Hunter Killer Recap

Jamie

When an American submarine sinks and the Russian President is taken hostage in a military coup a new submarine captain Joe Glass is sent to take part in a daring rescue. Will he be able to quell the rebellion and prevent a nuclear war before it’s too late? Find out in… Hunter Killer.

How?! Up in the Barents Sea, American and Russian subs are mysteriously sunk. In a *wink* *wink* coincidence the Russian President is traveling to a naval base sparking a national security crisis in the US. In response, another submarine, the USS Arkansas with its totally green greasemonkey captain Joe Glass, is sent to investigate. He’s all like “thank God I got my lucky coin or else I might be in trouble,” and he flips the coin and smiles at the camera. Simultaneously the US sends in a Special Ops team to check out the naval base and generally waste our time because we don’t care about that storyline. Anyway, when the USS Arkansas gets to the sunk US submarine they find everyone dead, but they hear survivors on the Russian sub. Before they can get them though they are attacked by another Russian sub and only survive through some nifty maneuvers and some help from a lucky coin. With the foe dispatched they are able to rescue the Russian submariners and find that it includes a very prominent Russian captain. Meanwhile, it turns out that there is a coup afoot at the naval base and a totally evil Defense Minister wants to start a war. Uh oh! In order to prevent this tragedy the USS Arkansas is ordered to the naval base to try to rescue the Russian President. Good thing they have that Russian captain on board because otherwise the mission is impossible. Anyway, the Special Ops team goes in guns blazing (obviously) and get the Russian President. They run real fast like Americans and get him into the submarine. As they cruise away, though, they are found by a Russian destroyer and things are looking grim. If only they had someone on board that the Russians loved and respected. Enter the Russian captain and President who are like “please don’t blow us up,” and the destroyer is like “fine.” The Russian Defense Minister is like, “not fine” and shoots giant ballistic missiles at the submarine, but the destroyer somehow knocks them out of the sky and blows up the naval base… which is totally unbelievable until you remember that Captain Glass has that lucky coin. It can do anything. Everyone hugs at the end and each country and their people have new found respect for each other. THE END.

Why?! There isn’t really a why to a lot of the movie. At least on the American side of things. I guess duty to one’s country? The crux of the film is a vast Russian conspiracy aimed at installing the Defense Minister as a de facto dictator. They set up a Russian sub to blow up in the vicinity of an American sub (making it look like an attack) and then attack and destroy the American sub as retaliation. At the same time they sequester the Russian President and start giving order (under the guise that the President is in fact giving the orders himself from the naval base). Once war occurs the Defense Minister will take the reins.

Who?! Obviously musician Common is one of the main actors in the film and that’s great. I’d also like to congratulate President Dover on her election as President of the United States of BMT. It feels like the right time for a change of administration. Finally two people involved in the film died before its release. Michael Nyqvist (who played the Russian Captain Andropov) and a producer John Thompson both died of cancer. Sad.

What?! I was really hoping that Butler’s lucky coin would be used as some kind of Chekov’s lucky coin. Like he gets cornered and distracts someone by flipping it or it stops a bullet or something equally cliche. Alas, it wasn’t to be. It was almost a red herring in how much they built up the lucky coin but he just kind of flips it a few times and it doesn’t even do anything magical. Come on, I want you to use it to plug a hole in the submarine or something.

Where?! A mix of Washington D.C. and Russia (or at least the waters around Russia). Very clear and nicely spelled out with some intertitles. I also want to point out that there was a brief Seal Team training scene in Tajikistan. I would have assumed this would be the only chance for us to get that location but apparently the film Spies Like Us is even more prominently set there. B+.

When?! Always hard in theaters to catch an exact date like this. It might be there (could have even been obviously displayed in the intertitles), but I didn’t catch it and I’ll have to figure it out when I buy the movie on DVD and watch it until the disc wears out. F.

This is a movie for dumb people but sometimes people want to be dumb even if you aren’t dumb, but in fact are big-brain smart people… you know? It has everything I want out of a submarine film: leaks, crush depth, fish in the water, wrenches, people getting crushed by torpedoes, depth charges (in modern day!), long speeches by a submarine captain, a submarine sitting on the ocean floor, a lucky coin, a military coup, things on fire, and a mini sub (babbyyyyyyyy). It is very much like me from the future wrote this fim… wait, did I come from the future and write this film? Anyway, I thought this movie was stupid silly fun that fit perfectly in that 35% RT range (but probably should have been higher?). I unabashedly enjoyed my experience. Oh and it seem like a ripoff of a little known Gary Busey film called Steel Sharks which is weird. And I’m being serious. This film is very similar to that film somehow. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. I hunt and I kill bad movies for fun and for reals. I need a hunter killer up in here, let’s get into this BMT Live!!

