Blair Witch (2016)

Twenty years after Heather Donahue went missing in the woods of Burkittsville, Maryland, new video footage surfaced of her death. Her brother and his friends decide that they want to go do a little exploring in the woods to find out where this video was found, and also if there is a chance that Heather could still be alive. Not only are they interested in seeing if Heather is still alive, but they also would like to find out if this Blair Witch stuff is a bunch of hocus pocus or if the witch is real and does haunt those woods. After spending a few nights in the Burkittsville woods, they all eventually find out what it was they were really looking for.

The original Blair Witch Project is without-a-doubt one of the all-time classics of the horror genre and there is no way that is going to change. That is why when you hear they are doing some sort of remake with this movie you think that it will be a total disaster given the fact that this is just how these things work. Sadly, if you predicted this movie to be a disaster, then you are absolutely right. The Blair Witch Project introduced the found-footage idea for a movie and it really excelled at doing that. Unfortunately this is now becoming a very common thing with horror movies and after having the feeling that this has to go, Blair Witch really reassured me. Not to say that it has not worked in the past with horror movies, but enough is enough. This was one of the major issues I had with this film, but another one that I can’t wrap my mind around is why they decided to make this movie. The answer is simply to make money. People need to start understanding that you can still make a lot of money even if the movie is good.

Blair Witch seemed like it did not try hard at all to be a good film and it definitely showed. After the original film having such success, you would think that in order to make this movie it would have to be as good or almost as good. As predicted, it falls short of even coming close to the original. And also, horror movies can still be bad and have enough frights in it to really scare you, but that is another problem about this movie. It just is simply not all that scary. I think the entire film was predictable from beginning to end, especially the scares. You could see everything coming from a mile away and it really put a damper on the film. After a good while of knowing this movie was going to be made, I was really excited to see it. This is just one that you really should skip and never watch. It is one of those remakes that makes you wish the first film was nonexistent.

The major problem with this movie is that it was just completely unnecessary to make. I understand that these studios want to make money and all, but you’ve got to be kidding me with this one. This was nothing, but a poor excuse of a movie. Now I want to talk about the similarities between both films. Everything about this movie makes you feel like you are rewatching the original film, but the reboot is just terrible. They went for the exact same thing because they felt they needed this movie to be a crowd pleaser, which it was far from. You just feel like nothing is different with this movie and they never try anything new. How much longer are we really going to be able to put up with these crappy, horror remakes and reboots? It is the same song and dance with all of these movies and Blair Witch is another perfect example of why these kinds of movies never work well.

Overall, Blair Witch was only made with one intention in mind, which is try to make as much money as the studio can and not care if this is a terrible movie. That is all you see and get from this movie. Nothing about it is different or even scary for that matter. If you have already seen this film then you understand, but for those that haven’t, this is one you should absolutely skip.

Grade: D

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Suicide Squad (2016)

In the heart of an almost WWIII, intelligence officer Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) has an idea that shocks everybody. She wants to assemble a team of the most dangerous and incarcerated supervillains for a top-secret mission. The U.S. government rounds up everybody who you would never want walking the streets again. Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang ( Jai Courtney), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Diablo (Jay Hernandez). After being known as the Suicide Squad, these five criminals must help defeat a powerful and mysterious entity that. Also, there is a Joker (Jared Leto) running around that has some tricks up his sleeve.

It’s hard to believe that summer is almost coming to an end and Suicide Squad has just been released to theaters. When the trailer hit the internet last summer everybody thought this year was going to take forever. Fortunately it did not and now we have Suicide Squad. The summer of 2016 has been a rather disappointing one for movies and Suicide Squad gave us something to look forward to.Going into this movie I felt that this was either make or break for DC because let’s face it people, Marvel has been topping DC for several years now and it’s not even close. With the last two mediocre movies that DC has made, it really seemed as if they needed Suicide Squad to kill it and be a fantastic movie. While it may not be an unbelievable movie, it still had enough in the tank to save DC in my opinion. Even though nothing about this movie is really all that special, Suicide Squad does everything in its power to keep you entertained throughout the entire film.

