Monday, July 28, 2014

The Purge: Anarchy movie review

The Purge: Anarchy debuted in movie theaters on July 18, 2014. This sequel following the sleeper hit The Purge proved to be extremely successful with collecting a stellar $29+ million in box office receipts in its first weekend. Before visiting the local movie theater to watch The Purge: Anarchy, we were aware of The Purge theme. We never watched the original The Purge movie, but we knew this concept captured the essence of American problems we face day-in day-out.

In the future, America is enjoying a low unemployment rate of 1% thanks to an annual The Purge that takes place once a year on March 21. At approximately 7:00pm on March 21 to 7:00am March 22, the Purge commences. The New Founding Fathers of America took office in our present time. They introduced The Purge to allow people to cleanse their souls, where all crime, including murder, would be legal for a 12-hour period.

Enter the 7th Purge.

Unfortunately, this crime fest served as a disadvantage to less privileged and less fortunate people - the poor. Those who didn't have a place to be, or live in low-income housing were direct targets of this national holiday. American citizens partake in killing homeless people, poor people, and those who were unfortunate to be out on this dangerous night.

Sergeant (Frank Grillo) prepares his arsenal of weapons. We assume he is out on a mission to take lives during The Purge. Sergeant stares at a picture of his son in a frame on his nightstand. Pictures of a man are plastered on the wall to convey that he is taking revenge against this individual. His ex-wife knocks on the door, telling him he doesn't need to go out there. Sergeant refuses to listen, telling his ex-wife to go home with her new family and let him be.

In a restaurant, Eva Sanchez (Carmen Ejojo) serves her last table. Tanya (Justina Machado) and Eva ask whether she will release them soon. The diner owner tells them it is time to go and to be safe. Carlos (Nicholas Gonzalez) asks Eva if she needs a ride home. Eva declines on the ride, thanking and telling him to be safe. Tanya counsels Eva for turning down Carlos, as she would handle him in every way possible. It is obvious that Tanya is a promiscuous woman, a cougar willing to work overtime with any willing man. She is a freak of the night. All Carlos needs to ask Tanya is what time she opens for business.

Shane (Zach Gilford) and Liz (Kiele Sanchez) are driving along the road. Shane scrolls through images with Liz and him being close together. Liz asks Shane what he's look at, but he declines to share his hidden sentiment. Liz wants Shane to tell his sister something, stating she has to know and we need to tell her. The couple stop at a local grocery store. On the way out, a masked man bumps into Shane with force. This masked man hints they are watching them, waving with a creepy finger greeting.

We figure out that Liz and Shane plan to break up and want to share this news with the sister. The Purge is quickly approaching, where cars are leaving the city to avoid all Hell breaking loose.  It is the homeless who are on the verge of becoming the hunted. Shane experiences problems with the power steering, which causes the car to lose power. It appears that someone cut the unit, the same people who are waiting on the bridge for the Purge to commence.

The Purge: Anarchy does a great job establishing the main characters. We're given facts about this annual Purge. We're introduced to important characters early on, who serve an important purpose in the movie ending. The Purge changes the main characters; we see major character arcs that reveal such influences shift the plot into multiple directions. This movie conveys when there is too much silence, nothing legal is going on in the streets. Taking lives is the main theme of this Purge movie franchise.

In saving lives, one man finds that his involvement in this Purge commencement becomes more than taking action against an individual who wronged him. This man is highly skilled and trained to handle this wartime environment. He repeatedly leads his group to safety. The high point of tension takes us on a scary ride where the odds are stacked up against the main characters and this hope for survival. We see these characters enter one impossible situation after another.

For the most part, taking revenge is premise behind the Purge. A morbid display is a scene showing what people would do to an investor after they lost their retirement savings. The murders on this holiday night are gruesome; morals are thrown out the door. It is the NFFA that attributes the Purge to leading a positive society. Those people who have money are safe, while the poor and weak are cleansed off the face of society.

Welcome to The Purge: Anarchy. Even though this horror thriller is a testament to how some people view crime and punishment in a free-for-all cleansing game, this movie provided off-the-seat entertainment. The audience roots for these characters to survive the night. They trust the Sergeant to protect strangers, even if this means losing his life. These stragglers influence his mission, but there is a reason for this setback. Watch The Purge: Anarchy and hope this fictional environment is never implemented into our society. Will these characters survive the Purge?