The Good – The sub action is actually quite good, and comprises enough of the film to make me wonder “wait … did I just like this film” as I left the theater.. I don’t have the vast experiences with sub movies like Jamie, but I found myself extremely entertained in the back half of the film. I agree with most reviews that say this harkens back to some of the late-80s / early-90s idea of what an action film should be. Very self-contained and successful in its limited scope. I liked a good number of the actors involved, even if Gary Oldman did just yell incoherently 95% of the time. I was 100% sure he was going to be a twist bad guy, then he wasn’t, which was a pleasant surprise.

P’s View on the Preview – I had to scramble to get the preview settled, but I became interested partly in the director, who is kind of a strange choice in that he doesn’t seem to have made a big budget US film before. Besides that I’m all about the sub action. The less time I’m on the sub doing sub things the less happy I am.

The Bad – The entire extraction team subplot was pointless. They could have, effectively, done the same thing with a Hollywood satellite handwave and a team from Butler’s sub. Everything was coming up Gerard to a ridiculous degree. He basically flipped 20 coins and they all came up heads, and when people looked at him and were like “how did you know?” he just did a little Michael Jordan shoulder shrug and was like “I didn’t” (but you kind of know he did). You never felt much weight to his decisions because he always made the correct one and it worked out for him flawlessly. To that end basically no one died on the sub which meant there was no drama. And the politics of the film felt off, like originally it was very anti-Russia, but they cut it to go the opposite way to make it semi-pro-Russia realizing the original cut would feel too overtly political.

You Just Got Schooled – I couldn’t find a funny review of the film to watch or anything. But I did find this funny video of Gerard Butler explaining Scottish slang. Seems like a nice guy. But … does anyone else think he has a little bit of a Blake Bortles moonface going? He probably just lays off the beer for a month prior to any role he takes where he needs to actually look … not like Blake Bortles. Actually, have they ever considered having Gerard Butler play Blake Bortles in a biopic?

The BMT – Every Gerard Butler bad movie is a jewel to be treasured in BMT. I have no animosity towards the man, it is just that his action films are often just trite shadows of other action films. And thus they are very often excellent to watch for BMT. The BMeTric is going to go up, that is inevitable, so it’ll be a fine addition, despite the Rotten Tomatoes score being a little higher than we expected.

Welcome to Earf – Michael Nyqvist is both in Hunter Killer and Abduction starring Taylor Lautner, who was in The Ridiculous Six starring Adam Sandler, who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!! For the record, Butler is also pretty easy as he was in London Has Fallen with Morgan Freeman who has been part of a cycle before.

StreetCreditReport.com – Amazingly there are a few lists that already include this film. Here and here. Otherwise this probably is most famous for being delayed quite a few times. And then again for being the yearly Gerard Butler film that comes out in October and is not very good.

BMT Live Theater Review – I do love my Vue now. I ventured off to the Westfield Vue in Shepherd’s Bush for this viewing and much to my chagrin it cost me 13 pounds. Bah, where is my 5 pound showing Vue?! Anyways, I managed to catch, I think, the third to last showing in London for the film, but there were more people there than I expect. The tension was palpable, with some of the crowd even gasping in shock at some of the more tense moments. Imagine if I actually watched one of these films with like … people in the theater. What a shock that would be. B experience, docked for me not managing to get my 5 pound Monday on, and for lack of a crowd dampening the mood.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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The Predator Recap

Jamie

A former military sniper find himself embroiled in a galactic battle when a Predator crash lands near his black ops site. Things go from bad to worse when the battle follows him back home to where his young, autistic son lives. Can he defeat the Predator, protect his family, and save mankind before it’s too late? Find out in… The Predator.

How?! We open with a Predator crash landing in Mexico near where our hero, Quinn, is taking part in a black ops mission. He briefly does battle before escaping with some of the Predator technology, which he sends back home (into the unsuspecting hands of his autistic son, Rory). He is then taken by the US government to be questioned and eventually shipped off to a psychiatric ward with a bunch of other soldiers being held as insane by the US government. In the meantime the Predator has been taken to a top secret lab to be studied but awakens and destroys the lab. The prisoners on the bus escape and drive away to try to make sure Quinn’s family isn’t now the target of an escaped Predator. Arriving at the home of his estranged wife, Quinn finds that Rory has been totally deciphering the alien tech and has taken it out for a little spin on Halloween. This activates a homing beacon on the tech and leads to an even bigger Ultimate Predator to show up which is there to kill the first Predator (you following this? Me neither). It easily does so and our heroes escape only to be captured by the US government. They use Rory to find the crashed Predator ship and everyone converges on that location. Unfortunately the Ultimate Predator is like “Nope, I’m gonna blow it up and kill everyone,” and it does. The Ultimate Predator then shockingly (what a twist!) reveals that Rory’s autism actually represents the next step in human evolution and is the ultimate warrior for mankind. It take Rory captive to use in biological experimentation and starts to fly away, but Quinn being a badass jump on his ship and totes kills it and stuff. We then get a little sneak peak at the sequels when it’s revealed that the first Predator actually brought a weapon for mankind to use and it’s a super lame Predator suit that is going to suck for real. This may all sound fine to you but think of the massive coincidence that had to occur in this case: the Predator had to crash land on top of a US military sniper in the Mexican wilderness allowing for him to obtain alien technology to send back to his autistic son who happens to be the ultimate warrior and only human on Earth that can decipher the alien technology. That’s some straight magic destiny shit.

