In The Heart Of The Sea (2015)

I guess it’s cool to take on a giant whale in order to get paid.

In 1820, the way people needed to get oil is a lot different from what goes on now. Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth) is a crewman on a ship with other men. He boards the New England vessel Essex. Chase and the rest of the crew have to fight for their life on this voyage because a whale of mammoth size and strength attacks with force, crippling their ship and leaving them to drift away in the ocean on small boats. After many weeks being on sea and running out of food, the survivors must do some gruesome things in order to keep themselves a live if they have any hope of being found by people. The problem is, while this is all going on, this giant whale never seems to really go away. Hearing this story be told be a crewman, is what the inspiration was for Herman Melville’s novel, Moby Dick.

So who doesn’t want to see a movie about Moby Dick? I sure as heck do. Being somewhat familiar with the back story, I kind of knew what I was getting involved with, but it still was something cool to look at on-screen. In The Heart Of The Sea is not only an entertaining movie at times, but it is also great to look at on-screen. The effects of the whale and when they are out at sea are some really great scenes, but the movie does run into its fair share of problems. I feel that this movie was really long for no reason. This could have easily been cut 30 minutes. Usually I run into a lot of issues with CGI, but I do think they did right with this movie. I also think that a lot of the story is goofy and way too over-the-top. Nothing just really seemed to add up at all. It starts off interesting and you feel that the story is going to be about a captain and his first mate in a rivalry, but it goes nowhere with that.

The acting is another thing I ran into some issues with. I guess I could say that I generally enjoy watching Chris Hemsworth, but for some odd reason, he did nothing that really impressed me in this movie. For someone who is used to playing a badass Thor in the Marvel films, you don’t see any of that. I know it’s two completely different films, but I just don’t think he was the right person for this role. It’s not that the movie as a whole is a terrible movie, because it’s not. What feeling this movie gives you is just one of disappointment. In The Heart Of The Sea really doesn’t have anything wrong with it where you could say it stinks, but there was nothing exciting about it. For a movie that should have given us a lot more to hope for and be impressed by, it really doesn’t do all that much.

In The Heart Of The Sea is a film that somewhat works because of how visually impressive it is. Everything this movie aims for just falls short of what it should be. The finishing product of this movie is not only predictable, but a typical one that everyone expected. The whole entire film was just thoroughly predictable. Having said all that, the good thing about this movie is that even though it is not one that will get you all excited, it will still end up making out okay because of how awesome the effects and few action sequences are. In The Heart Of The Sea tells a story that everyone knows, but the turnout of this film did not do anything to excite the audience. Besides the scenes that involved the whale, the rest of the movie just seemed relatively dull and more boring. If you are in the mood for a movie to go see on a big screen and enjoy some scenes, In The Heart Of The Sea is one that will probably interest you.

Overall, In The Heart Of The Sea is a movie that doesn’t quite live up to what it should, but still provides enough excitement to make it a fine film that some people can enjoy. However, it still does not deliver in the way it should.

Grade: C




Knock Knock (2015)

Alright, I’m pretty much done with Eli Roth! Architect, Evan Webber (Keanu Reeves) has to spend his father’s day weekend alone when he wife and children are going down the shore because he has to work. While trying to finish up his work, and jam at the same time, two young, attractive women knock on his door and ask to wait for a cab because is raining. Genesis and Bel (Lorenza Izzo and Ana de Armas) end up spending the night with Evan and everything turns into a dangerous and deadly game of cat and mouse. All Evan tried to do was do a nice thing and let these girls wait for their ride, but now he has to fear and worry for his life.

Where do I begin with this one? This is the second film this year that Eli Roth has released and let me tell you, it is almost as bad as the first one. Knock Knock fully convinced me that I do not like Eli Roth as a director. He did steer away from his typical bloody and gruesome movies with this one though, which was an interesting turn for him. There was really nothing about this movie that interested or entertained me in the slightest bit. For reasons unknown, many people seem to love Eli Roth movies and I cannot figure it out. I can at least say that Knock Knock is slightly better than The Green Inferno. For a movie that should have been fun, Knock Knock does everything it can to disappoint you.

