Reviews In Short: Here Comes the Boom, Love Bite, Monster Brawl and The American Scream 0 35

Reviews In Short Header - Here Comes the Boom, Love Bite, Monster Brawl and The American Scream

Reviews In Short is a regular feature here on Thoughts On Film that basically consists of short, paragraph-long reviews of movies I have watched recently, old and new alike, which I didn’t get a chance to review in full. As always feel free to comment with your own thoughts and opinions on each of the films.

Here Comes the Boom 

Reviews In Short - Here Comes the Boom

Clearly first conceived as an Adam Sandler vehicle, Here Comes the Boom instead stars his good buddy Kevin James as a biology teacher who in order to save the job of a fellow teacher decides to become a mixed martial arts fighter. A lukewarm mix of Rocky, Warrior and School of Rock, the film is just not funny enough to sustain its runtime, despite a supporting cast that includes Henry Winkler and Salma Hayek. It gets more and more ridiculous as it goes along (a romantic sub-plot is particularly heavy-handed and unbelievable) and the mawkish sentimentality doesn’t exactly help matters either. It’s not terrible by any means but neither dumb enough to be funny for its sheer stupidity nor clever enough to provide any substantial laughs. James being sick on another fighter is about as good as it gets. 2/5

Love Bite

Reviews In Short - Love Bite

Love Bite is the type of low-budget teen comedy that gives the British film industry a bad name. It centres on a group of teenagers who find their small seaside town under threat from the presence of a werewolf which prays on virgins. We specifically follow Jamie (Ed Speleers) who takes a shine to Juliana (Jessica Szohr) , an American girl visiting the UK as part of her job as a travel writer – the only trouble is she is suspected of being the werewolf on the loose in the town. Shamefully borrowing its archetypal Brit male teen characters and vulgar laddish humour from The Inbetweeners but with none of the wit or likability of that show, this is juvenile, painfully unfunny stuff with not even close to the level of scares and/or gore to satisfy the horror junkies who may happen across it in the hope of getting the base thrills the genre has the potential to offer. Comedy/horror of this ilk is not hard to find and in the case of Love Bite it’d be wise to look elsewhere. 1/5

Monster Brawl

Reviews In Short - Monster Brawl

Monster Brawl might just be the biggest waste of a great idea I’ve seen in quite some time. The film brings together some of the most famous monsters in fantasy horror history, from Frankenstein to The Mummy to Cyclops (and a few others inspired by but not exactly those you’ve heard of), and gets them to do battle in a wrestling ring. Sounds cool, right? Indeed it does. But the film monumentally squanders that premise with atrocious dialogue, zero attempt to weave together any sort of story to cling onto, bad special effects and the worst kind of hammy acting from real-life wrestling stars like Jimmy Hart and Kevin Nash. And to make matters worse the actual fights themselves are repetitive, boring and very tame when you consider the potential. Only the half-way decent make-up (at times) impresses in this otherwise utter waste of a movie. 1/5

The American Scream

Reviews In Short - The American Scream

I love a good documentary, whether it be a deeply serious one about important issues than can educate or a light and quirky one which can entertain. The American Scream is an example of the latter. Made by director Michael Stephenson (of Best Worst Movie fame), it looks at the peculiar hobby/obsession of “House Haunting,” which is basically people who take the idea of decorating the house for Halloween to the extreme. The doc specifically follows three separate House Haunters who all live within the same town as they prepare throughout the month of October leading up to the big night. A charming and idiosyncratic film anchored by three likeably passionate guys (and their surprisingly understanding families) who go the extra mile to do up their homes and even make them into haunted house walk-throughs for the local trick-or-treaters, all for the love of a good scare. 3.5/5

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That’s it for Reviews In Short – until next time!

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I’m a freelance film reviewer and blogger with over 10 years of experience writing for various different reputable online and print publications. In addition to my running, editing and writing for Thoughts On Film, I am also the film critic for The National, the newspaper that supports an independent Scotland, covering the weekly film releases, film festivals and film-related features.

I have a passion for all types of cinema, and have a particular love for foreign language film, especially South Korean and Japanese cinema. Favourite films include The Big Lebowski, Pulp Fiction and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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List: Top 10 Worst Films of 2012 4 143

Thoughts On Film - Top 10 Worst Films of 2012

I’ve already posted what were my Top 20 Films of 2012 but of course things weren’t all good this year. There were many which left more than a bad taste in the mouth, the films that make you weep for the state of cinema if only for that two hours you’re watching them, the films that are not so much at the bottom of the barrel as lying flat under it.