Why?! There actually is a lot more motivation that the original Predator where more or less the alien is a game hunter in it for the thrill of the hunt. This time the original Predator heads to Earth in hopes of delivering a weapon to help in the upcoming battle against the rest of the Predators. You see, climate change is making Earth hotter and thus more habitable for Predators. They’re gonna live here now, but I guess this original Predator is more accepting and doesn’t like this for some reason. So it brings a Predator suit that apparently will defeat climate change (the real bad guys in this whole scenario). So I guess it like… runs entirely on clean energy or something? They can’t possibly expect one man in a robot suit to fight an entire invading force of Predators, right?… RIGHT?

What?! The robot suit revealed at the end of the film is a perfect MacGuffin. Literally no one actually knows what it is and yet the government, our hero, and the Ultimate Predator are fighting and killing to get the thing as it mysteriously represents the only hope for mankind. For a moment in the theater I thought the box containing the MacGuffin would open and reveal a brief shot of the cryogenically frozen body of Arnold and that he would turn out to be the ultimate warrior that is the only hope for mankind and would come back to star in the sequel. I was crushed when it was a stupid robot suit.

Who?! There seems to be only one Easter Egg in the film in that Jake Busey plays the scientist studying the Predator, Sean Keyes. He is the son of Peter Keyes, the scientist in Predator 2 played by Busey’s real life father Gary Busey. We of course have never watched Predator 2 because we are dumb, but rest assured it will be watched for BMT (and soon, spoiler alert).

Where?! This was a point of contention. The film obviously starts in Mexico and proceeds to Chattanooga, TN. From there people only drive or take helicopter trips to further locations so I presumed they either stayed in TN or crossed the border into Georgia. Patrick noted that most cars had Georgia license plates and some promotional material boasted about how the production team mocked up a school in Vancouver to look like a school in Macon, Georgia so we can be pretty safe to assume it takes place there, but not particularly noticeable. It’s always hard for these BMT Live films. B-.

When?! This was much more obvious as part of the plot is that Rory is able to take the alien tech out and about because it’s Halloween and everyone is dressed up. A really perfect Secret Holiday film. One of the best of the year. A-.

This is a lizard brain fun movie. I sat in the theater and was more or less fine with being there and watching this new addition to the Predator lore. It’s only on thinking back on the film that it starts to fall apart. The film is built on crazy coincidence, cliche, and childish humor. It’s like an early 2000’s action film mixed with a youtube video. It kinda sucks but you also don’t mind wasting your time watching it… like a youtube video. I guess what I’m saying is that it has the value of a youtube video… and that’s good but also terrible. Get it? Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Some people say that terrible movies are the next evolutionary step in great filmmaking … wait, that doesn’t make a lick of sense, what am I talking about? Oh yeah, the main plot point in The Predator. Let’s go!

The Good – The film at the very least attempts to advance the Predator franchise into interesting territory, with the ultimate conclusion being galactic war (funny enough … the exact same plan floated to resurrect the Independence Day franchise). Looking back at the original Predator you can tell Shane Black had an idea about the “band of soldiers” that haven’t really been replicated in other installments of the franchise, something that felt necessary, one valiant attempt. The action was, at times, decent, specifically the lab escape scene. Olivia Munn was fine, not great, but fine. The kid actor was far less annoying than you would think. The main villain was charming as well, kind of making fun of the machismo so many critics referenced in the good reviews.

P’s View on the Preview – Ah, we watched this film very closely and I think we can take credit for willing it below 40% ultimately. It started as fresh, well above 60% after the initial wave of reviews. When I first generated the preview it even had a different consensus written that made it out to be a fine addition to the franchise. They’ve since replaced it with one a bit more down on the whole thing. Ultimately, like Warcraft, this is mostly looking at one of the bigger releases of the year that ended up being bad and seeing what we think.

The Bad – Aggressively and proudly crude for the sake of being crude, which I thought came across as juvenile and annoying, and makes the film seem like a standard R-rated action-comedy. No charisma from the lead, bad acting across the board, specifically I thought Thomas Jane put together a flimsy, obvious, and generally annoying character. Keegan-Michael Key was only barely tolerable as well. The rest of the band of brothers was entirely forgettable, beyond Trevante Rhodes who was okay. The jingoist attitude towards soldiers was unbecoming and unnecessary. The main story (Predator trying to evolve using autism, the next evolution in humankind) is an atrocity and has been appropriately maligned by critics and fans alike. And finally, it jumps around way too much, you are all over the place, and not for a particularly good reason. There is so many small things wrong with this film it ultimately sinks under the weight of criticism. It is basically like: there is a little something for everyone to hate.