The acting we see in Knock Knock is a complete travesty. What the hell, Keanu? I was always a fan of Neo, but he completely shocked me in this, and not in a good way! You would think Eli Roth found some bum off the street and said he would pay him $20 to make no effort at being the star of my movie. Lorenza Izzo was also in Roth’s last film, The Green Inferno. Even though I despised that movie, I think she was actually decent in that, but after seeing her in Knock Knock, I hope she never acts again. Izzo and Ana de Armas were an absolute trainwreck in this film. I understand the premise of the film is ridiculous, but at least try to put some effort into the acting.

Knock Knock has absolutely nothing that is clever about it. This is a completely boring thriller that has absolutely nothing thrilling about it. I wanted to be on the edge of my seat throughout this entire film, but all I was able to do was laugh at how idiotic and ridiculous this film actually was. The whole entire movie just feels slow, and then when you get to the finale, everything just seems stupid and you wonder why that was the ending. So, I am officially breaking up with watching Eli Roth films. He does absolutely nothing to show me he is capable of making a good, enjoyable film that can spark my interest. I have never been satisfied with any of his films and Knock Knock is one that does nothing but disappoint,

Overall, Knock Knock is another one of Eli Roth’s stinkers that is never able to entertain you at all. This is one I do not recommend and I think that you should absolutely not check it out.

Grade: D

Creep (2015)

Aspiring film-maker, Aaron (Patrick Brice) is willing to take any amount of work in the field as he can because things aren’t really going according to plan as he thought they would. Things start to finally look better for Aaron when he gets a phone call from someone looking for a film-maker. Aaron is very excited because this could finally be his opportunity to make some money and do what he loves. When a man named Josef (Mark Duplass) wants to have a film made for his son because he is dying of cancer, Aaron jumps all over this. He wants his son to see things that he did and show him how great of a guy he was. Aaron has to film his every move for a few days. After things start to get a tad weird, Aaron ends up in something that he never expected and yes, it is definitely creepy.

This is a movie that I have been looking forward to for quite sometime and oh boy was it worth it. I love horror movies and I am often a fan of the found-footage genre, even though it has not been all that great the past few years. With Creep, it definitely was the right move. I think that this being a found-footage film made it so much better. I know the name of this movie is Creep, but the movie was definitely creepy. Everything about this film has you nervous, worried and scared. I think this is a very smart horror flick that takes everyone by surprise. For something that doesn’t seem like it would be all that scary, it definitely is. This is just so incredibly disturbing and I love it.

The acting in this is great. The whole entire movie is just these two guys and nobody else. I’ve always been a fan of Mark Duplass and I think he’s always done great work. In Creep, you see just how good he actually is and he gives probably the best role of his career so far. As far as Patrick Brice goes, I have not seen The Overnight, but I hear he is excellent in that. I’ll tell you what, after watching Creep, I can’t say I’m surprised. He played the concerned and “creeped” out guy in this that didn’t know whether or not to feel safe or unbelievably concerned. The two of them together were just great in this and I loved them. They were extremely believable and that’s what the best thing about them was.

Creep is the kind of smart horror film that takes everybody by surprise. I had no idea that this was going to be as good as it was and it turned out to be my favorite horror film of the year, behind It Follows. This has been an unbelievable year for the horror genre and Creep just adds on to the greatness of this year. The greatest thing about this movie is that it definitely proves that with such a small budget, you can make wonders out of what you have to work with. And that’s exactly what Creep does. With only two people, a small budget and great people behind it, Creep proves to be the horror film that will have everyone loving it. This is definitely one I recommend for all you horror fans because you will be overly impressed.

Overall, Creep is the kind of horror movie that you want to see because it’s incredibly smart, and an absolute clever found-footage movie that will have you entertained, scared and intrigued. Two thumbs way up from me!

Grade= A 

The Green Inferno (2015)

New York college freshman, Justine (Lorenza Izzo) wants to do something in life where she can make a difference. While trying to find herself in life, she meets a student activist named Alejandro (Ariel Levy). After attending one of the student meetings, Justine decides to help Alejandro on the next project he is running, which is to save the amazon. After almost being killed in the process, on the way home their plane crashes and kills many of the people on the plane except for about seven people. While everyone is now on their own and they cannot find anything to get a signal out to the world, they are captured by a group of hungry cannibals that are slowly eating the survivors one by one.

