2015

October 31, 2016

Night of the Slasher

Night of the Slasher – Homage

HOMAGE

A list of things to enjoy in 11 minutes:

-A bowl of soup
-Reading a great article in a magazine
-Taking a good crap
-Watching a YouTube video (hopefully one of ours)
-Having a good wank
-Enjoying the pleasures of another

I mean right there, that’s a pretty good list. But let’s add one more to that list now. Watching the short horror film “Night of the Slasher.”

Now, this is something that I’ve been on the hunt for for a while. It hit the festival circuit pretty hard and gained a loyal following of fans ever since. Now, since the Internet is such a wonderful (but still horrible) invention, anyone who missed it while it did its rounds, can see it in all its HD glory right on Vimeo!

The plot, simply put, puts a young, big-chested, scantily clad young lady in the cross hairs of a Spock-mask wearing slasher as she desecrates the hollowed trinity of slasher movie sins; drink, do drugs, and have sex.

The added gimmick is that the short is filmed all in one take. There are a ton of whip pans throughout the short so I’m skeptical on the technique as those pans would be easy ways to hide an edit or two, but overall the camerawork is neat, the acting is fun, and the overall premise is entertaining and…..fun. It’s a perfect homage for those who grew up on slasher horror of the 1980s. Every cliche is throw into this short and it’s proof positive that Shant Hamassian grew up on this genre.

Do yourself a favor and CLICK HERE, and enjoy “Night of the Slasher.”

August 1, 2016

Remember

Remember: Solid

1hr 34mins | Drama/Thriller | 2015

In a New York nursing home, the elderly Auschwitz concentration camp survivor Max Rosenbaum has befriended the dementia patient Zev Guttman, whom he recognized from their days at the camp. Max has continually reminded Zev that their families were murdered at the camp by the Blockführer Otto Wallisch, who immigrated to North America under the false name Rudy Kurlander. Max convinces Zev to avenge their families by seeking out and killing Wallisch. IMDB

Christoper Plummer brings his best in a performance that hits your emotions hard. This movie is all about Plummer’s performance, the story is good but his performance is what stands out. 

Zev doesn’t know where Otto is, so he must travel to locate the real Otto by finding every Rudy Kurlander he can. Each Rudy (there are 4 Rudy Kurlander) we’re introduced to is more interesting then the last. A real crazy moment is when Dean Norris comes in playing one of the Rudy’s son. Norris is perfect in his role and the interaction between him and Zev is a one of a few great highlights of this movie. Another is during Zev’s travels his dementia keeps taking over and his fight to remember why he’s traveling leads to a interesting highlight. In order to do this he reads a letter from Max that gives him a quick refresh of why he is traveling and what happened to his wife. Moments like writing “read the letter” on his wrist gives you a good idea of how bad it is.
 
The movie is good. I was surprised honestly because after a few minutes from when I started it I felt the movie was going way too slow. When the dementia began I thought it was only there to take up time where the writer didn’t want to write. Camera movement, staging and lighting added a cheap direct to dvd feel that disappeared quickly as the movie progressed. Everything up to the ending was pretty good. Once the ending came though I must admit how surprised I was. The ending was perfect and it adds one great twist I did not seen coming. Remember is a solid entertaining movie that I was extremely delight to have found. 
Also I would like to note the great Jürgen Prochnow appears. He’s pretty awesome.
December 24, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Matt’s Take) Round 2: Four Viewings Later….

I’ll still keep this one spoiler-free for now, since there still seems to be a handful of people in this galaxy far, far away that still haven’t been able to get to the theater and watch “The Force Awakens.” With that being said, I’ll just chronicle my last three viewings of the newest “Star Wars” installment before I actually release a spoiler-filled review later this week.

Viewing #2 December 18th

Not even 24 hours had passed before I was in the theater for my 2nd go at “The Force Awakens.” This time I went with a buddy from work. The highlight of this viewing was his excitement when a certain character made his triumphant return.

Viewing #3 December 19th

Back in the theater, this time I was with fellow Simplistic Reviewer, DJ Valentine. DJ had also seen the film the night before, so he was going into this film for the 2nd time while I was on round 3. As usual DJ brings some good insight to the film while at the same time being the guy in the theater having fun, namely during the lightsaber fight near the end of the film.