You Just Got Schooled – Initially for this film I wanted to rewatch Predator, but I’m kind of saving that for another time. Instead for homework I decided to watch the Red Letter Media re:View of Predator. For the most part this gives a general look at what made Predator a very good 80s action film: a limited story in a unique location with a charismatic lead and a tendency to go over the top with violence and crudeness. The new one? Basically tries to pretend that that last bit was the most important. It was not. The most important is the first: limit the story. Predator, Predators, and Predator 2 (to an extent) all focused on a very simple story: the predator has come a-hunting, y’all better get the f’ outta here! Why we end up jumping locations is beyond me. I’m looking forward to see if the RLM guys do an actual review of The Predator, because I imagine they’ll be quite disappointed in the “Shane Black Predator” given their views of the original.

The BMT – I think this was, weirdly, a once-in-a-lifetime event. The Predator was one of the bigger action films slated for the autumn, people were skeptical of the trailers but still seemed excited, and the crude R-rated action-comedies (don’t pretend it is anything else) tend to get apologized for for being good for what they are (and aren’t) trying to do. But somehow it sunk like a stone and ended up probably being the biggest action BMT of the year. Reminiscent of Independence Day 2, which was equally forgettable. Probably one of the more interesting Live’s we’ve done and gives a good reason for the BMT Lives to exist I think.

Welcome to Earf – Alright, so Olivia Munn is in The Predator and Mortdecai with Johnny Depp, who was in Transcendence with Morgan Freeman, who was the narrator for Conan the Barbarian (2011) with Ron Perlman, who was in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earth!

StreetCreditReport.com – Just like with other Lives there isn’t much to say here, but I would expect the screenplay would get some nods for worst written film. Given the stellar track record of Shane Black as a director, he’ll also be a huge target for worst directed film. Overall, the film is big enough I would expected it’ll sneak into the bottom of a few worst of lists by the end of the year, overall the year has been pretty sparse regardless.

BMT Live Theater Review – After my terrible experience at Cineworld for Slender Man, I returned to my precious Vue. £7 showings all day every day, clean, and … well, they also had 30 minutes of adverts (as they say in foggy London town) prior to the show, but at least I can kind of think to myself “hey, the movie only cost £7 which for London is a steal”. Almost no one was in the showing, no one laughed at the many juvenile and crass jokes, and everything was appropriately muted … basically it is what you would expect from a terrible action film. Went to a late show, and then just stewed getting angrier and and angrier as I wandered home. C+, just what you would hope from a showing, but nothing hilarious to make it stand out either.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Slender Man Recap

Jamie

A group of teenage girls watch a video describing how to summon the Slender Man and (surprise surprise) accidentally summon Slender Man. Soon one of them is missing, another insane, and the remaining two are trying their damndest to stop the madness. Will they be able to stop the Slender Man before it’s too late? Find out in… Slender Man.

How?! A group of teenage girls stumble upon an online video claiming to summon a demon called Slender Man. Why do they click it? Because some guys they know claimed they were also summoning this Slender Fellow. Cool. They click the video and more or less watch The Ring starring Naomi Watts. Super spooked they decide not to talk about it ever again… that is until one of the girls goes missing, another goes insane, and the other two start to see Slender Chap lurking around every corner. They get in contact with someone online in order to try to make this weird Slender Dude go away (and bring back the other girl I guess), but it kinda gets them in even deeper and roping in one of the girl’s little sister. Eventually they realize that Slender Bloke is more of an idea than a real thing (you know?) and that they really can’t defeat him… so the whole movie is kinda useless other than to serve as a parable of sorts for the dangers of the internet. You wouldn’t get it cause you’re not young and hip like us. It’s an allegory and a metaphor, you know? Anyway, the one girl decides to sacrifice herself to Slender Man to save her sister and she gets absorbed into a tree. For real. THE END.

Why?! Wow… I’m rarely stumped by one of these questions. Ok, so… Slender Man is a demon so he’s just doing it because he’s evil. Easy enough. The girls summon Slender Man because… they hear that some other people are summoning Slender Man. Then they want to stop him so they don’t die. My God. The motivations in this film are tragic.

What?! I assume that they use certain phones and computers for all Slender Man activities but it’s hard to note those kinds of things in the theater. It wasn’t hard to remember the scene where Slender Man began to reach for one of the characters but then it turned out that he was just reaching for a nice refreshing Coca-Cola. That certainly was jarring, but not unexpected. Pepsi’s gross. Slender Man don’t play that.