This is another one of Eli Roth’s films and oh boy does he let you know it! I don’t know how many of you are familiar with his work in directing, but I will tell you that every movie he makes is absolutely disgusting. You definitely may find your head in a trash can after watching one of his flicks. What he does with The Green Inferno is make you absolutely disgusted and then times that by ten. Just when you think he can’t top the gruesome scenes in his movies, he does it bigger and harder in this one. Having said all that, the movie is pretty horrendous as well. It’s a shame that Roth really did not try to go for scares in this movie. I left feeling like I completely wasted my time and I wasn’t even remotely scared from what was supposed to be a horrifying movie.

The acting in this movie is god-awful, as well as the writing. I know that when movies like this are made, you aren’t going to have someone like Leonardo DiCaprio star in it, but it seems like they just got whoever they could out of Hollywood that didn’t know the first thing when it comes to being an actor. I don’t mean to completely take everything out on the cast, but there was nothing at all that I liked about this movie and it makes me very mad. I have been known to enjoy some of Eli Roth’s films, but I feel that with this one, he really did not go for the scares and all he wanted to do was disgust you and make you laugh. I really was just not impressed in the slightest bit and I feel that he can do some better work than this.

I cannot stress enough that in order to watch this film, you absolutely must not have a weak stomach. As you know that this is what he is known for, he just takes it to a whole other level. This movie was scheduled to come out a while back and it never did. I wonder now if that reason is because the movie itself is so bad. It wouldn’t shock me if that was the reason, but this movie was absolutely not worth the wait. Even if you are a fan of what Roth does, I don’t even think it is possible for you to appreciate anything he does with this movie. The Green Inferno is unfortunately nothing to get your hopes up about and will leave you very angry by how bad it actually is.

Overall, The Green Inferno is a downright disgusting, poorly written and directed movie that is nothing less than a trainwreck of a film. Eli Roth fans: I am sorry you will be so disappointed by what he does with this one.

Grade= D

Counting Crows Borgata Festival Park Atlantic City, New Jersey

Yes, Mr. Jones came and he struck up a conversation. On Saturday, September 5, the Counting Crows played a sold out show at the newest venue that the Borgata has to offer, the Festival Park. It has been a long while since I’ve seen a Counting Crows show and I must say that they did not disappoint. They play in Atlantic City once a year. I think this is something they really like doing because they can get fans from all over to come and see them. The opening act was Citizen Cope. I did not go into the venue to see them perform because I had little to no interest in them. Once I got in there for the Counting Crows the crowd was more than ready after sitting through that band. I then knew that this was going to be a great night and that I was in for a good show.

One of the main things that the Counting Crows do for each show is switch up their setlist. This is something that you know I am a huge fan of. There at a point in their career where they can play anything and the crowd will still love it. They do not have to limit themselves to strictly playing “Mr. Jones” and “Round Here.” “Mr. Jones” was played that night, but it is not every show they decide to play it. They came out in full blast with playing a major hit of theirs in a slower rendition, “Rain King.” This really got everyone going and then it just pretty much went from there. There was however, one major concern with this show.

The thing about Adam Duritz is that he changes the way he sings each song and it never sounds like the album version. A lot of people have issues with this, but I loved it and I thought he sounded awesome. My only major concern with this show is that there were too many people who were probably given tickets from the casino in exchange for them dumping $50,000 in the slot machines. These are people who aren’t really fans and are just at the show because they had free tickets and I think it kind of brought the crowd down a little. I also do not think it was loud enough to be truly honest. They decided to do their cover of “Friend Of The Devil,” which is originally by The Grateful Dead and it without a doubt was my favorite moment of the show.

Overall, The Counting Crows put on a show that was fun, entertaining and had you singing throughout. They are a band who will always be around and if they are in your are, you should definitely check them out sometime.