Viewing #4 December 21st

I finally get around to seeing this film with my wife, Nicole, along with her sister and her husband. What I learned that day is that Nicole’s sister had never seen any of the “Star Wars” films outside of maybe a few scenes. I guess sister like sister, because Nicole had never seen a “Star Wars” film before we started dating. The highlights for me on this viewing was seeing my wife’s reaction to a certain shocking bit of the film and of course when we were leaving the theater and she said “again, again, again.” I felt proud that I was able to bring her into this universe and seeing her excitement was worth the price of admission.

Viewing #5 December 22nd

I know this is getting old, and you’re probably saying “What the F*ck is your problem?!” but hey, the movie event of the year…..you know. This time around I went with another friend and his wife, with my friend already having seen the film on the 18th as well. Nothing really noteworthy on this viewing, but this might actually be the first time that I’ve seen a film five times in the theater.

That’s about it for this little mini review.

December 23, 2015

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast (Ep. 60) December 2015

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES

On this holiday episode of The Simplistic Reviews Podcast, Matthew’s Judeism is put to the test, Justin continues to try and make sense of the Prequels, DJ laments over Die Hard, and the boys have a hell of a time writing letters to Santa, spinning dreidels and breaking down the finale of Fargo.  All this and more on a Ho-Ho-Ho Holiday Show.


NOTES

Quentin vs Disney
Independence Day 2 Trailer
TMNT 2 Trailer
X-Men: Apocalypse Trailer

MUSIC
Die Hard Score By Michael Kamen
Couple Of Misfits By Burt Ives
Christmas Time Is Here By Vince Guaraldi Trio
Christmas In Hollis By Run D.M.C.
Ode To Joy By Ludwig van Beethoven

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December 18, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Matt’s Take) Round 1, Opening Thoughts

*This will be more of an experience, as opposed to any type of review/critique of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Pardon some of the course language*

As I plan on seeing this film multiple times over the course of the next few days, I’ll be reviewing this film to varying degrees over the next few days, so just stay with me, as well as my fellow reviewers DJ and Justin, as I’m sure they’ll have plenty to say about this film as well.

Myself and two friends caught the 8:00 pm showing on Thursday, December 17th, and needless to say, the butterflies were pretty heavy for me. The theater was at capacity and there was a lot of energy; you could feel it, like the Force, it was flowing through you.

With a packed theater you expect a lot of cheers; there was one set for the Lucasfilms logo, and to be honest it was a little weird to not hear the old 20th Century Fox fanfare, thinking about it now, it was actually kind of sad.

Silence…..”A long time ago…..in a galaxy far, far away….”

Goosebumps……Episode VII……
……Enter the kid next to me who decides to read the entire scroll……pardon my french….but shut the fuck up kid (more on this kid later)…..
Most of this film I held my hand to my face and was transfixed by what I was watching. I imagine this is what people felt like back in 1977.
New faces; old face, “The Force Awakens” truly is something special and brings so many people together. Of course there were cheers when characters showed up, and much to my chagrin, BB-8 got some of the bigger pops in the audience, but I guess people are suckers for cute robots.
Back to that kid, at one point he moved to a sit next to him that was unoccupied; great. But than he had the gall near the end of the film to ask, “is this almost over?” Again, pardon me, but go fuck yourself kid, don’t you have school tomorrow?
So in a nutshell, this is my completely non-review of “Star Wars” The Force Awakens” and I’ll be back tomorrow with something with a little more meat on it. My friends seemed to enjoy the film as well, and we had a small discussion about what the future might bring, but of course nothing too specific.
With that said; May the Force be with you……and hopefully kid-free.
December 17, 2015

Countdown to the Force Awakens (Episode V) – Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

APEX

Why do we love The Empire Strikes Back?  A film that is universally considered the best Star Wars film ever.  A film considered one of the best sci-fi/fantasy films ever.  Is it because we’re nerds?  No.  Well…yeah…but it’s much more than that.

Maybe it’s because the great John Williams, from the Imperial March to the Han and Leia Love Theme, created a score that is not only the oxygen of this universe but a constant manipulator of our heartstrings even today.

