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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Tag Archives: Rory Culkin

Columbus (2017)

Life is architecture. That works, right?

Casey (Haley Lu Richardson) is a recent high school graduate, is at a bit of a stand-still in her life. She wants to go out to college, work on architecture, study, and make a name for herself, but ever since her dad left, her mother (Michelle Forbes) has been having some issues with staying sober. So it’s what keeps Casey at home, working at the local library, and occasionally, flirting with her coworker (Rory Culkin). But then her life changes a bit when Jin (John Cho), enters town. His father, a renowned architecture scholar, falls ill and is forced to stay in the hospital, making Jin to come back home and figure out what the next step is. He, like Casey, is in a bit of a rut and together, the two strike up something of a friendship that starts off as admiration for one another, but then, turns into something far more sweet. But not in the way you’d wholly expect.

Who cares about the people? Look at those trees!

Columbus is one of those rare movies that isn’t afraid to take its time, literally plant a camera down, just keep shooting, and use absolute silence. It’s the kind of movie that’s perfect for when you have an empty home all to yourself, because there’s hardly a score (and when it does play, it’s beautiful) and just a bunch of characters walking, talking, and gawking at the beautiful buildings all around them. If that sounds too boring for you, then yeah, Columbus is just not going to work.

It’s a smart, interesting, and relatively touching character-study that should be seen.

But hey, if it’s not your bag, then it’s not your bag. So be it.

Regardless, Columbus brings us a smart and fresh voice in writer/director Kogonada who, thankfully, makes the smart decision to not get all that pretentious with the material. Sure, it’s about architecture and certain people’s love for it, but the movie’s much more about taking advantage of the life you have, the opportunities you get, and figuring out just where you want to go next. Architecture is used as a gorgeous backdrop, but really, it’s less about the buildings, shapes, sizes, and colors, and much more about the actual humans who build them and live in them.

And with that said, it’s a pretty great ensemble. Haley Lu Richardson shows us that she’s one of the more interesting younger-actresses out there who, despite her beautiful looks, is also able to really give off the vibes that she’s just another ordinary, young, and confused girl in this world. The movie smartly doesn’t make her decision to leave all about a romantic love-interest, but her dedication to her mother and the fact that she has no clue just how to go about moving out and doing something with her life. She’s not whiny and sad – in fact, she’s quite settled and pleased – but she also wants to go somewhere, anywhere that’s possible.

“So, like, buildings.”

It’s a lovely role that reminds me of a young Winona Ryder. I hope that Richardson’s career turns out the same way, without the shoplifting incident.

But then, there’s John Cho who is also very interesting here, not because he plays a man at his crossroads, but because he’s actually in a drama, given a role that’s worthy of his talents. Cho’s got great delivery where he always seems like the smartest guy in the room and will call you out immediately, but also shows that there’s plenty of insecurity to him. The relationship he and Richardson’s character has, seems like it’s going to get weird and creepy, but actually turns into something beautiful that’s not just shocking to us, but to them, too. It’s sweet and mannered and never once does it seem like it’s going to go over the line.

That’s not just good acting, either – that’s just good writing.

Remember the name “Kogonada”, people.

Consensus: Mannered and a little slow, Columbus may seem like it’s taking too much time to get going, but it’s sort of the point and it helps the performances work so much more.

8 / 10

Seriously, who needs humans when we have buildings!?!?

Photos Courtesy of: Superlative Films

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The Chumscrubber (2005)

Living in the ‘burbs is like torture. But then what’s living in the city like? Automatic death?

Troubled teenager Dean Stiffle (Jamie Bell) lives in what is your typical, slice-of-life, suburban town: Everybody’s happy, always smiling, on some sort of medication, and don’t have anything to worry about whatsoever, except for maybe being perceived as “less fashionable” from their neighbors. That said, underneath this whole facade, there’s a darkness lurking in the background; a darkness that shows its ugly head when Dean’s best-friend kills himself. The reason why, or just who the hell this kid was is totally irrelevant, the fact of the matter is that it happened, and now people know that there is something to worry about out there in the world, but to these kids, the only thing that matters is getting their fix of drugs and money. That’s why when Dean is bullied into getting his best-friend’s drug-stash for a group of bullies, he isn’t surprised since everybody’s so dull and boring as it is, however, ugliness starts to show up when the Mayor’s soon-to-be-step-son gets kidnapped by these bullies, leaving Dean with no choice but to have to go through and get the stash. But not everything is what it seems to be in upper-class suburbia.