Even though Tom Hardy backed out of this movie, I still feel that the acting was the best part about it. I think we can all agree that Margot Robbie stole the show and was hands down the best in this film. Harley Quinn just seemed like the type of role she was meant to play and hopefully we may be able to see some more movies with her as Harley Quinn. I just feel that the casting was spot on in this movie. Everybody was pretty perfect and I don’t really have anything to say about any of the actors. I do however, feel that if Tom Hardy stayed with this movie it would have made it so much better because he is just the man. As far as Jared Leto goes, I think everybody can decide what they think about him because he isn’t really in the movie all that much. I did like the type of Joker that he was portraying and I do wish we would have seen more of him in this movie.

The action we see in Suicide Squad is awesome and all, but there just isn’t all that much to have you excited throughout the movie. What bothers me the most is that it did not even come close to meeting any expectations. The first half of this movie is awesome, but the story gets way too goofy. While it is hands down better than Dawn of Justice, there still is not anything about this movie that has me happy I’ve seen it. Other than the acting, my favorite thing about this movie is the soundtrack. Suicide Squad is filled with tons of great music that kind of go perfectly with the film. Even if it may not quite be the savior of DC, it does however, give us enough hope that there could be good things to come. Except if Zack Snyder is directing the movies, then they will be bad. Suicide Squad definitely succeeded during the first half of the movie, but then started getting kind of goofy and all over the place. Did Suicide Squad save DC from completely going down the tubes? I’ll let you decide that.

Overall, Suicide Squad may not be the breath of fresh air that we see from DC, but there is still enough excitement from the movie to keep you entertained. I feel as if it was definitely better than Batman v Superman, but it may still be a movie that a lot of people forget about. There is definitely a lot of great acting and action scenes in this film, but the story gets way too goofy in the second half.

Grade: C

The Conjuring 2 (2016)

After much speculation of the Amityville case being real or a hoax, people want to know if Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) are really truthful paranormal investigators or if this is one big lie. After years of different cases, Ed and Lorraine decide that it may be nice to go into early retirement. Lorraine feels that everything she has done has really taken a toll on her and it is time for the both of them to stop. However, things immediately change when they hear the news of a family in England who is desperate for their help. This is something Lorraine did not want to do, but they feel they have an obligation to do this and it is the main reason they met in the first place. Ed and Lorraine may be up for their toughest and most frightening case yet and Lorraine seems to find her self battling with more evil spirits as the cases go on.

When you go back to 2013 and you think of the first Conjuring film the immediate response is that it was extremely frightening. The very first movie could arguably go down as the most scariest film ever made. Going into this film there was much speculation about whether or not they could actually pull off another good horror movie that not only just makes you jump, but actually makes you feel as if the people being haunted are you. Luckily for all horror fans The Conjuring 2 did everything in its power to try to be just as good as the first movie and really succeeded in doing so. Director, James Wan has pulled off another great horror film that will have people talking for years. I think Wan has really found his niche with horror films. After the original Insidious did so well, he figured it was time for better and scarier films, and he recently made two great one’s.

The main thing I love about this movie is that it stuck close to how the first one was told, but not the same type of story at all. The movie just gets more and more frightening by the scene. It is a constant buildup of horror and throughout the entire movie you cannot help but feel anxiety while in the theater. This is what really gets people with this movie because it really does a great job of the build-up. Wan does not just go for your simple jumpy scenes. There have only been two films I have seen in theaters that have actually flat-out bothered me after the movie and The Conjuring 2 is one of them. Another thing that is great about this movie is that James Wan proved with a different story and trying a different approach that he is not trying to do the same thing or shoot to make the same movie over and over again.

Another great thing about this movie is that everything that goes on is really unpredictable. There is never much that happens where you say that you knew that was coming because Wan will throw anything he can at you. Something else that makes this a really good film is that Wan focused on my favorite thing in a movie and that is character development. You really get a feel for who these people are and I think they did a great job with doing this. Even though the movie is a tad overlong, it is perfectly fine because I promise you will be scared throughout. If you are a fan of horror or just simply looking for a movie to see that will scare the hell out of you, then The Conjuring 2 is definitely your movie and I am not sure if we will ever see movies that are scarier than one’s like this.

Overall, The Conjuring 2 provides a movie going experience like none other. With an absolutely frightening film and a film that has a really good and interesting premise, The Conjuring 2 lives up to all the hype the first movie has and may be just as good if not better.