Who?! I fully expected half the actresses in this film to be aspiring pop stars, but I was incorrect. Instead the most interesting thing about the film is the writing credit given to Victor Surge, the username of the guy who first submitted the Slender Man art to the website SomethingAwful back in the day. By all account this guy has no interest in engaging with his creation and more or less says that he doesn’t even really use the internet much… and yet there have been no less than four feature films made about Slender Man (this one obviously being the biggest) and a full season of a television show. He keeps getting credits. Weird and wild stuff.

Where?! Patrick pointed out to me that all the where and when details are actually shown in the trailer, which is pretty amazing. This film takes place in the small town of Winsford which is apparently in MA. We get some Revolutionary War talk in the middle of the film and also a 978 area code for a character’s phone number. Other than that nothing solid. My guess is that some license plates could be seen, just not easily in the theater where I can’t analyze each frame like it’s the Zapruder film. C+.

When?! Also in the trailer is a MISSING sign for one of the girls which clearly states that she went missing on May 30th, 2018. Makes sense as it’s near the end of the school year. This is a fabulous A-. I certainly wish they mentioned how much fun they had at their Memorial Day slumber party considering that is likely the weekend on which they first watched the video. But alas, guess they didn’t want an A.

This movie is straight terrible… I’m not sure I even need to say more. It feels like an unfinished film. Something that was recut or refilmed after bad previews or to get a PG-13 rating with little regard to the fact that the plot is straight garbage and bereft of any or all motivation or development for the characters. Not to mention that you have a movie monster with no interesting characteristics, no hope of being defeated, and no connection to the physical world… so why would I care about this Slender Guy? I want Bye Bye Man weird dog and coin shit. I want to have them find out that he’s the spirit of a guy who lost his daughter in a tragic boat accident and they have to go out on the misty lake to pull up her bones from the wreckage for a final burial (only to find that she was the demon all along!). I want a real horror film antagonist. Not this half-ass demon bullshit. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! This week we watched a modern day urban legend … what’s that? No, we didn’t watch Urban Legend. Naw, this is a horror film for the technological age … what’s that? No, we’ve already seen FeardotCom. No, you know, the one with the updated boogeyman character … what’s that? Goddamnit, no, we watched The Bye Bye Man last year! Whatever, we watched Slender Man, I was talking about Slender Man. Let’s go!

The Good – Oooooof. There are some shots which are well done. You can kind of see that the director is the most competent part of this film. It manages to keep the tension cranked up to about 8/10 for the whole movie, which is far more than The Bye Bye Man could say. If it could have managed a few more scares people would have probably given it a break at least.

P’s View on the Preview – Obviously the main thing here was the comparisons to The Bye Bye Man. Back to back years you have very not-scary thin men haunting people in rural America? I mean … yes please. The only thing we were hoping for was for the Slender Man to be hilarious. Because The Bye Bye Man looked goofy. Yo looked goofy!

The Bad – He did not look sufficiently goofy. The acting throughout was terrible. No moment in the entire film was scary, not even the jump scares. This film is entirely derivative of other horror films, it is effectively The Ring Ring Man, because it is just the plot of The Ring applied using the bad guy from The Bye Bye Man. The Bye Bye Man was hilarious while this is simply a tragedy, a not-scary nothing movie. Boo! I say boo!

Get Yo Rant On – So yo, first The Bye Bye Man, and now this? Why all the hate on libraries all of a sudden. Naturally when you summon a demon you need to go to the local library to see what you can find. Under “The Bye Bye Man” there should be plenty about the weird albino drifter killing people with his dog. In Slender Man they naturally need to find a book on … demons or something, so they head to the local library. Natch. What’s this, The Super Thin Get-outta Here Man is here?! Who could have guessed it. But seriously … local libraries are struggling enough without today’s youth being afraid of accidentally seeing The Ring Me Once Man or whatever making it all spooky and stuff. Leave the local library alone horror films. End rant.

The BMT – Nope. Merely a not-Bye-Bye-Man which hurts my heart. Get out of here Slender Man you piece of not-scary garbage. Come back when you look goofy. That would have been your saving grace … like if you had a top hat and a slender dog and some like … weird rusty bike sounds plays when you were near. Now we’re cooking with fire!

Welcome to Earf – I needed a little help on this. Joey King was in Slender Man, but I didn’t remember that she was in Independence Day: Resurgence, which also stars Jeff Goldblum who was in Mortdecai with Johnny Depp, who was in Transcendence with Morgan Freeman who was the narrator of Conan the Barbarian (2011), which also starred Ron Perlman who was in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale with Leelee Sobieski who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

Theater reView – There isn’t much Street Cred yet so I’ll let that be for now, but I do think this will be the worst horror film of the year by leagues. As for my theatrical experience … uh, remind me never to go to a Cineworld again. Now, I thought that the one in Chelsea was just an anomaly. Overly expensive and dirty. Nope, that apparently is the norm. Vue is one million times better. First, Vue usually has sweet six pound viewings all of the time. It is clean, and nice, and their kiosks work. Cineworld is garbage. The audience was appropriately muted, and the theater was fine though, nice and packed for a Tuesday night showing of Slender Man.