Whenever there’s a movie that has to do with the suburbs, you always know what to expect: Angst and anger. Basically, those two words can go hand-in-hand, but with this movie, it somehow seems to be two different things that, like the movie itself, don’t really come together all that well in the end, yet, work well when they’re just doing their own thing. It’s sort of weird to explain, so be careful of this review because it may dive into some huge “rants”, and if that’s the case, I apologize ahead of time. However, I think you know what you’re getting yourself into when you type in “dtmmr.com” on your web browser, so why warn? Let’s just get on with it!

Let the kid's duke it out! I mean, they ARE the future after all!

Come on, let the kid’s duke it out! I mean, they ARE the future after all!

As I was alluding to not too long ago (5 seconds ago, actually), the movie has two points it’s trying to make about suburbia: 1.) being apart of it sucks, and 2.) the parents don’t listen to their kids, and vice-versa. Both points have been made many, many times in other, and sometimes, better movies before, but here, I was slightly intrigued by where it went with its material. It shows you not only how the world can feel like it’s closing in on you sometimes when you’re at your lowest-peak, but how nobody fully seems to “get” just where the hell you’re coming from. I know this is all coming off like some bad speech written for Emo Night, but it’s the truth. When things are so awful and shitty, sometimes, they just get worse, and it seems like nobody cares about that fact, or wants to do anything about it.

That’s why the movie sort of struck a chord with me. Not only was this kid’s story of being the outcast, to being the same person pretty interesting that I’m surprised the movie went with, but because it gave us a glimpse at all the characters here. Not just Dean, but his family, and other’s families as well. Some are more fucked-up than others; while others are just as normal and easy-going as they are perceived as. The movie obviously knows who it’s making fun of, and who it’s in favor of, and it works well if you get the type of satirical humor it constantly throws at you.

However, like I said before, the movie doesn’t come together so well at the end because you still realize that there’s a plot here that needs to be told in an effective, compelling way that makes you give a hoot about what could possibly happen to these characters; and you just don’t get that. Instead, you get a half-assed attempt at a thriller with kids, that makes you feel like you’re watching a Larry Clark movie, minus all of the adolescents taking part in drinking, sex, drugs, and all sorts of other countless acts of debauchery. And in case you couldn’t tell, that’s a bad thing since those are what usually keep those types of movies going. As for this one, I felt like they needed a little something more to spice up this material and get it to be more than just a thought-piece on being young and living in the suburbs, but sadly, it just stayed that way.

Like I said though, had great discussion-points it brought up more than a handful of times, but yet, couldn’t go any further with them because it had an actual-plot that brought it all down.

Hmm? Smells like rabbit stew?

Hmm? Smells like rabbit stew?

If anything, what kept this movie alive, especially by the very end, was the amazing ensemble this movie had on-display. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that’s why I was so intrigued by this movie in the first place! Jamie Bell leads the film as Derrick, and gives us a nice glimpse at an outcast who isn’t an outcast because he’s weird, it’s just because he isn’t narrow-minded like everybody else and he knows it, hence why everybody calls him meanie-weanie names like “loser”, “freak”, and “fag”. You know, the typical teenager defense-mechanisms. While Derrick was an interesting enough character to have a whole movie revolve around just him, his mind, and his inner-most intimate thoughts, the movie gives him this crappy-plot that never goes anywhere with itself, nor with him. Bell does what he can with his Yank accent, but in the end, he just feels like a wasted piece of talent that could have done so much more, had the movie decided to get real up close and personal with its lead character.