Grade: A

X – Men: Apocalypse (2016)

Quite a few years have passed since the Days Of Future Past era, the X – Men do not seem to have all that much going on. Going back many years ago, the immortal Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) becomes the very first and most powerful mutant that has ever existed. Awakening after thousands of years, he sets out on a mission to recruit some of the other mutants including Magneto (Michael Fassbender) to create a whole entire new world order. As things appear to be really going well for Apocalypse and his crew, the other X – Men, like Professor X (James McAvoy) and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) are forming an alliance that will ultimately put an end to this new world order. What this means is that a huge battle between the good and bad mutants will now take place so the X – Men can try to stop Apocalypse from destroying all of mankind.

In the past few years we have been given three new X – Men films and after two movies that seemed as if the franchise was being revamped, it now almost makes perfect sense why the third movie was nothing besides a huge disappointment. After redeeming themselves from the Origins films, X – Men was now the new Marvel movies that had me incredibly excited. The sad thing about this is that Apocalypse is absolutely nothing to be excited about in the least bit. For starters, the movie is very overlong and nothing really seems to stick. This is not the first dull film that we have seen from X – Men, but it is definitely the first that director, Bryan Singer has given us. For what is supposed to be a really exciting movie with someone who seemed perfect to play the role of Apocalypse, the movie just falls short of everything you want out of an X – Men flick.

I would not say that the problem with this movie is the cast because we have already been shown twice that this cast can work tremendously together. All of the X – Men worked well together, but there was really something about Oscar Isaac that really did not impress me at all, which is really unusual because he had a very good year of acting in 2015. This is also what really surprises me about Bryan Singer. After seeing that this guy could really make these X – Men films one’s that are always exciting and a huge treat to see, he has finally made his dullest film of the franchise. The entire film just seemed like all Singer was doing was setting up for something bigger and better to come. One can really only hope that this is not wishful thinking for the next film, but we will see.

I don’t want to sit here and bash every ounce of this film because we do see some really good and exiting action, but because the movie is so mediocre it is hard to remember the good things about it. The whole entire plot just had so much going on that you never knew really who to look out for. The film had nobody that was really standing out because there is so many characters that none of them get to really show what their purpose was in this role. What saddens me the most about this film is that not even the impressive effects and action could save the movie. All you really get from this film when it is all said and done is nothing but a poor and mediocre approach at what should have been a movie that made an exciting experience to watch considering the previous two films were so impressive. This franchise has a lot to redeem itself with in the next film.

Overall, X – Men Apocalypse is clearly the weakest link out of Bryan Singer’s films. The next movie really desperately needs to save this one because the new X – Men films may become some movies that now people may begin to forget about. With an outstanding cast and some good action, it almost seems as if nothing can really save this movie. Singer… it’s time for you to go back to work.

Grade: D

Pearl Jam Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center

After three years of waiting for the return of Pearl Jam, they came back to Philadelphia and rocked harder than ever. Veteran Seattle rockers, Pearl Jam, returned to Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia to play for two sold-out crowds on back-to-back nights. This tour marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the band. Not only are they one of my favorite bands, but it really is great to be able to see them on both nights because they always surprise you with something new every show. The setlist is never the same for the most part and it really varies from show to show. Pearl Jam played for three hours straight at each show. On Friday, April 29, Pearl Jam marked their tenth consecutive sell-out in the Wells Fargo Center. I guess they felt it was their obligated to do something special for the fans, and they certainly did just that. As a way to give thanks to the fans, Pearl Jam decided to play Ten in its complete entirety.

The second show in Philadelphia on April 29, marked the tenth consecutive sell-out in the Wells Fargo Center for Pearl Jam, which resulted in the arena honoring them with a banner that shows 10 and Pearl Jam. They also have this for Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel, but Pearl Jam has a long way to go before they catch up to them. It was really easy to figure out what Pearl Jam was doing by the third song when they played “Alive.” Typically when they play this song it would be towards the end of the show, but when we heard this as the third song in, the crowd started going nuts because they knew what was happening. Not only is this the most successful and probably best album that the band has made, but it was only the second time they have performed it in its entirety over the course of twenty-five years. This is probably the only time I will be able to see this from the band, but never say never.