9 out of 10 stars

Weekend Box Office Results: July 25-July 27, 2014

Weekend Box Office Results: July 26-July 28, 2014

Top 10 Box Office Movies
  1. Lucy - $49,899,340
  2. Hercules - $29,800,263
  3. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - $16,767,260
  4. The Purge: Anarchy - $10,482,760
  5. Planes: Fire and Rescue - $9,529,656
  6. Sex Tape - $6,052,050
  7. Transformers: Age of Extinction $4,702,553 
  8. And So It Goes - $4,642,329
  9. Tammy - $3,454,221
  10. 22 Jump Street $2,600,471

Source: BoxOffice.com

Monday, June 16, 2014

22 Jump Street movie review

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's 22 Jump Street lived up to its hype. This Rate-R action comedy movie delivered chronic laughs like its predecessor, 21 Jump Street. It's official that 22 Jump Street now certifies Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as comedy superstars, powering this buddy cop tandem through the Hollywood ceiling. 22 Jump Street made it crystal clear that A-listers Tatum and Hill will most likely follow-up their current 22 Jump Street movie with another hilarious 23 Jump Street rendition. Stay tuned for more laughs and goofy action.

22 Jump Street opens with a recap of the original 21 Jump movie to speed viewers up on previous events like a television episode. Officer Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) prepare to infiltrate a drug supplier; however, Schmidt comes up with a plan to pose as cholos to protect their cop cover. As seen in the movie trailer, this opening scene is where an octopus poops in Schmidt's mouth.

Jenko and Schmidt enter the new headquarters at 22 Jump Street, a huge step above the 21 Jump Street Korean church. This time we are introduced to a state-of-the-art facility where Schmidt makes an inside job directed toward Captain Dickson (Ice Cube). This high-tech facility is also a past Asian church.

Captain Dickson briefs Jenko and Schmidt on their new case. The same structure is in motion, as the first movie from this franchise also revealed a student taking a drug and dying shortly after. Schmidt prays to another Jesus about being scared again. We have the Back to the Future structure in which the writers add the exact ingredients with including the standard movie trademark.

Jenko and Schmidt walk onto the college campus and see exciting college life in action. There is an opposing twist this time around with giving Jenko what he missed out in 21 Jump Street. Relationship is established as a big theme in 22 Jump Street. The directors do a great at making moviegoers care about the two characters, and showing that real partnerships are better structured than party friends.

We can share that Schmidt finds another attractive, sexy girl to fall for his goofy self. One plot twist in this relationship is sure to make viewers laugh a storm. If you haven't laughed yet, this scene is front loaded and ready to deliver some shots.

21 Jump Street favored Schmidt, but it is now geared toward giving Jenko his moment. In the first movie, Schmidt believes he, too, could get into UC Berkeley. This confidence resulted in Eric sharing his Cal academic goals. Jenko is the center of attention in 22 Jump Street.

Jenko learns that his newfound college fame is about to burst through all ceilings placed in front of him. His dream to play football in college and party like it's 1999 are made possible. Nevertheless, Jenko shines in the moment like Schmidt did with making social connections in 21 Jump Street. In this drug case, 22 Jump Street takes a reversal of roles to test the strength of this police partnership.

22 Jump Street depicts the life we think we wanted to live. The truth is that adult life is just as exciting, if you find the right dream job and accept that fun is done in moderation. For Jenko and Schmidt, visiting college and testing the waters gave them a sense of satisfaction to respect their careers.

Watch 22 Jump Street with care. These two goofballs are going to make you laugh non-stop.

9.5 out of 10 stars.


Weekend Box Office Results: June 13-15 2014

Weekend Box Office Results: June 13-15, 2014

Top 10 Box Office Movies

  1. 22 Jump Street - $60 million
  2. How to Train your Dragon - $50 million 
  3. Maleficent - $19 million
  4. Edge of Tomorrow - $16.2 million
  5. The Fault in Our Stars - $15.7 million 
  6. X-Men: Days of Future Past - $9.5 million
  7. Godzilla - $3.2 million
  8. A Million Ways to Die in the West - $3.1 million
  9. Neighbors - $2.5 million
  10. Chef - $2.28 million 


Friday, June 13, 2014

Weekend Box Office: June 6-8 2014

Top Ten Box Office Movies: 

  1. The Fault In Our Stars $48 million
  2. Maleficent $34.3 million
  3. Edge of Tomorrow $28.8 million
  4. X-Men: Days of Future Past $15.2 million
  5. A million Ways to Die in the West $7.3 million
  6. Godzilla $6.1 million
  7. Neighbors $5.3 million
  8. Blended $4.1 million 
  9. Chef $2.6 million
  10. Million Dollar Arm $2.01 million 


Monday, September 23, 2013

Insidious Chapter 2 movie review

The much anticipated Insidious Chapter 2 attracted a large movie following in its opening weekend. However, this movie was lacking the scares that made the original Insidious a success. This Insidious movie never created the jump-out-of-your-seat moments we expected. James Wan and Leigh Whannell put forth a better effort in Insidious (2011) than in Insidious Chapter 2.