Even the adults could have gotten more attention and I would have been happy, although, I do have to say that they’re mainly aided by a bunch of great actors doing what they do best: Work shop. Allison Janney plays Derrick’s mom who feels like she wants so much more with her life than just constantly cooking, cleaning, and caring for the house, and you see that come out more than a couple of times, all to great-effect because it’s Allison Janney we’re talking about here; William Finchter plays Derrick’s pretentious, deuchy therapist dad that constantly thinks that pills are the only way to get past your problems, and does well, especially since he didn’t creep me out once here; Ralph Fiennes plays the Mayor of the town who seems to be a little “out-there” in terms of his thought-process and it’s pretty interesting to watch at times, even though the movie uses him too much as a crutch for getting its point across; Glenn Close plays the mother of the boy who committed suicide, and does it so well because it’s almost as if she’s a Stepford Wife, just trying to let everybody know she’s all fine and perfect on the outside, but on in the inside, she’s absolutely dying a slow and painful death; and I’m always down for a nice shot of Carrie-Anne Moss in a bikini. I mean, hell, why not?!?! There’s plenty more in this cast where that came from, but I think you get the point: They aren’t the problem, it’s the script that they’re working with.

Consensus: Material like this has been developed before, and while The Chumscrubber attempts to make some of those messages and points stick in our minds, it only gets bogged-down by an all-too-conventional plot-line that brings nothing new to the table in terms of originality, but doesn’t really mesh well with what the movie as a whole is trying to say.

5.5 / 10 = Rental!!

"Mom or Dad? Can I just choose "Neither"?"

“Mom or Dad? Can I just choose “Neither”?”

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

Mean Creek (2003)

Kids can be brutal.

A group of misfit kids celebrate their youngest member (Rory Culkin)’s birthday, but are doing more than just letting the good times roll. Instead, they use the birthday as an excuse to mess with a bully (Josh Peck) and teach him a lesson or two about picking on kids who are younger and smaller than him. However, the kids don’t realize what they’re getting themselves into, especially when shite gets a bit too serious for their own good.

Throughout my high school days, I never really saw any bullying, ever. Yeah, of course I would see the occasional “booking” of a nerd going to math class, or a “taco” of another person’s book bag, but nothing too serious to the point of where I felt like some kid was going to get killed because of it. I said the same things and stated my ideas on the idea of bullying in that documentary, Bully, and all this time later, nothing still has changed. That’s why I’m glad I stayed away from being bullied or doing the bullying, just so I didn’t have the problem of seeing a kid go bat-shit like this.

First-time writer/director Jacob Aaron Estes does a magnificent job with this material, and makes a surprisingly moral tale out of a group of just 6 kids. Some of these kids are nice, some are kind hearted, some are bad, some are evil, and some are just plain evil. The film starts off like you’re going to see this bully finally get what’s coming to him, but in little time, you start to realize that this kid isn’t such a terrible person after all. In fact, he’s just as troubled as the dicks that put him up to this whole screwing with. But it’s not him that’s the only one that has problems, everybody else does too and if they don’t have problems, they at least have something that ticks away at them until the point of where they are absolutely losing their shit. This fascinated me because I thought that this flick was just going to be a mixture of Stand By Me and Bully (Larry Clark’s movie), but what I got instead, really tug at my brain and made me think a little bit.

It’s hard, actually, really too hard to make the “right” decision on what you would do if you were ever stuck in the same situation these kids get themselves caught in. Estes shows that these kids obviously can’t decipher between what is morally-correct and what is the best thing for them to do. I know that may sound similar, but trust me, when you’re a kid and you’re stuck in a situation like this one, they become two entirely, separate things. Yet, what also had me thinking about this film more was how Estes doesn’t really sympathize with any person in particular. Actually, everybody gets their own chance to show sympathy for their character and it’s very hard to choose who is the “right” person out of this situation. I know I’m being very vague about this “situation” but it’s really something you want to have no idea about going into.

My main complaint is that the second act is probably the most tense, if not the best part about this flick. Other than that, the other two acts (first and last) all pretty much suffer from being a tad too boring and predictable. The first act is obviously building up to what is essentially going to be our “party between the kids and the bully” so of course, the film takes its good old time, but maybe it was a little too good for it’s own self and that’s what bothered me. Then, the second act comes around and that’s when everything gets better and you really feel like this film has taken off of the ground. However, all of that goes to crap and then we get another slow/tedious-paced act that feels like Estes just wants to lolly-gag around with his film because he didn’t really know where to go after all of this.