So after an hour into the show and Pearl Jam fans have nearly lost their voices from singing every song on Ten, the band decided they needed to still throw a lot more hits into the setlist. They did this by immediately playing “Corduroy.” This is a song that is easily a crowd favorite and as soon as Eddie Vedder began strumming his guitar the crowd immediately went insane and began singing. This is not even half of the concert that we are through and every person in the audience could easily leave that show completely satisfied. I have been to many Pearl Jam shows and I can easily say this has been the best one that I have been to. Besides playing almost every song of Pearl Jam that you would want to hear, they even managed to squeeze in some covers as well. Songs like “Baba O’Reilly” and “Last Kiss” were played which immediately brought the house down.

If you are someone who is a fan of Pearl Jam you can easily understand what makes their concerts so special. They are a band that really makes sure you do not leave disappointed. There is a reason they are voted as one of the greatest bands to see live. It is extremely rare to see an album played in its entirety by Pearl Jam, but that does not mean you will be disappointed if they do not do that. If you have the opportunity to catch them on one of their remaining tour dates, I strongly recommend to do so. If you have to wait for the next tour, trust me and hang in there because it is very much worth it.

Concert Rating: 10/10

Top 10 Movies of 2015

Well everybody, it’s a new year, which means another year of film has wrapped up. With Oscar night rapidly approaching and everybody trying to sneak in as many movies as they can before February 28, here is a list of the top ten films that I have seen this year that are almost all up for Academy Awards.

 

10 Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max was really one of the first movies that I saw in the summer of 2015 that really shocked me. What intrigued me the most about this film was the fact that Tom Hardy was in it, but it never disappointed in any way. I love that this film is nominated for ten awards and I hope it does win a few.

9 It Follows

It Follows was a movie that came out very early in 2015. This is usually the time when movies are not very good. This became probably the best horror film I have ever seen. Everything was incredibly smart and interesting about this. It Follows never tried to be anything other than what it was and that is what really sparked my love for this movie.

8 Creed

Creed was a movie that for the longest time seemed like it would be a disaster for me, but I was definitely wrong on that one. Creed turned out to be one of the best movies of 2015 and I love how everybody agrees on this. Being from Philadelphia, you are almost obligated to like Rocky Balboa, and Creed has saved the Rocky franchise. I really look forward to what the next one will bring us.

7 The Hateful Eight

The Hateful Eight is definitely one of the weaker links that we have seen from Tarantino, but it was still an unbelievable film to watch. I expect a lot from Tarantino when I see his movies and I do not necessarily think he disappointed here, but it is definitely not his best. Even though it was not his personal best, The Hateful Eight still turned out to be one of the best movies of 2015 and there is absolutely no doubt about that.

6 Sicario

Sicario was one of the number one films that I was looking forward to this year and it absolutely did not disappoint in any way. This film is filled with terrific acting and a highly tense story that keeps your heart beating throughout the entire film. This is easily one of the best films of this year and I am disappointed by the lack of Oscar nominations it has because it is so good. I would have loved to see Del Toro sneak in for a nomination.

5 The Martian

The Martian was the first movie of almost Oscar season where I said it was going to be considered a comedy as well as an incredible drama, but still get the recognition it deserves. What’s great about this movie is that it assured me that sci-fi is now back once again, and very much alive. I loved everything about this movie and I wish it could have been number one, but this year was incredible for movies.

4 The Revenant

The Revenant is a movie where I’m not even sure where to begin talking about sometimes. It is an incredibly gruesome film and I do not think we will see anything like it for quite a while. Despite the fact that this movie is so gruesome, it is also one of the best movies to look at all year. Also, The Revenant is filled with some tremendous acting that may all receive awards for what they showed us (Leo and Tom Hardy in particular).

3 Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is absolutely one of the best films I have seen this year. Aaron Sorkin has given us another script that completely blows us away. Michael Fassbender is going to give DiCaprio a run for his money in this extremely talented list of Best Actor Oscar nominations. Steve Jobs is a film that never disappoints in any way and you almost never want it to end.

2 Room

Room was the type of movie where I did not want to know a single thing about what I was investing myself into, and holy shit did I make the right decision. Everything about this movie is deeply inspiring and it is an absolute touching movie. The deep, emotional impact this movie has on you makes it something that is absolutely worth seeing. Also, the Oscar recognition this has, especially Brie Larson in particular, let alone a Best Picture nomination, is something that makes me extremely happy.

This year has been packed with so many movies that could have easily made this list, but it did take much time to decide on movies that I thought were absolutely the best of the best this year. There were at least ten more films that were considered for this list, and in a perfect world they would all be on here, but they were just not able to quite make the cut. So, after all this talk about the 2015 films, here is the number one movie of the year that is something everybody should see.