We enjoyed the fan reaction more than the Insidious Chapter 2 movie itself. Insidious Chapter 2 was cool to watch on Friday the 13th, but this horror movie seemed like an unfinished or rushed project. An example of this is when you write an excellent paper (Insidious), and then later you complete a mediocre assignment (Insidious Chapter 2) just to satisfy the requirements. Insidious Chapter 2 reminded us about all those horror sequels that attempted to reveal too much exposition and over concentrated on ineffective scares.

In 1986, Elise is called to to the Lambert's home to help young Josh with his night terrors. Josh's mother Lorraine shows Elise pictures of an old woman who keeps appearing next to Josh and is terrorizing his dreams. This opening scene gives us some backstory fillers that were left out in the original Insidious.

The execution of this scene made the astral horror movie appear amateurish. It felt like watching a SyFy movie with a higher production cost and better special effects. The scares were too staged and never created any real fear. The audience reaction provided better entertainment, as do most scary movies involving this sub-genre of horror.

Watching a female ghost sitting on a sofa is not scary. Seeing dice roll and communicating that spirits are around is not scary. The original Insidious created that fear factor. The old woman in that movie added that element of fear we did not feel in this sequel. Most horror sequels use exposition to explain too much; it is like watching Kill Bill Vol. 2 all over again.

Insidious Chapter 2 was fun to watch. We stayed true to our mission to cover Insidious 2. As you remember, we wrote plenty of content on AstralWriter.com about astral projection and Insidious. Horror fans enjoyed astral projection in Insidious, which we never hear about in the dialogue during Insidious Chapter 2. We see Dalton astral project. This dynamic technique of leaving the physical body by way of an astral body is never mentioned, it is just shown and implied to remind us.

Leigh Whannell is a talented screenwriter. He knows how to write a screenplay. James Wan is the most popular movie director in Hollywood right now. This moviemaking duo were given $5 million to shoot Insidious Chapter 2. The multiple locations and unbelievable backstory with the old woman ruined the plot. We enjoyed the scary old woman in the original movie. Her spookiness freaked out moviegoers.

In this second edition, learning the real truth the old woman desensitized the scares. We just didn't feel the fear and connected this lack of horror to the backstory. Why do we need to see Renai getting interrogated by a detective who mocks the paranormal? Do the apparitions appearing in the daytime really scare fans? Will a story of a troubled boy spirit that mimics The House at the End of the Street or Sleepaway Camp plot cause chills?

Rocking horses are not scary. We need more than just implied horror to get us scared. Don't get us wrong; we enjoyed Insidious Chapter 2. However, this latest sequel is nothing like Insidious (2011). Sure, there are a few scenes in Insidious that were silly moments (red-faced demon behind Lorraine). For the most part, the astral projection discussion and watching Josh astral project into The Further were awesome plot devices.

Insidious Chapter 2 focused on the old woman and her story instead of showing us the spooky nature of The Further. In the movie ending, there was no immediacy in this sequel. If you are an Insidious fan, then you know the difference between the two movie endings.

Overall, Insidious Chapter 2 was written and directed good. It was not as scary as we expected. We've watched scarier moments in paranormal television shows than in Insidious 2. Insidious (2011) was an awesome movie that got made for only $1.5 million. James and Leigh had to take a huge pay cut to accept this original movie. Their gamble sure paid off in a huge way last weekend.

Insidious Chapter 2 entered movie theaters at the right moment and entertained horror fans looking for scary fun on Friday the 13th. The Insidious Chapter 2 ending hints to us that a number #3 is in the future. It is almost certain that Insidious 3 will be arriving in movie theaters in the next few years.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Insidious Chapter 2 leads Thursday box office

Insidious Chapter 2 has led the daily box office for the 7th straight day. This horror sequel is performing well through its first full week in release, though the true test is how the second weekend plays out. Insidious Chapter 2 will likely slow down, a sign that moviegoers are more interested in good storytelling rather than recycled scares. The Apparition is living proof that this formula is ineffective.

In comparison, The Conjuring performed extremely well in its second weekend and surpassed initial projections established prior to this paranormal movie breaking July records for Rated-R horror movies. Director James Wan certified himself a superstar filmmaker with making two horror movies that opened above $40 million in the same year.

Insidious Chapter 2 earned $1.2 million on Thursday night, one week after the movie delivered above $20 million on Friday the 13th.