REVIEW: ‘You Should Have Left’ squanders potential

There are interesting concepts at play in “You Should Have Left,” but sadly, it doesn’t result in a great film.

Directed and written by David Koepp, “You Should Have Left” stars Kevin Bacon as Theo, a man who is planning to go on vacation with his wife Susanna (Amanda Seyfried) and her daughter Ella (Avery Essex). The vacation home they choose is a rather modern looking one in a rural area of Wales.

At first, it seems like the perfect spot to get away, with the house being spacious and the beautiful countryside out the window. However, as time goes on, details about Theo’s past and current relationship issues cause strain. On top of that, strange things start occurring in the seemingly perfect house.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘You Should Have Left’ squanders potential”

REVIEW: ‘7500’ offers thrills in close quarters

All of “7500” takes place within the small confines of a cockpit. Considering this film was made for just $5 million, doing so probably kept costs down. It also brought the tension up.

The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tobias, a co-pilot for a German airliner just leaving the airport. Joining Tobias in the cockpit is the Captain Michael (Carlo Kitzlinger), who’s the older, more experienced of the two. Meanwhile, working as a flight attendant is Tobias’ girlfriend Gökce (Aylin Tezel).

Tobias is a little stressed, as he and Gökce are house-hunting, but otherwise it seems like a routine flight. That is until the airplane is subject to a hijacking attempt. Tobias manages to keep the hijackers out of the cockpit and announce Code 7500 to air traffic controllers to let them know of the situation, but the terrorists begin taking hostages, making the situation tense.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘7500’ offers thrills in close quarters”

REVIEW: ‘The Vast of Night’ is a stirring film about radio worth tuning in for

Late night talk radio about UFOs is always a good time, so much so that the late host Art Bell made a career out of it with his show “Coast to Coast AM.”

That concept can now be enjoyed in movie form, too, thanks to this enjoyable indie thriller.

“The Vast of Night” takes place in a small New Mexico town in the 1950s and centers on two characters. One is Fay (Sierra McCormick), a switchboard phone operator, and the other is Everett (Jake Horowitz), a radio station DJ. Both teens are working the night of a big basketball game, so the town is rather quiet. As she’s connecting phone lines, though, Fay hears a frantic caller, and later a strange sound coming through the system.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘The Vast of Night’ is a stirring film about radio worth tuning in for”

REVIEW: ‘Satanic Panic’ is fun but scares are limited

With the closure of movie theaters because of the coronavirus pandemic, I’m taking a look back at movies from 2019.

When I first heard about this title, I had hoped the film would be about the Satanic Panic phenomenon of the 80s that dominated pop culture.

That’s not the case with this flick, but it’s still an alright watch.

Hayley Griffith plays Samantha in this 2019 horror comedy, a young woman just starting out her delivery job for a local pizzeria. With a lot of deliveries taking place in the rain to homes not interested in tipping, though, her first day isn’t going great.

However, she gets an opportunity for a bigger tip when she delivers to a very wealthy neighborhood. The only problem is the neighborhood group she delivers to just happens to be a Satan-worshiping cult that decide to use her as a sacrifice. To survive, she has to team up with the daughter of the cult leader, Judi (Ruby Modine), who’s also become a target.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Satanic Panic’ is fun but scares are limited”

REVIEW: Few things work in ‘The Hunt’

You better like buzzwords and dog whistles if you’re seeing this movie, because there sure are a lot of them.

“The Hunt” follows a group of characters who wake up one day in a clear field, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. When they eventually come together around a large crate, they find the box is full of firearms. Moments after finding the guns, the group is fired upon and several of them are killed.

The survivors, all seeming to have similar political leanings, learn that they are being hunted and must try to survive. The one with the most success in surviving the situation is Crystal (Betty Gilpin), who seems to have some combat experience.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Few things work in ‘The Hunt’”

REVIEW: Moss, special effects boost ‘Invisible Man’

No Dark Universe, no problem.

After the shared cinematic universe idea for Universal’s famous movie monsters crashed, plans were reworked to have more independent, individual films. The first one up is “The Invisible Man,” written and directed by Leigh Whannell. The movie stars Elisabeth Moss as Cecilia, a woman who just left her abusive boyfriend.

Cecilia is shaken from the relationship and is left with anxiety, fearing that her ex, Adrian, (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) will come after her. However, she soon learns that Adrian has supposedly committed suicide. Just as she begins trying to rebuild her life, though, Cecilia begins to feel stalked and terrorized by an unseen force, which she believes is Adrian.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Moss, special effects boost ‘Invisible Man’”

REVIEW: ‘Gretel & Hansel’ burned by poor story, character execution

It’s so disappointing when a movie is close to winning you over and doesn’t.

The most recent example is “Gretel & Hansel.”

The film is inspired by the classic dark fairy tale, although this one takes liberties. As the story goes, the two young protagonists Gretel (Sophia Lillis) and Hansel (Samuel Leakey) are forced to venture out into the woods on their own and fend for themselves.

As one would expect, they stumble upon a welcoming structure with plenty of food and a kind woman (Alice Krige) willing to share. However, there’s of course something more nefarious going on.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Gretel & Hansel’ burned by poor story, character execution”

REVIEW: ‘The Turning’ never turns into a good movie

Oh January, you have such a way with horror movies.

“The Turning” is one of the latest scary pictures to get released in the first month of the year, with the type of quality one would expect. It stars Mackenzie Davis as Kate, a young teacher who’s hired to be a tutor for a little, wealthy girl who lives with her brother and their caretaker at a large estate. Since the death of their parents, the girl Flora (Brooklynn Prince) and brother Miles (Finn Wolfhard) don’t get out much.

Despite their social skills being poor, especially with Miles, Kate decides to stick with the job and tries to have a positive impact. However, her teaching Flora and attempts to extend an olive branch to the rebellious Miles are made difficult from an apparent paranormal entity in the mansion.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘The Turning’ never turns into a good movie”

Best of the Decade: Horror

This is a series called “Best of the Decade.” It’s a list including 10 movies that I found to be the best in a specific genre from 2010-2019.

If I had to describe the direction horror took in the past decade, I’d say it was revolutionary. There has been a lot of creative horror and thriller films from the last 10 years, and it doesn’t look to stop any time soon. Here were my favorites.

Continue reading “Best of the Decade: Horror”

REVIEW: ‘Parasite’ is a twisted, terrific film

“Parasite” is a heartwarming story about a close-knit family of four, who just happen to start a con on another family.

A South Korean film, “Parasite” follows the story of a family including the father Kim Ki-Taek (Song Kang-ho), wife Kim Chung-sook (Chang Hyae-jin), their son Kim Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik) and daughter Kim Ki-jeong (Park So-dam). The family lives in a small, below ground level apartment and get by with low paying jobs.

Through a reference by one of his friends, though, Kim Ki-woo stumbles upon a tutoring job for a very wealthy family. Relying on quick thinking and street smarts, Kim Ki-woo ends up forcing out other staff who work for the wealthy family, the Parks, and gets jobs for his three other family members. Their con work gets off to a good start and the family becomes more comfortable, but as the movie wears on, a shocking discovery is made.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Parasite’ is a twisted, terrific film”