Maybe it’s because of the Millennium Falcon encapsulates cool, freedom, adventure, and hope with every bank turn and asteroid avoiding barrel roll.

Maybe it’s because Jim Henson and Frank Oz, two men responsible for bringing to life a majority of our imaginary friends for decades, brought to life yet another creature with more pathos and iconography than many seasoned actors…all while speaking in some strange form of pig Latin.

Maybe it’s because Darth Vader, one of the top 3 best cinematic villains of all time, is more villainous and oddly clever in Empire than he is in any other film in the series…but still manages to make us feel for him at the end?

Maybe it’s because the romance between Han and Leia was unconventional, confrontational, mean spirited…and still one of the best, most heartfelt and tragic couplings in cinema history…especially since it was originally supposed to end with Han dying.

Maybe it’s because it really took the time it did on the self-actualization and development of Luke Skywalker from a meek farm-boy to a confident and capable Jedi upstart…something that would almost never happen today.

Maybe it’s because it had one of the most jaw dropping, franchise-altering, twists of all time during a time where twists weren’t a cliched Hollywood trope.

Maybe it’s because the camaraderie and love felt between Han and Luke and Leia and Chewie and the Droids didn’t seem like some manufactured thing for a movie.  It felt obviously genuine.  So genuine, you didn’t need to hear Han and Luke say it when they spoke to each other for the last time in that icy Hoth hangar bay

You didn’t need to understand the yelping of Chewie when he took those wookiee arms of his, primarily used for tearing off droid arms, and snatched Luke up in a hug.

You didn’t need to hear Han tell Leia “I love you too” before he was frozen in carbonite. We knew just like he did.

Maybe it’s because George Lucas had the foresight and humility to relinquish the reigns of his creation to another director who had a better understanding of how to bring the heart out of the film.

To be honest, it’s all those things and more.  The Empire Strikes Back is the bar.  It is the very APEX of the Star Wars universe and countless childhoods.  It is what every sci-fi adventure film has aspired to be as good as…but not presume to ever be better than.  Because there is nothing that will eclipse The Godfather…nothing that will eclipse Psycho…nothing that will eclipse The Shawshank Redemption…and NOTHING that will eclipse The Empire Strikes Back.  It will forever hold a place in our heart.  AND I DIDN’T EVEN MENTION HOW AWESOME LANDO IS!!!!

Accept Captain Needa’s apology…watch out for mynocks…never tell me the odds…watch it…then tell me I’m wrong.

November 18, 2015

Spectre

Spectre: Pacing
…Mr. Bond…Pacing
2015Thriller/Action2h 30m
Pick up Spectre! The Greatest Hits of Bond only for the low price of $9.99
A cryptic message from the past leads James Bond (Daniel Craig) to Mexico City and Rome, where he meets the beautiful widow (Monica Bellucci) of an infamous criminal. After infiltrating a secret meeting, 007 uncovers the existence of the sinister organization SPECTRE. Needing the help of the daughter of an old nemesis, he embarks on a mission to find her. As Bond ventures toward the heart of SPECTRE, he discovers a chilling connection between himself and the enemy (Christoph Waltz) he seeks.
Spectre is the Bond film of Bond films. Spectre, its meaning should be the process of breaking down 23 films and taking the DNA of those and injecting it into 1 film. Or look at it like this, Spectre is The Greatest Hits of Bond for $9.99
Is that a bad thing? Nope but you must break it down like this
007 Fans | Movie Fans

For us who spend that money every time a new medium is released with a Bond film we buy it. Doesn’t matter if it is the same copy that was released 2 years ago, we will throw money down to buy it. Seriously I have like 4 different DVD Sets of the same films. Sure you will get a feature here and there but sometimes they will release the same copy just in a new case. I own the 50th collection, then it was release in the white box, so you know I had to get that one. And yes its the same thing just a different box. Yes I’m a idiot but Bond makes me… me. So I do and that’s that. 
So as a Bond fan going in to Spectre I didn’t care if it sucked or was the greatest, it was Bond and that is all that matters. Spectre is the Bond film for the fans. Call backs everywhere gave me a smile. And the fact I could see Bond have a fight in a train, Bond in the snow, Bond having a 007 like car chase with gadgets, Bond wearing a white tux gave the kid in me a tear of happiness. This film is 2 hrs and a half, hey I would of like 4 hrs in a half because Bond is a drug that I must have again and again. It’s odd because I think all Bond fans would say we wanted more even thought we were already given a lot… And that is the problem with this film.
Spectre is the big hit of a powerful drug, when it should of been just a taste.