It’s also a huge bummer considering everybody, myself included, pretty much guesses what happens to these kids on their little “party”, and that the only thing that’s really unpredictable is what they choose to do afterwards. You sort of know where it’s going to go after this all because there is only one way to go from here. It works as a thinking piece since it shows people doing the right things, and also doing the wrong things, but altogether doing something that only humans would do, especially in your right mind. But as a thriller; not really. Still don’t want to give it away even though I feel like I already have but it’s still pretty freakin’ easy to know just what the hell is going to happen, how, why, and when.

Such good friends.

Such good friends.

What I was really surprised about with this film was how good the performances were by this very young cast, most of which we’re under 20 around the time of filming. Rory Culkin plays the sweet and meek Sam, a kid who wants to get revenge on this bully but just can’t find any anger out of his heart to ever hurt another kid, let alone, a bully. Honestly, no matter how messed up and crazy those Culkin kids can be, they sure know how to act they’re asses off, even if they are only 8. Scott Mechlowicz was pretty damn awesome as the macho, slightly insecure dude named Marty and has that River Phoenix-thing going for him, which makes me surprised that he isn’t in more stuff as of late. The kid owns that bad-boy look here and even though I wouldn’t go so far as to say that he’s a hunk, he’s got good looks that could definitely win over the ladies and make him a household name in some cheesy, Nicholas Sparks adaptation. Not saying that’s the right path to go down, but it wouldn’t hurt. Okay, yeah nevermind. Maybe it would. Don’t do that.

Actually, the best out of this cast would probably have to be Josh Peck as the bully, George. Right from the start of this flick, you feel sorry for this kid because you know that he’s not a bad kid, he just has some serious mental issues that he can’t help no matter how bad he tries to fit in with this group of kids. He actually tries so hard to the point of when he does feel rejected, he starts to lose his temper and finds that the only way of covering himself is by spouting out insults at the other people. Obviously no normal kid with a head on his shoulder would act like this, but George isn’t a normal kid and that’s what sad. This film shows that bullies, no matter how mean or cruel they can be, are still humans too and should be treated as such. Peck is great in this role and I definitely wasn’t thinking about Drake Bell when I watched this, which was something that totally shocked me since I loved that show. As a kid, of course….

Consensus: Mean Creek suffers from being deliberately slow and predictable in its first and last act, but regains its momentum through heartfelt performances from this young cast, superbly-written moral themes about the right thing to do, and is also a solid reminder by just how cruel and ruthless young kids can be to one another, no matter who the victim is.

7.5 / 10 = Rental!!

Wife beater = bad ass.

Wife beater = bad ass.

Igby Goes Down (2002)

Damn it sucks to be a Culkin.

Igby Slocumb (Kieran Culkin), a rebellious and sarcastic 17-year-old boy, is at war with the stifling world of old money privilege into which he was born. With a schizophrenic father (Bill Pullman), a self-absorbed, distant mother (Susan Sarandon), and a shark-like young Republican big brother (Ryan Phillippe), Igby figures there must be a better life out there – and sets about finding it.

It’s pretty obvious that a lot of people compare this to the Catcher in the Rye because just from reading the plot on the back of the book, they seem to have plenty in common. However, I have not read that book just yet so don’t worry it’s not going to be another one of those “book vs. movie” reviews.

Writer/director Burr Steers does a pretty good job here with all of the expectations that would come from “adapting” a classic like Catcher. Steers puts a modern spin on this story and gives it this dark edge to it that can sometimes be funny but can also be very sad. I can’t say that this flick is a dark comedy because there are moments that are legitimately meant to be funny but so many other jokes all have to do with either drugs, death, or mental illness that it’s kind of hard not to categorize it as that in the first place. Regardless of what you may call this film though, it’s funny and may surprise you with a lot of the jokes it pulls out of its behind.

