The Descendants (2011)

Starring George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Beau Bridges, Judy Greer, Nick Krause, Amara Miller, Matthew Lillard, Robert Forster, Patricia Hastie, Mary Birdsong, Rob Huebel, Milt Kogan, Laird Hamilton, Michael Ontkean, Matt Corboy, Celia Kenney

Directed by Alexander Payne

Expectations: High, but guarded. Trailer looked boring.


The Descendants is the type of movie I would never actively go out to see in theaters. Not only were the trailers uninteresting, from what I heard of the story it didn’t sound like it would resonate with me. Within this thought lies my wrongdoing, because not only did The Descendants resonate, the issues it deals with transcend the plot specifics of the film and work on a deep, human level. The Descendants also trades in witty, off-beat comedy and by bringing these two disparate elements together, it creates an excellent window into real life. It’s still a Hollywood-produced film so it’s not truly realistic, but the emotions expressed are real and palpable throughout the film.

The Descendants tells the story of Matt King (George Clooney) and his family’s struggle to deal with his wife Elizabeth’s boating accident. It has left her in a coma, with limited chance of survival, and Matt is having a hard time coming to terms with what that means for his life. Caring for their two daughters has always fallen on Elizabeth, so the thought of having to raise his daughters alone frightens him.

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In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2008)

Starring Jason Statham, Leelee Sobieski, Ray Liotta, John Rhys-Davies, Ron Perlman, Claire Forlani, Kristanna Loken, Matthew Lillard, Burt Reynolds, Brian White, Mike Dopud, Will Sanderson

Directed by Uwe Boll

Expectations: Super low. My first Uwe movie.

On the general scale:
onehalfstar

On the B-Movie scale:
threestar


I finally sat down and watched my first Uwe Boll film. I expected the worst. I expected utter shit that even I would have a hard time sitting through. I would love to have a picture of myself watching the opening of this film though, as my expression was anything but pure horror. Instead I had a bid ole grin as I was genuinely enjoying myself. So why am I enjoying this film that so many have shit upon before me?

1980s horror films, that’s why. I’ve always had a soft spot for B-movies, but in the last few years (and especially since opening this website) I’ve saturated my viewing with them. There was a time when I was a teenage film snob, but those days have faded into a distinct appreciation of films that most will never give the time of day due to their low-budget or trashy nature. I’ve found that I often have a much better time overall if I’m watching something I truly enjoy, compared with the newest critical darling. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some quality filmmaking. Kubrick and Kurosawa are my most treasured filmmakers, but I also equally love Lloyd Kaufmann and the varied works of Charles Band. So after this saturation of the best and worst that 80s B-horror has to offer, my nerves are steeled and my vision is solid and I can pretty much sit through any movie put in front of me.

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Ghoulies III: Ghoulies Go To College (1991)

Starring Kevin McCarthy, Evan Mackenzie, Eva La Rue, Patrick Labyorteaux, John Johnston, Billy Morrissette, Hope Marie Carlton, Marcia Wallace, Stephen Lee, Jason Scott Lee, Andrew Barach, Matthew Lillard

Directed by John Carl Buechler

Expectations: High. The first two are horror comedy gold.

On the general scale:
 (No Stars)

On the B-movie scale:
onestar


Ghoulies III is a film that offends me on a deep level because it takes something I genuinely love and completely trashes it. It reminds me of the Star Wars prequels in that way, and if there’s one thing you don’t want to do, it’s remind me of the Star Wars prequels. Ugh. As soon as I’m done with this review I’m going to disregard that this film ever existed. On that cheery note, let’s get down to business!

First off, this is a direct-to-video sequel that was not produced by a Charles Band company. As far as I can tell he had nothing to do with this film, although the director, John Carl Buechler, did make a few films with Empire International and did the FX for a ton more. He definitely has the cred to be respectable, so I can’t imagine why he agreed to make this, other than needing quick cash to pay off a loan shark or something. Realistically, there’s nothing terribly wrong here with the FX or the directing, but more with the writing choices and the direction they decided to take the series. After watching this, it isn’t hard to imagine why this is screenwriter Brent Olson’s only credit on IMDB.

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