Below are are the films I consider the worst to be released over the last 12 months. Now keep in mind I didn’t see absolutely everything released in the year and I tend to avoid the movies which I know for a fact are going to be absolutely terrible; for example the likes of Keith Lemon: The Film, Jack & Jill, Top Cat – The Movie and The Knot won’t be making an appearance. These are just the worst of those I happened to see at the cinema. Feel free to disagree, in fact I welcome that, but remember this is my list.

So without further ado here are my top 10 worst films of 2012!

10. Alex Cross

Alex Cross movie review

This ludicrous and unintentionally laughable mystery thriller features Tyler Perry (yes, that Tyler Perry) as the popular literary character of the title. His wooden and uncharismatic performance is the least of the film’s problems, however, as it stumbles from one ludicrous set-piece to another, wedging in forced emotion any and every way it can. Even the occasionally fun Matthew Fox as a bald-headed psycho obsessed with pain can’t save this one. FULL REVIEW HERE

9. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Ghost Rider 2 Spirit of Vengeance movie review

A sequel that in the first five minutes basically tells you to forget the last one, this misjudged follow/mulligan from the directors of the Crank franchise somehow makes the first one look like a great film. Alongside the obligatory bad acting and head-smacking dialogue, its shaky cam action and nonsensical story (even taken on its own terms as a throwaway blockbuster) make this one of the worst of the year. FULL REVIEW HERE

8. Silent Hill: Revelation

Silent Hill: Revelation Movie Review

I’m actually not as down on the first Silent Hill as a lot of people seem to be; it has some interesting visuals and some decent scares. However, the same can’t be said for its pointless sequel. Basically redoing the same sort of visuals found in the first film except with less flair and imagination, this is stupid and ridiculous horror at its limpest. FULL REVIEW HERE

7. Resident Evil: Retribution

 Resident Evil: Retribution

The (believe it or not) fifth installment in the bizarrely successful Resident Evil franchise is a lazy, unimaginative rehash of what the series has been doing for the last three movies, complete with gimmicky 3D, boring and repetitive action and an ending that so blatantly sets up a sixth film that it practically means that you could have skipped this one altogether.

6. Love Bite

Reviews In Short - Love Bite

Another one of those low-budget British horror comedies that fails to provide either the scares or the laughs to make it even a half-way worthwhile experience. Practically stealing its character types and laddish humour from The Inbetweeners but lacking all the wit and likeability, this is most definitely one to skip. FULL REVIEW HERE

5. Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger!

 Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger!

I never saw the first Nativity movie but apparently it was cute fun in its own right. However, the sequel was anything but. Although generally good-natured (which is the only reason why it’s not higher on the list), this is a shockingly bad film that is, essentially, about a classroom assistant who kidnaps a bunch of young school kids and takes them on a trip through the Welsh countryside, all in the name of making it in time for a Christmas singing competition. I’m sorry, it doesn’t get away with it all just because “it’s supposed to be for kids.” The little ‘uns deserve better than this.

4. The Watch

The Watch movie review

What could have been a riotous laugh with a bunch of funny comedic actors at the top of their game was instead a mess of vulgar humour and lame sci-fi. We spend the runtime with Ben Stiller sleepwalking his way to a paycheck, Vince Vaughn doing his usual loud-mouth routine, Jonah Hill looking like he belongs in a different movie and the usually brilliant Richard Ayoade completely wasted as a character whose only real purpose is to be the bumbling Brit who doesn’t understand Americanisms. The half-hearted sci-fi aspect only adds insult to injury. FULL REVIEW HERE

3. The Fourth Dimension

EIFF 2012 - The Fourth Dimension Movie Review

A little film that I caught at the Edinburgh Film Festival, The Fourth Dimension is a bizarre, pretentious, self-indulgent piece of nonsense made up of three different segments (one of which features Val Kilmer as some sort of weird motivational speaker at a bowling alley), each as pointless as the others. FULL REVIEW HERE

2. The Devil Inside

The Devil Inside movie review

This disgrace to the horror genre utilized the now extremely overused found-footage format in the worst possible way, providing zero scares and consistently insulting the audience’s intelligence. It also ends not with a proper ending but rather instructions to visit a website. Atrocious. FULL REVIEW HERE