Where I think Steers’ writing really worked was in the way he showed Igby’s life, as well as Igby himself. Igby is a great character because he is a total smart-ass that always has something sarcastic to say, seems like one of those kids that would do perfectly on his own, and just reminds me of the type of high school rebel that I always tried to be but somehow failed. The kid is an ass and hates his mother so much that when she dies (not a spoiler because they tell you in the first 2 minutes) he calls up everybody she knows and just tells it like it is, “Yeah…she’s dead”, then moves onto more and more people to tell. There’s also a couple of other scenes that made me laugh at everything he was doing and it was just great to see a teenage character in a flick that wasn’t there to show a dilemma he has with picking up chicks or getting good grades, no, this kid’s trying to make a living and figure out what he wants in life.

It’s not just all of the funny ish that happens here that makes Igby so damn cool, it’s also the fact that he feels like an actual kid with a lot of problems that he tries his hardest to hide from. There’s a lot going on in Igby’s life that has effed him up from a father that basically went nutso right in front of his eyes, a mother that he absolutely despises, a godfather that won’t just let him be his own man, a brother that has always been better than him in anything, and an inability to deal with all of the crazy roommates he gets. Maybe it doesn’t sound all that bad to begin with but for an 18-year old kid (hollah!), it can be a lot to take in at a quick pace and we feel for Igby even though he’s surrounded by assholes constantly.

Some parts of this flick worked for me on a dramatic basis, but others, did not. There’s some little love thing going on between Igby’s lady friend and Igby’s brother that felt forced and just another way to bring conflict to the story of how much more his brother reigns supreme over him now. I also didn’t like how the film just sort of left everything up in the air without any resolution to any of these characters whatsoever. I’m not saying that I loved all of these characters, because a lot of them were just plain and simple assholes, but I still spent enough time with them to actually get to know and care about them, so why not show me what actually happens to them after it all? Hell, we don’t really know what happens to Igby at the end either but what bummed me out was just how sudden and abrupt the ending was without showing me the characters that I spent so much time with.

The reason Igby is so damn good as a character though is because of Kieran Culkin is spot-on with this act and I hope that more and more people take notes and see that this kid has a real true comedic talent. Don’t believe me? Check out ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’, and you’ll see what I’m saying. As for everybody else they’re all good too. Claire Daines is a fun character named Sookie to watch and learn more about, which was a surprise because Daines is usually very bland in her flicks; Jeff Glodblum is the absolute man as Igby’s godfather, D.H.; Amanda Peet is just fine as Rachel, even though I think she kind of over does the whole “I’m on heroin” act she had going for a good part of the movie; Ryan Phillipe plays, once again, the soulless ghoul here as Igby’s bro-brah and does a nice job even though he’s playing another rich kid who thinks he’s better than anybody else; Bill Pullman is great in flash-backs as Igby’s daddy and he has some of the more emotionally wrenching scenes; and Susan Sarandon is back doing what she does best: being a bitch. And that’s all we really want from her.

Consensus: Igby Goes Down has an involving lead character, as well as some very funny moments that take us inside the mind of a teenager, no matter how quick life may come at you for it.

7/10=Rental!!

You Can Count On Me (2000)

You can always depend on your doped up brother to bring some shock to your life.

The return of wild brother, Terry (Mark Ruffalo), is an unwelcome surprise to Sammy (Laura Linney), a young mother who is starting to cheat on her fiancé, Bob (Jon Tenney), with her boss, Brian (Matthew Broderick).

Writer/director Kenneth Lonergan is a dude I hear so much about considering he has only done two films in the last decade. Still though, I’m surprised that he isn’t a bigger name, especially after doing something like this.

What I like about his script is how it is a very honest script that shows what real relations between family is like. Every human emotion here doesn’t feel contrived or like they just rehearsed it, everybody reacts to each other the way that they normally would in real-life and it’s that kind of human honesty is what made me react to this flick the most. These are sad people, with sad lives, but they are all trying to get through it with one another and even if it may not work out to the best of their imaginations, they still somehow find ways to make good with what they have. This is a script that has some very smart moments with its drama and its emotions but its also very funny at certain points that you wouldn’t expect right away.

