The Man in 3B (2015, USA) | Rating: 2/5
"Based on the best selling novel by Carl Weber" as the DVD tells me, this movie I happened to look up on IMDb to see what it was all about. It had an interesting premise and at first I didn't realize it was based on a Carl Weber book. Once I received the DVD, I had to lower my expectations a little more. As much as I would like to think positively about black movies or urban fiction adaptations, they're consistently subpar and littered with cliches (and stereotypes). They barely bring anything new to the table and I'm surprised I haven't seen many complaints about this matter. Of course, that's a rant for another day. Anyway, the execution of this story was poor. I didn't feel like there was any character development whatsoever. All the subplots jumped from point A to point X to point M. It did make sense to some extent, but the lack of flow and development made it difficult to get invested in all these various relationships and situations. Then there's that ending that seemed to come out of nowhere! I have no idea if the book is just as nonsensical as the movie, but I have no motivation to give it any time.
Boo! A Madea Halloween (2016, USA) | Rating: 2.5/5
As per usual, my reviewing style for Tyler Perry is very loose. When I come into these movies, I expect the usual real life lesson that mostly incorporates religion in someway, plenty of comedy, and the typical cliches and stereotypes across the board. Nonetheless, my family and I always attend these productions and expect good entertainment, whether we enjoy the actual story or not. Usually, I'm the one that points out the surface problems and avoid delving into the controversy of setting African Americans back in the media to some extent. Of course, that's for another post altogether. This was the first time my family saw the flaws in Perry's movies. When the movie was over and the packed theater exited the room and some after credits bloopers end, they turned to me and said that they really didn't care for this one as much. We all admitted that there were plenty of laughs throughout the movie, but the message was a bit weak. The movie dwindled a little too long on certain scenes which made them increasingly unfunny, which is quite unfortunate with our comedic elderly group and some distracting reverse shots that my mom pointed out. It does a decent job of parodying and incorporating current horror trends such as zombies and creepy clowns, but when you take away the laughs there's not much else to fall back on. The overall message to parents and children are kinda muddled with this over the top prank or "lesson". Nonetheless, it continues to be another fun movie with pretty much the same quality as his most recent films...which can be good or bad.
All Hallows' Eve (2013, USA) | Rating: 3.5/5
Much like the VHS tape that appeared in the kids' trick-or-treat bag, this appeared to me in the drop off slot. Looking at the cover, I assumed it would be a not so good film...and you guys already know I've been purposely watching bad horror a lot this year. Halloween was within reach when I popped this into my PS2 and it's unfortunate that I didn't get this review up in time for my silly little spoopy challenge. Anyway, when I was watching this movie I learned that it was an anthology type of film like ABCs of Death and I'm guessing V/H/s. When it comes to anthologies, not all the stories will be a hit with everyone. The main story was pretty basic and mostly had its content at the beginning when the babysitter sees the tape and the kids watched some of it and at the end when the babysitter finishes the tape and checks on the children. Majority of the stories revolved around this silent, sadistic clown, which proved to be entertaining for the most part. There might've been one or two stories I didn't care for with him. There is one that I don't think featured him, but had aliens instead, which was probably my least favorite. I admit that a couple of these stories were effectively creepy and borderline disturbing in some areas. I'm not sure if it has or will have a small cult following like Trick 'r Treat, but I think it deserves some sort of positive recognition for a Halloween watch.
All Hallows' Eve 2 (2015, USA) | Rating: 2.5/5
At the same time as the first movie, someone turned in the sequel as well. I believe I watched this back to back of each other. In this second installment, we have a different mascot, which apparently disappointed some IMDb commenters. It's some creepy pumpkin head guy. For once, I kinda agree with the comments. Somewhat similar to this first movie, a woman mysteriously receives a VHS tape on her front porch and she decides to watch it on Halloween. Unlike the first movie, the story focuses more on the anthology than giving a narrative to the viewer of the tape. While I can understand the shift in this vision, I kinda liked connecting the recipient of the tape and wondering what's going on in their mind as they watched these horrific stories, but all we get in the sequel is some lady sipping wine casually with a slightly disgusted reaction until the very end. Despite switching "mascots", the pumpkin creep on the cover doesn't really show up as much as the clown in these mini stories. Instead we get varying tales of deceased ex-girlfriends in social media, a guy that uses real humans for his Halloween decorations, and a friend's significant other murdering their partner. Yes, there are some pumpkin head related stories like the babysitter and kid eating pumpkin seeds and the father and son bringing an offering to the pumpkin demon, but they're just not as entertaining or satisfying as our killer clown. The sequel wasn't bad, it just lacked cohesion. My favorite stories featured were the very short pumpkin seed consumption and the cute boy with the glasses hunting monsters with his mom. They had a simple, well executed narrative. If you enjoyed the first movie, you might enjoy the second, but you're not missing out on anything if you skip out on it either.
The Neon Demon (2016, USA) | Rating: 3/5
When I saw the preview to this movie, I immediately knew I had to see this visual treat. I am a sucker for mindblowing visuals and strange concepts. I later found out that it's by the same director as the visually appealing Only God Forgives and the odd Drive, which both star Ryan Gosling. Both of these movies had some stunning cinematography, but the story just didn't stand out as much. This movie pretty much keeps the Nicholas Winding Refn's style consistent. The visuals remain breathtaking and they really kept me entranced. On the other hand, the story kinda goes over your head in certain moments. Like I understood the basis of what he was going for, but in the end, the conclusion is...for lack of a better word, out there. I can't see a lot of casual moviegoers enjoying this visual gift and slightly abstract storytelling, but if you're used to the structure of the director's previous films I mentioned, then you should be fine. I enjoyed the characters and how they influenced our main character's evolution. There are some strange moments that do put me off a little from the story. Much like the previous movies, especially Only God Forgives, I really wanted to fall in love with this film, but the storytelling and certain situations kinda turned me off from reaching that goal, which honestly makes me sad. On the other hand, I kinda want to see this movie again as it does have a little something I can't get enough of.
If there's something you want me to review (or want a more in depth review of the movies above or previous ones), check out this post on how you can submit requests.