1. Project X

Project X movie review

More of a 90-minute long party (that I would have no interest in ever attending) than an actual film, Project X has stuck with me as a lowlight of the past 12 months. A film so hateful, so mysoginistic, so ridiculous, so pointless and so terminally boring, with some of the most irritating characters in ages, that I have no choice but to name it my worst film of 2012. FULL REVIEW HERE


(Dis)honourable mentions: The Lorax, This Means War, Paranormal Activity 4, Taken 2Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Piranha 3DD, Mirror Mirror, One for the Money, The Darkest Hour, Bel Ami

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That does it for my top 10 worst films of 2012. Feel free to comment below with your thoughts on my list (play nice!) and also letting us know what were the worst films you saw this past year.

Reviews In Short: Rust and Bone, On the Road, Your Sister’s Sister & The Shining 0 40

Reviews In Short Header - Rust and Bone, On the Road, Your Sister's Sister and The Shining

Reviews In Short is a regular feature here on Thoughts On Film which basically consists of short, paragraph-long reviews of movies I have watched recently, old and new alike, which I didn’t get a chance to review in full. As always feel free to comment with your own thoughts and opinions on each of the films.

Rust and Bone

Reviews In Short - Rust and Bone

Director Jacques Audiard had already more than made his mark in previous years with the likes of The Beat That My Heart Skipped and particularly his uncompromising prison drama A Prophet but now he’s back with a similarly uncompromising but altogether more uplifting film with Rust and Bone. Nominated for the Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and winner of Best Film at the London Film Festival, Audiard’s latest is an undoubtedly powerful, haunting experience with several sequences that had me awe-struck with my jaw on the floor. Having said that, as the film goes on and particularly towards the end it does unfortunately feel the need to pile events one on top of the other, laboring certain points it’s trying to make all the while distracting from others. But two masterful lead performances from Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts, along with Audiard’s imaginative direction, more than help to make up for that. 4/5

On the Road

Reviews In Short - On the Road

I can certainly understand why a lot of people would be turned off by Walter Salles latest film, his sprawling adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s seminal novel On the Road. Its characters are arguably all unlikeable, selfish and pretentious, its tone is dry as a bone and those who have read the novel (I haven’t) say it has none of the soul of Kerouac’s work. However, I rather liked its free-wheeling, carefree approach and perhaps in spite of the flawed characters – or thanks to some solid performances from the likes of Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart – I found myself compelled by their journey, literal and personal. It’s too long and there are more than a few sequences that just feel out of place or completely pointless but once I clued into its style I rather enjoyed the film. 3/5

Your Sister’s Sister

Reviews In Short - Your Sister's Sister

A key filmmaker in the “Mumblecore” movement, Mark Duplass stars in Lynn Shelton’s latest film about a man who, on the instruction of his best friend Iris (Emily Blunt), goes out to a secluded cabin to be alone only to be confronted with Iris’ sister Hannah (Rosemarie Dewitt). Your Sister’s Sister is a seemingly simple film but the end result is anything but, thanks to a whip-smart script that mixes funny and dramatic in a brilliant way. The film proves that sometimes all you need is a few locations, some amazing performances and a good script to make a compelling film. 4/5

The Shining (Re-release)

Reviews In Short - The Shining

Now more than 30 years old, Stanley Kubrick’s horror masterpiece The Shining gets a theatrical re-release in the UK this time in extended form. Some of the added scenes are unnecessary and stifle the pace a little while others are fittingly horrific. Nonetheless the film remains terrifying, with a feeling of pure evil running through its bones and down its hallways making for a deeply unsettling experience. Jack Nicholson’s now legendary performance as a caretaker of an old hotel who slowly goes mad might just be the most compelling he’s ever been, his over-the-top portrayal in-tune with the heightened reality of Kubrick’s nightmarish world. Stephen King famously hated what Kubrick did with his novel and, indeed, Kubrick’s vision differs wildly from his. But crucially the film manages to capture the tone of the book even if it doesn’t follow events to the letter. For anyone who hasn’t seen The Shining before (or even if you have) this is a must-see on the big-screen if you can find it playing anywhere near you. As horror cinema goes it doesn’t get any better than this as far as I’m concerned. 5/5

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That’s it for Reviews In Short – until next time!