I also liked how Lonergan didn’t try to make us feel more for these characters than we already did by throwing us a bunch of sappy and cheesy moments that all emotional films like this try to snake us into. Since the film also shows the relationship between a long lost bro-bro and sis-sis, you would expect that there would be plenty of key scenes about their past and what happened so that the viewer would know more, however, the film doesn’t show this at all with the exception of the beginning, and it works. It’s quite impressive when films like this can do that because it lets us think about what happened through how they are now and it doesn’t try to spell anything out for us.

Lonergan is very good and skilled as a writer, no doubt about that but as a director, it seems like he may need a little working with. There is a lot of shots in this flick that shows these characters either just sitting, sleeping, watching TV, driving, or just randomly doing something that doesn’t pertain to the story and is just there because Lonergan wants to show us how unhappy these characters really can be. Some of these scenes seem very random and un-needed and one in particular with Broderick’s wife, seemed to go on a little too long for my liking. May sound like a weird complaint but there a couple of random scenes like this that didn’t really need to be here in the first place.  As good as the script may be too, everything still plays out the same way you would expect a drama like this to. It’s not as terribly disappointing as I may make it sound but it was still something I noticed right off the bat.

Laura Linney isn’t an actress that I usually like, because I thinks she plays the same character in almost any flick that she does but she’s very good here as Sammy. Sammy is one of those confused but very strong-willed women that just wants to do the right thing no matter what, but always seems to be dragged down by all of these mean people around her. Linney plays this character well because she shows what it’s like to be a woman who’s been through so much and just can’t seem to get a grasp on things but it’s not a one-note performance. Linney takes this character and give her a charming likability that is easy to relate to and understand right off the bat and I’m glad that she was nominated for an Oscar here.

Mark Ruffalo was also amazing in his role as her brother, Terry. Terry is one of those characters who has a lot of obvious problems but always tries to do the right thing no matter what. Problem is, he’s taken down by other people, just like his own sister. Ruffalo plays this role perfectly with just enough anger and heart to give us a full-rounded character that may be a little rough around the edges, but still is a good person no matter what he may mess up with. The scenes with him and Linney are all great and they feel like the an actual brother and sister that haven’t seen each other in so very long. Matthew Broderick is also good as Brian, Sammy’s boss, and he actually has a couple of funny scenes that work here even though his character may be a tad strange. Still, good performances all around here.

Consensus: Though some moments may not work, You Can Count on Me works mainly because of the great script from Lonergan that feels honest, insightful, and emotionally here, as well as the great performances from the whole cast.

7.5/10=Rental!!

Scream 4 (2011)

Something I’ve been wanting for awhile now, and I wasn’t disappointed. Love when that happens!

Perennial survivor Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), now a successful self-help author, returns to her home town of Woodsboro. Sidney’s homecoming, however, coincides with a slew of unsettling new murders.

I have and always will be a huge fan of the Scream franchise. Scream was awesome, Scream 2 was almost even better, and although Scream 3 wasn’t as good as either, it still wasn’t terrible. Thankfully that this is just about in between all of them.

So finally about 15 years since the original, director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson got back together and did what they do best, make funny effective horror films. Williamson keeps a lot of that self-referential talk here about the constant horror movie cliches, and what to do and what not to do, but there were also some great moments of actual comedy. I have always laughed at the Scream movies, but here I was actually “LOLing” all over the place much to my surprise. I won’t lie some of this smart talk does seem a little bit dated, because it has been done three more times, including this, and it may get annoying for some viewers. But for me, I had a ball with all this talk, and it really did assure me that Williamson hasn’t lost that touch.

Craven also brings back his horror hand back, and even though the times have changed since 1996, he still shows that he can go along with them. Craven does a great job of keeping the suspense with this story alive the whole time, and guessing just who the killer really is. In the first one, I had no idea but in the later two, I knew right away so it was a real treat to keep on guessing just who Ghostface really was. I must say you will be shocked by this twist, but it’s all thanks to Craven who actually made us guessing. It’s less scary as it is actually insanely suspenseful, but still works none the less.

The one thing about this film that really had me happy was that it seemed so much smarter than any other horror film has been in the past 10 years. The usage of cell phones and the internet works well here because it gives us more chilling and suspenseful moments, and keeps us on the edge of our seats the whole time. I’m not going to say that i could see any horror film actually happening, but this one is actually kind of believable with the things that happen. These characters know what to expect next, so sometimes they make a smart decision and live, others make a dumb decision and die, and then sadly others make smart decisions and still die. As the body count goes up, so does the blood and gore, and I must say that Craven hasn’t lost his knack for that either.