And that is that. We did all our homework last year by watching The Bye Bye Man, so …

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Flatliners (2017) Recap

Jamie

Looking to scientifically explore the concept of the afterlife, a medical student, Courtney, has four of her peers stop her heart and then resuscitate her. Finding that the procedure improves her mental capacity, they each in turn try the risky procedure to deadly consequences. Can they stop the game before it’s too late? Find out in… Flatliners (2017).

What?! Courtney is a star student at the University of Anonymous Medical School. However, she is haunted (figuratively) by the death of her younger sister in a car accident caused by her own distracted driving. Looking to explore the afterlife, she recruits a few of her fellow students to help her stop her heart and then resuscitate her a minute later. When the experiment is a success and Courtney seems to gain increased mental acuity and memory (straight out of Limitless) the rest of the morons are super into the idea of almost dying too. These supernatural abilities are cool for a second, but it totally turns out that they’ve opened the door to their worst sins coming to life and trying to murder them. Uh oh! After Courtney (now literally haunted by her sister) is killed by what they had assumed were hallucinations, the rest of the dumbos realize they must apologize to those they’ve wronged or suffer the same fate. Once they go through this process they are free from their hauntings and ready to focus on what’s important: scrubbing away all evidence of their involvement in Courtney’s death (that is a real fact, the film ends with them disposing of evidence in a river… not sure what moral we are meant to learn from all this). The End.

Why?! Much like the original film each character in Flatliners has their own motivation for flatlining. Courtney claims to want to make scientific history by proving the existence of the afterlife, but we get the feeling that what she really wants is to overcome the guilt associated with the death of her sister. The next to go is Jamie who simply wants to gain worldwide fame as a Dr. Oz type television personality. Seeing how Jamie and Courtney gain special abilities from the experience, Sophia wants to go next so that she won’t struggle so much in finishing med school. Finally Marlo is just super competitive and goes last. Ray is the fifth member who doesn’t actually flatline and plays the moral compass of the group looking to make sure none of them die.

What?! I’m going to settle this score once and for all. Everyone who says that this isn’t a remake but rather a sequel hasn’t done their due diligence. Yes, Kiefer Sutherland appears in a cameo, but his name is Dr. Barry Wolfson. It’s not Nelson like in the original. “But Jamie, maybe he changed his name after the horrors of the first film.” That would be a good point if it weren’t so dumb. Why would that be the case and they end up doing nothing with it? No sly wink to Courtney/the camera. No “Be careful. Reaserch can be a real killer,” delivered with a smirk  so that all the Flatlinerheads in the cinema can get amped and cheer. Nothing. Just boring old Dr. Barry Wolfson cameoing away. This film is clearly a remake.

Who?! A little case of nepotism up in here. Avery Bederman played the younger sister of Courtney in the film and just so happens to be the daughter of executive producer Michael Bederman. While I could mention that he’s quite successful and was executive producer on Best Picture winner Spotlight, I will instead highlight that he was an uncredited line producer of one of our very favorites of 2014. That’s right! Endless Looooovveeeeeeeee. I have endless love for that book/movie/movie.

Where?! It’s a rarity for us to find a film that goes out of its way to not have a setting. The Tuxedo is a famous example where they digitally scrubbed the film of NYC references following 9/11 to avoid controversy. For Flatliners (2017) I can only presume they just didn’t want to spend the money making Toronto look like Chicago (where the original was set). Instead an unrecognizable city skyline and “Great State” license plates told us all we needed to know: welcome to the great state of Americana, where we bleed red, white, and blue and eat hot dog pie. F.

When?! Temporal settings are hard as it is, even when you have a DVD to pause. In the theater? Forget about it. It might be there, but I’ll have to wait until it’s out on DVD so I can never watch it again probably. F.