When we cross over to the Movie Fans we’re given a slew of problems and the answer to why we as Bond fans need more!
Why? Because its 10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag. Movie writing 101 you have what is called, “Dramatic Structure”. Dramatic Structure dates back to Aristotle, so yeah this isn’t a new thing.
With Dramatic Structure you have
Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action and Denouement.
Spectre takes these five parts and throws them out the window. Why? Okay lets make it simple then.
Beginning, Middle and End (Climax)
Nope. Spectre threw it out again…shit…

When your watching a film and the climax comes, the climax shouldn’t lead to another climax. What happens then is you begin to pit the two together, which in Spectre’s case made the first climax (the best one) follow the films final climax (the weak one) a nasty taste in the viewers mouth. End the film on the one and only climax! Do not end the film on a weak note. It leaves the audience wanting more and with a 2 hr and a half film, you should already have plenty.
But for movie fans, there was too much in this film. Skyfall had a lot less and that makes the film more enjoyable. Again Spectre isn’t bad, its really good. But you can’t take the process of writing and throw it out the window. Skyfall is 7 mins shorter, yet Spectre feels more like a whole extra half an hour, this is because of its horrible pacing. Pacing is key in movie making, here it looks to be just a afterthought.
Again the Bond fan in me wants to make it clear, it is a fun and enjoyable movie. Craig gives his best Bond yet and that was the big thing that stood out for me, Craig perfected his Bond with Spectre and I need to see him do it one more time in a good paced film. It was great to see Craig bring back the dark comedy that has been missing recently. Léa Seydoux was a great Bond Girl (I know we aren’t allowed to say that anymore but hey I’m a ass, that I already knew). The one thing that did it for me was how she didn’t want to be apart of this killing world. She wanted to leave and does, even though that becomes a setup anyone could see a million miles away. Her character could of been used better, but a recurring theme with Spectre is her character is not flushed out completely. Christoph Waltz is amazing on screen with every project he does. He is a great villain and my only two issue would be 
1) Not used enough 2) They should of hidden him more when it came to the photos and trailers, especially those TV spots I kept seeing, and I don’t even watch TV. The surprise wasn’t there and it should of been. 
Again the writers did not flush out the characters.

The film looked great. It had a dark look that I just loved. The opening is Craig’s best and yes the barrel was put back in the beginning, I wanted to jump when I saw it there, was so happy.
The opening is stunning. That opening shot is beautiful with a few phantom cuts the flow of the opening is spectacular.
The song is okay. Its a good song but it needs more power, its too soft and it has no kick. For a big action opening that leads to a soft song falls kinda flat. The octopus wrapping around women was awesome. Loved the titles and enjoyed seeing past Bond characters popping up.
There is this nice use of Q and M coming out in the field that I really liked. I think Fiennes’ M is shaping up nicely.
Monica Bellucci ooh la la!
The plot with surveillance I didn’t care for nor did I with Mr. Hinx’s weapon I guess I can say, the thing on the fingers, yeah… I didn’t like that nor did I care for his exit.
Spectre is a good Bond film. With so much in there, with such a long run time it seems to be missing things that it shouldn’t. And it does this thing with the villain I feel comes off kinda pointless. Trying not to spoiled anything but somethings are best unknown and left in the dark. With the ending things are left kinda opened. The viewer has no conclusion because so much is left over for a sequel it feels like. Then at the same time the whole film feels like 2 films in 1. It’s a odd taste that is left in your mouth after the film. On one hand its good on the other the question of why? hangs over some choices the writers made. 

The film should of been broken up into 2
I guess all said and done this film had too many cooks in the kitchen. Spectre is a bloated film with extremely under used characters. But hey Im happy I got to live another day to see another Bond and that’s all that really matters to me. But we are at a professional level of movie making. Sam Medes and crew are on a $300 million dollar film here and should be a bit more professional especially 23 films in already.
Robert Wade, Neal Purvis Please Leave Bond.