Concert Rating: 7/10

Billy Joel Citizens Bank Park Philadelphia, PA (2015)

And for the second year in a row, Billy comes back stronger than ever! I was lucky enough to spend this past Thursday night with Billy Joel and his band. Billy came around to Philadelphia last year and he decided to do it this year as well. I think he wants to go around to all different cities and break all these records for most performances by an artist. That is completely fine with me. He is someone I can definitely say I will go see every time he is in my city. Seeing Billy Joel is pretty hard to put into words. He has an unbelievable stage presence and has the crowd singing the entire show. Billy played all the songs you would want to hear and then some. The best part about this is that even though Billy is sixty-six years old, he still sounds as good as ever. I don’t think he has lost a thing.

The day before the concert, Billy’s wife gave birth to their newborn daughter and that really had him energetic throughout the entire show. You could tell it wasn’t an ordinary show for him and that he was very happy. I knew immediately that this was going to be an awesome show because he played “Big Shot” and “My Life” right off the bat. Out of the three times I have seen Billy live, I can easily say that this was the best show i have seen him play. He played non-stop for 150 minutes. Usually he plays for two hours, but this time he wanted to do a longer set with some interesting songs, like “No Mans Land” and also “An Innocent Man.” These are songs he does not usually perform and I was glad he did. I love when artists try to add some new songs to the normal setlist.

Billy still played all the major hits you would want to hear and he even played “Captain Jack,” which had the place erupting when he finished. The crowd was completely in sync when they were singing his songs. Even songs like “The Ballad Of Billy The Kid” had the crowd going crazy. The whole show was just incredible and easily one of the best concerts I have attended. The whole show was very entertaining from start to finish. If Billy comes around to your area in the near future, he is definitely someone you will want to go see. Trust me, it is definitely worth it!

Overall, Billy Joel gave an incredible performance in Philadelphia this past Thursday. It was a great evening of tailgating, singing and all-around fun for everyone. Billy Joel is someone who I will always see as long as he tours. I definitely can’t wait to see if he comes next year!

Concert Rating: 10/10

Vacation (2015)

Why can’t people just leave classic movies alone and accept the fact that the original will never be topped? Many years after the original family trip to Walley World, grown up Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) wants to take his family there and remember how great of a time he had on his trip there when he was young. He surprises his wife, Debbie (Christina Applegate) and their two children with a long road trip like his father did for him. Rusty and the rest of the Griswold’s pack up the car and hit the road for what will be a very long road trip. They are in desperate need of some family bonding and Rusty feels this is the best way to get it done. What is supposed to be a fun bonding trip turns into nothing but a nightmare.

Remakes can sometimes work out successfully, but Vacation absolutely drowns. I did not really find all that much about this movie that I liked or even enjoyed. It did give me the occasional chuckle, but as I expected, it was one of the most disappointing remakes I have seen. Like the original film, everything about this is over-the-top, but the original actually pulled that off and that is now known as a classic film. With the new Vacation, it will be very easy to forget about it. They relied way too much on the original film for a lot and I think that is why I didn’t like it. It’s very easy to see when a movie is made just for strictly cash and not for people to enjoy. This is something that is going to do great at the box office because people love the original.

The acting in this is probably the best thing about this and it is the reason why this movie was not a complete travesty. You see some occasionally funny performances from Ed Helms and Charlie Day in this, but even with funny and entertaining performances like that, the movie still fails and doesn’t do anything for me. Let’s just be real for a quick second people. This does not even come close to how good the first one was. I thought it would ruin the first one for me, but I had to immediately watch that after seeing this because it just put me in a bad mood. I am pretty surprised that there was even a remake of this movie. There was already four films to follow the original and we see how only two of them worked out.

As I said earlier, this movie is only made to be a money-maker. I highly doubt this is one that can be enjoyed by people because it is very un-entertaining. The few laughs you have cannot even help someone say this was a good movie. If people think this was good, then they all must think Vegas Vacation was a masterpiece. I was more bored and annoyed with this movie than anything else. It just felt like it was dragging on the whole time and nothing was really going anywhere. It really was pretty much the same as the first film. He takes his family to Walley World and he has all these troubles on the way and then when they get there it is all not worth the trip. This is one I definitely do not recommend going to see in theaters. Hell, I’d just skip it all together if I were you!

Overall, Vacation does nothing to impress or even humor its audience. This is not a very good comedy and not one of the better remakes that you will see. There was too much relied on the original film.

Grade= D (Bad)