My theatrical experience was quite different from BMT Live’s of the past. That’s because my showing was absolutely packed (shocking, I know). I went on a Friday and it was filled to the brim with teenyboppers jockeying for seats next to potential beaus. Despite this, a few of them must have been paying attention because they actually chuckled at the jokes, jumped at some of the scares, and seemed to have a bit of fun. I did not. I had assumed the film was a slim 85 minutes when I entered the theater, but realized an hour in that that was an impossibility. How did you make a 110 minute long ABC television pilot of a film? How and why? Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! While reflecting on the remake of Flatliners I liked to imagine the conversation Kiefer had with the writer of this film prior to signing on. Am I playing the same character? Maybe. Well, do I have the same name? Maybe. But are we shooting a scene where I’m the character from the first movie? Probably, but we’ll see if we edit it out in the end … any other questions, Kiefer? Nope, sounds chill. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake; Homework Sklog-signment) – The story is as interesting as ever, and the cast is fine (specifically Luna, Page, and, after a bit of a false start, Clemons). If the original didn’t exist it would be a forgettable albeit still terrible supernatural horror film. Nothing more. Which I guess is a positive. Since this is already a remake might as well get the review of Flatliners (1990) out of the way: I dug the Gothic look a ton, and the cast was incredible (even if the acting wasn’t always). I loved the idea … right up until they were getting haunted by spooky ghosts. There is a better story concerning doctors exploring life after death, which I guess is why Flatliners is more on the cult side of cult classics. And … why they really needed to do something new for this remake. A group of doctors one-upping themselves. Going further. Getting addicted. Breaking down psychologically, and the one that dreamt it up (and dreamt of fame) finally snapping when he realizes he’ll have to share the spotlight with those he considers less than him. Go true blue low-budget mad scientist. At least then you’d bulletproof against it being a bomb, and you don’t devolve into the supernatural (at least, when you don’t have anything new or interesting to say).

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – The supernatural part of the story is the weakest and ends up handcuffing the film into a trite jump-scare horror that is honestly not scary, not interesting, and no fun. There is also a major divergence from the original in which the doctors go a little limitless (although The Fly is what came to mind initially) after flatlining. Bullshit, people would have noticed they were geniuses after dying for a minute. A recent Sklognalogy is Godsend. Although there at least you get that awesome mad scientist character in DeNiro. Here, Page ended up dying halfway through, and wasn’t even the same kind of unhinged madman that Kiefer eventually morphed into in the original.

The BMT (Legacy; StreetCreditReport.com) – This is the second year in a row August didn’t serve up a serviceable Summer Live, but we did wait it out to get something with a truly dire Rotten Tomatoes score. We’ll see about the legacy. I think it depends on the Razzies, and it has a better chance than Mechanic Resurrection did last year of snagging a few. I think the 4% Rotten Tomatoes score speaks for itself for street cred, but there won’t be worst-of lists for a while to confirm. I’m on the edge of my seat!

I already did the Homework Sklog-signment, but I might as well give a little BMT Live Theater Review! I watched at the Cineworld on Fulham Road and, wow, what an absolutel shithole. No offense, but it is just kind of getting run down, and I have a feeling it will close soon. The Fulham Broadway Vue is way better, not to mention the enormous (and posh) Westfield Vue. Anyways, there was a surprising number of people, mostly older, one who just couldn’t figure out how not to eat popcorn ridiculously loudly. No audience reaction at all. Which for a purported horror film is not the best I think. The only really remarkable thing though is that there were (count em!) 30 minutes of commercials and trailers before the film. Mostly commercials. This is the first time I’ve ever gotten angry about that, but it was just way too many. I could have left my house after the movie started and easily got there before the movie actually started. No fun … maybe I’m getting old.

Cheerios, 

the Sklogs

Fifty Shades Darker Recap

Jamie

What?! After their “dramatic” break-up in the first film, Christian Grey realizes that he can’t live without Anastasia Steele. Promising to give up his S&M lifestyle they get back together. Can they make it work? Find out in… Fifty Shades Darker… seriously, that’s all this is about.

Why?! Mostly it’s because Christian Grey is a broken, lonely man who needs to learn to love and he feels like Anastasia Steele is the first thing in his life that truly gives him that opportunity. As for Anastasia it’s oddly about taking control of her life and becoming more assertive about what she wants personally and professionally in part by giving into her desires with Christian (bit of a contradiction, no?). By setting her ground rules and allowing herself to do what she wants, she unshackles herself from societal norms and flies fr… blech… sorry, I just puked all over myself.

How?! Imagine just watching a couple people dating for two hours. That’s this movie. They just go on dates and stuff. Incredibly dramatic things happen to them (she almost gets raped, he is involved in a helicopter crash, she is held at gunpoint by a crazy former lover of Christian’s) and yet five seconds after these things happen they are forgotten and we continue to watch them argue casually over wine. There was a moment where they were having dinner where I actually thought, “Imagine if this never ended? That I had to sit here watching these two boring people go to dinner over and over again.” A cold shiver ran down my spine. That’s how mundane it all was. So yeah… that’s “how” it all went down. Oh, and they got engaged in the end. That was the climax (sigh, I feel like I can’t even celebrate that pun). Thank God the music was dope.

Who?! Ha! Just thinking about a version of this film that included a Planchet is amusing to me. Like if Christian Grey’s chauffeur Taylor was some chubby, bumbling fool that is the brunt of Christian’s constant chiding. That would be cool. As it is, there is no Planchet. So just gonna shout out my girl Kim Basinger. It’s a crime her role is so small this time around, but I heard it’s bigger in 2018’s future BMT film Fifty Shades Freed. Things are looking up for 2018!