Wanted
What I wanted when I saw the trailer was a bigger threat towards Bond. I wanted Bond scared. The Double 0 program is hanging on a thread. I thought Bond would connect with other 00’s and work on this threat. That’s my big issue with what was missing, no real threat. They tried but it came off weak, Bond doing it alone, again, come on people. We have a villain that should be the biggest threat and yet Dominic Greene came off more of a threat. A lot of misses with this one which will make Spectre the most controversial movie of 2015.
November 17, 2015

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast (Ep. 58) November 2015

FOR MATURE AUDIENCE

Fall has fallen and the boys at Simplistic Reviews have taken it upon themselves to kick off the Thanksgiving Month right.  There’s Ronda Rousey Roadhouse talk, an uncensored Julie, Kelly LeBrock reminiscing and a good old fashioned game of Kill, F%*k, Marry.

All this in more in a turkey filled episode of The Simplistic Reviews Podcast

NOTES
The Usual Suspects
Ronda Rousey Loss
Woman In Red
Roadhouse
Fargo’s Mike Milligan

MUSIC
My Flows Is Tight By Lord Digga
Action In Memphis By John Pearson
The Ususal Suspects Theme By John Ottman
Cast Your Fate To The Wind By Vince Guaraldi

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October 15, 2015

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast (Ep. 56) October 2015

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES

To celebrate this creepy time of year, why not hang with the creepy movie aficionados in the biz.  On this Halloween edition of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast, the boys talk candy…fall TV premieres…Ronda Rousey’s Roadhouse and Hayden Christensen.

This episode is filled to the brim with tricks and treats.  Grab your machete, your knife glove, and put on your inside out William Shatner mask and enjoy!

NOTES
Jennifer Lawrence’s Hunger Games C-word poster
Sam Smith Writing On the Wall
Ellen Pompeo criticizes Daniel Craig

MUSIC
Created A Monster by B.o.B. 
Murder Was The Case By Snoop Dogg
Bonfire By Childish Gambino
Saw Theme By Charles Clouser
Halloween Theme By John Carpenter

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October 8, 2015

Simplistic TV: American Horror Story: Hotel

HOMAGE

American Horror Story: Hotel – Homage

Here’s my history with “American Horror Story;” I like maybe half the season and I just kind of “check out.” I don’t know what it is about the series, but unlike other people, it’s never dug it’s nails into me and made me want to finish off a season. “Freak Show” came pretty close last season, but once they did away with Twisty the Clown, I tuned out. The took away, at least to me, the best past of the show, and aborted it.

This brings me to the newest edition of the “AHS” anthology; “Hotel.” What I’m looking for is a reason to keep checking out this season and keeping it on until the end. If I get what I saw in the first 20 or so minutes in the premier, I think I’ll be happy. Full disclosure, the first 20 minutes scared my wife away who couldn’t watch anymore.

“Hotel” stars the Hotel Cortez, an old hotel in Los Angeles, with a sordid history of murder, mayhem, and of course…ghosts. Most of the standard cast returns from “AHS” past, including Kathy Bates as yet another old coot who has seen too much. Sarah Paulson returns as a weirdo once again. Wes Bently is back too, this time as a cop with a family. Last but not least we have Lady Gaga being introduced as surprise surprise; a weirdo.

You might ask yourself, “Matt, why are you being so dismissive of this season so far?” Well, I’m not, I’m just painting this season in generalizations so far as to not give anything away

Overall, the premier pushed the limits in a lot of ways that even kind of surprised me, but perhaps this is the “Gaga Effect” where limits must be pushed. I think this newest edition to the “AHS” series has a lot of potential since it seems to take a lot from the past, namely the “Murder House” season with enough wacky characters where it will remind you of the latest season “Freak Show.”

Of course the same people will turn in no matter what, but I think there is enough crossover appeal where even curious, or bi-curious, members of the audience might even give this season a try. Me, for one, enjoys the bygone era of old seedy Los Angeles, and to end this, I really hope they decide not to go the “Freak Show” route and include music interludes. So far, so good.

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