1 Spotlight

As soon as I stepped out of the theater, I knew that Spotlight was going to be the best movie that I have seen all year. You may say this is because of what I want to do as a career, and that definitely has a lot to do with it, but this movie was absolutely perfect in every way. This movie was smart, and most of all relevant to what happens in the world today. If every movie could be as great as this, we would live in a perfect world.

Well folks, that about covers the best films of 2015. I know I’ve been slacking lately with reviews, but I’ve been in London for the past month now and it has been getting the best of me. I am going to try my best to start posting more while I’m here, but don’t worry because when I get back it will be back to normal. I hope everybody has a great 2016 and don’t ever forget to check out my website for all the latest reviews on new movies and some local concerts.

Peace out,

Bobby W

The Hateful Eight (2015)

Another few years go by and Tarantino shows up again.

While in pursuit to the town of Red Rock in Wyoming, John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russel)  is taking fugitive prisoner, Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Lee) there to be hanged by the neck for committing multiple crimes. However, along their journey back to Red Rock, they encounter a bounty hunter known as Major Marquis (Samuel L. Jackson). He is on his way to Red Rock because he needs to collect the fee for his killing of prisoners. Ruth lets Marquis come along for the ride because they are heading to the same place, and also because he has some respect for Major Marquis. A deadly blizzard is heading their way, so they need to stop somewhere to rest for a couple of days in order to let this blizzard pass over. The group finds a shelter known as “Minnie’s Haberdashery.” When they arrive to “Minnie’s,” they are not the only one’s there. Four other men are there as well and everything seems to be real nice in the beginning, but as the time passes, it is evident that something shady is up with one of them.

Something special about Quentin Tarantino is that he is going to do whatever he wants and doesn’t give a damn what anybody thinks because to be truly honest, almost one hundred percent of the time it fully works for him. The Hateful Eight is the second Western film he has shown us and while it may not be as good as Django Unchained, it still deserves a lot of credit because it was awesome. Most of the major talk about this movie is that it was going to be shown in 70mm, which is really awesome because Tarantino likes to do all his movies in an old-fashioned way. It was really interesting to see him do this because being a fan of film, that kind of stuff is really cool to me. As with every Tarantino movie, The Hateful Eight is crazy and filled with a ton of violence. For a movie that was over three hours, I never found myself bored or uninterested once, which is a great thing considering that a movie over three hours is extremely intimidating to watch, except if it is a Tarantino flick.

The acting in The Hateful Eight is spot-on and excellent as usual. Tarantino always knows who he needs in his movies to make them great, and everybody is excellent in The Hateful Eight. Samuel L. Jackson usually finds a way to show up in almost every Tarantino film, and that is perfectly ok with me due to the fact that he is awesome on this movie. Maybe not Oscar contender worthy, but he still is as bad-ass and funny as you would want him to be. The same goes for Jennifer Jason Leigh. I really feel like she was the star of this movie and may very well find herself an Oscar nomination. We haven’t really seen much of Leigh in the past few years and with her performance in The Hateful Eight, I feel like she is going to make some sort of comeback. Besides these two being the best in the film, we still see fine performances from the rest of the Tarantino crew that are known as “The Hateful Eight.”

As interesting and awesome as the film was, I have to say that it was definitely not the best film we have seen from Tarantino, which is not that hard to say given that every film he makes is a masterpiece. Even though this may not be on the top of his list of great films he has made, it is definitely not the worst and even the worst movie he has made is still great. I really want him to move away from Westerns for now and do something different with his next film. Tarantino is arguably the best in the business and I don’t want to see him have limits. Anything you get out of Tarantino is going to be a phenomenal film. The Hateful Eight is still an incredibly well-crafted film that even with the three-hour runtime can still be quite the experience to watch. The thing about the three-hour runtime is that it is completely necessary. Even though that seems like a very long time for a movie, everything that happens in the film takes some time and it was for all the right reason why this was such a long movie. If you are a fan of Tarantino, know that this is a movie that you have to check out.

Overall, The Hateful Eight is another one in the books for Quentin Tarantino and even though it may not be his best film, it is still well-directed, written and presented in an amazing way for film lovers. Even though this movie is three hours long, it is still necessary and I can’t wait to see it again.

Grade: A