironclad: Battle for Blood (2014)

I keep saying this but I definitely prefer watching these cheap medieval/adventure movies over cheap horror, westerns or action movies. Of course they are never great movies but they at least still are perfectly enjoyable and fine to watch because of an overabundance of action and other adventurous movie elements.

But please don't ask me what this movie is supposed to be all about though. The story is just as weak as the character development and I was having an extremely difficult time telling the villains apart from the good guys in this movie, right till the very end of it, let alone what all of the different character motivations were.

It's still a decent enough looking movie with its authentic looking locations, costumes and weaponry. The action is nothing too spectacular but there luckily still is enough of it in this movie to help to make it an entertaining enough one.

I don't hate it but no, it's not a very good movie either.

Watch the trailer

Ping Pong Summer (2014)

Meh, I can see why some people would see this as a cute movie but personally, it did very little to me.

Most of the comedy felt awkward rather than funny and the story was lacking a good 'conflict' or main goal and point in it. Sure, you can see the movie as a coming of age movie but is it truly really one? The movie just doesn't have the right sort of depth and characters for it and it seems far more concerned about making its audience laugh anyway.

It just seems to me that this whole movie was a nostalgic throwback for writer/director Michael Tully to the '80's, when he spend summer vacations with his family at the beach as a young teen. Perhaps the movie is even a bit of an autobiographical one, also since otherwise the fact that this movie is set during the '80's actually adds very little to the overall movie or story of it.

Neither solid enough as a comedy or as a coming of age movie.

Ninja Apocalypse (2014)

Some movies are so bad that they actually are fun to watch, however not this one though.

A weak story that's more of a "The Warriors" rip off anyway, absolutely redundant and terrible looking special effects, horribly shot action scenes, terrible settings, bad acting...there is simply absolutely nothing about this movie that could be called 'good' or remotely passable.

I don't even get its concept really. So there has been an apocalypse, after which everybody decided to become well trained ninjas? It's not like there isn't any modern technology available anymore, I mean people still drive around in cars and use elevators, yet we are supposed to believe that there aren't any modern weapons available anymore, which forced people to start using 'ancient' weapons such as sticks and swords again to fight each other over...something. I really don't know, very little about this movie makes any sense, such as also the fact that some people apparently now have superpowers, which turns their sword into lightsabers.

It's not even bad, ridicules and over-the-top in an entertaining kind of way. It's terribly bad, ridicules and over-the-top in a horrible and annoying way instead.

Patrick (1978)

A horror movie featuring a comatose patient as the killer/villain. No, this doesn't sound like the most exciting movie around. And indeed, while the concept of course is a very original one, the movie itself is a bit of a lackluster.

There is some tension in the movie, there is some mystery but none of it gets handled in a truly effective way really. This truly could have been an interesting and effective little genre movie, if only it had handled some of is themes better, in a more exciting and engaging way.

It's not a terrible movie but I definitely expected more of it, considering its reputation as a horror movie.

The Full Monty (1997)

Perhaps nowadays not as new, daring, socially relevant and surprising as 17 years ago but it's still a good and fun little movie of course about a group of unemployed, middle aged, English men, who decide to become strippers to earn themselves a few bucks, or rather said pounds.

This movie mostly has originality going for it but other than that I just can't call it an entirely engaging and very memorable movie as well. The movie keeps things deliberately as simplistic and light as possible, with for instance also as a result that I couldn't really get into any of the characters. I certainly wouldn't have minded some more depth, drama, better character development and a few more different side-plots in this movie.

The movie must have thought that the concept alone would be enough to make this a fun, original and interesting enough movie and while it was right to think so, I still was constantly hoping for- and expecting more from this movie, which it never really gave.


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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