It was also good to see some of the old crew back together, even though it was only three of the original cast members. Neve Campbell still looks stunning, and can hold the role of Sidney Prescott like no other. David Arquette is still awesome as Dewey even though he is getting older, and looking creepier with that stash, but didn’t he have a limp in the third and fourth? Courtney Cox is also still sexy as Gale Weathers, and it’s such a shame to see her and Arquette’s marriage fall apart since they were the real heart of these films. But then again, I guess if you name your kid Cocco, you don’t have much luck anyway.

The rest of the uber young cast is solid too. Emma Roberts is still that spunky, little girl and isn’t fully grown-up yet to take these roles yet, but with what she’s given, she does her best. Hayden Panettiere is actually very smart and witty as Kirby, Rory Culkin as Charlie also has some good lines, and Erik Knudsen is also very funny. But let’s not forget the awesome Adam Brody and Anthony Anderson as the two bumbling coppers here, who literally have the best lines in this film, and I’m still laughing about one line, but I can’t say which one. Have to go and see for yourself.

Consensus: Scream 4 may have it’s fair share of annoying self-referential language, but the scares are well done, the suspense ins numbing sometimes, and the script is funny enough to keep you laughing. Overall, I’m just glad to see the franchise back, and glad to see it keeping me fully entertained.

8/10=Matinee!!

Signs (2002)

Well I’m at least glad that the aliens decided to invade Pennsylvania, a state that I live in. So basically I’d be dead by now.

Everything farmer and former priest Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) believes about the world changes when he finds an intricate pattern of circles carved into his fields, mysterious markings that cause a media frenzy and test Hess’s faith. Ultimately, he uncovers the circles’ origins, which will forever alter his and his family’s lives.

Director M. Night Shyamalan get’s a lot of ish, because people say he can never top The Sixth Sense, and basically say that every attempt to do that, has failed miserably. I honestly have no idea what these people speak of, cause if they think “that” is true, then they must have not seen this.

My favorite thing about this film is that its an ordinary, regular alien invasion movie, except instead of focusing all on the havoc, and mayhem this disaster causes, we focus on a family, still in grief, and what they do to cope with the strange events that are happening. And that was what as really neat about this movie, is that we don’t see much, actually going down, from other perspectives, we only see one perspective, which gives us the real great way of filming, and showing that sometimes what you don’t see, is sometimes scarier than what you do see.

This film does, and will give you the creeps at moments, that you wouldn’t have expected. The way M. Night uses the camera as a type of mood, just keeps on giving you the chills, cause you don’t always know what’s going on, and that is the creepiest thing of all.

However, the one problem I had with this film was that not all my questions were answered by the end. I mean of course they weren’t just formally brought up in my face, but I still never got a lot of things. Why did the aliens invade this place? What did they want? Why the hell didn’t this family go somewhere populated? And, why the hell isn’t the military involved with any of this? So many questions, left with so much unanswered thoughts.

Mel Gibson probably gives one of the best dramatic performances of his, long, Jew-hating career. M Night draws a performance from Mel Gibson that is as subtle and deep as those that came from Bruce Willis in the first two films. If you have never understood the word “nuance”, then watch this: it could be the best performance Mel will ever give. Despite rumors to the contrary, Mel wasn’t cast solely because he has a “G” in his name to match the one in the title. Joaquin Phoenix is also very good here, providing a lot of anger within this character, and more anger, means more problems with the family, and he triggers it all so well. Rory Culkin, and Abigail Breslin, are so cute, and funny, as the two little kids of the family, and make this story a lot more compelling, cause when you throw kids into any dangerous movie, you can’t stop watching. Especially these two kids, I mean their just so precious.

Consensus: It may leave all the questions unanswered, but Signs works so well as suspenseful, and masterfully directed creep fest, that doesn’t show you a lot of what’s going on, which is the scariest thing of all.

8.5/10=Matinee!!!