Where?! If you didn’t know (but who doesn’t at this point) these books started as Twilight fan fiction. Accordingly, this film takes place in Seattle, Washington. Most notable Anastasia works at SIP, Seattle Independent Press. Also, the Space Needle is basically a character in the film given how many times we see it in establishing shots. B

When?! The major downside of BMT Live! is the inability to try to figure out exactly when the film takes place by analyzing the film frame-by-frame Zapruder-style. One would think that it’s immediately following the last film. It’s implied that they actually didn’t break up for all that long, so probably June right after graduating. This is supported by E.L. James’ assertion that Christian’s birthday is June 18th (perhaps detailed specifically in the book?), so basically they broke up for two weeks, she started her job, and then like two weeks later they got back together and got engaged. The thing that really shoots this in the foot is that you can see Christmas decorations on store windows when they’re walking around Seattle. Come on, guys. Think about the poor children trying to piece this timeline together. Think of the children! D-

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Fifty Shades Darker?! More like Fifty More Movies please! Not really, one more movie exactly please (I feel strangely sad when movie series get cut short, plus the third is already filmed). We had a night at the movies. Was it an entertaining girls night (and Patrick!) night on the town!? Or was it so awkward I wondered if I perhaps had stumbled into a British comedy series?! Spoiler alert: I’ve never been so uncomfortable in my life. Let’s go!

  • The Good – The music was jamalaming. The film makes you think … more on that later. Dakota Johnson is a fine actress and does an admirable job. I don’t exactly remember the first movie, I know it happened to me but almost no details beyond that there was a sex contract, but I do know the sex scenes in this one came a lot faster and furiouser which I’m sure satisfied many of the target audience in attendance in my sparsely populated theater.
  • The Bad – Dornan is straight awful. Kim Basinger was given way too little to do (I nearly forgot she was in this). Oh, and literally nothing happens in the film. Basically she dumped his ass in the first film, and he comes back being like “You’re so plain I love you so much, I need you, I’m a billionaire” and then they date for a while. There is a stalker but that is dispatched quickly. Anastasia’s boss goes from zero to rape in 1.5 seconds, which was alarming. And Dornan get paid to look like a complete asshole for two hours. All in all it was a perplexing and yet fascinating time.
  • The BMT – Yes. I’m actually pretty sure this is the worst film of the year. I think it is. It is polished, it looks great, it has some decent acting here and there, but it is also boring, and yet consistently and often humorously terrible. I feel like I need to watch this film again, which makes me uncomfortable to my core. If that isn’t a 80+ BMeTric I’m not sure what is. I’m drawn to it like a fly into an electric fly zapper.

Oh my favorite of all the games: BMT Live! Theater Experience. So basically my plan of action for this film was to show up 15 after the official showtime to ensure the theater is dark, and sit near the exit. Great plan in theory. What actually happened was that the theater was still quite bright when I then very conspicuously entered and sat approximately 40 feet from everyone else. Also, since I was right near the exit anyone who entered after me would go around this little wall and kind of come face-to-face with creeper #1 sitting there like a creeper. Once the movie kicked off the rowdiness was sadly kept to a minimum, but I did indeed manage to bolt out of the theater and around the corner before, I think, anyone else even had a chance to get their things. It is the small victories I savor. This was bar-none the most awkward theater experience of my life. As I sat there it was almost a religious experience. A pariah, alone and consuming delights not meant for me. Reacting with disgust, but was it meant to evoke lust or joy? I would not know, for I was not the intended audience. This is something I do love with BMT in a bizarre way, particularly with Madea films. Watching something not meant for me. Wondering if what I was experiencing was intended in any way by the creators. In this case, I don’t think so, this was one for the ladies. Get yo movies, ladies. BMT Live!

Cheerios, 

The Sklogs

Keeping Up With the Joneses Recap

Jamie

I went into the theater for Keeping Up with the Joneses thinking the worst. It would be like Unfinished Business where you hate everyone and the jokes are lame or offensive. I can say that I was wrong. The jokes weren’t offensive in the least (their lameness is a different story) and the characters were at least sympathetic enough that you could sit and enjoy their story. Unfortunately the script was half-baked. Maybe they pushed it out the door too quickly or rewrote it one too many times, but the pacing was way off for what is purportedly a comedy/action film. To the point where a major car chase scene occurs and it plays out like an episode of Chuck (nailed that relevant reference!). Does this all add to a 21% on RT? I don’t think so since I actually liked the characters and somewhat enjoyed watching their story. But, who cares? This is definitely not getting a Razzie nomination, emirite? ….

Keeping Up with the Joneses is a film that could have gotten away with not having a setting since it is set in an innocuous small-ish US city. It almost seems out of sheer laziness that this film ended up being explicitly set in Atlanta, Georgia. This is as ‘meh’ a physical location case as we can get for Settings 101: Fire Engine says “Atlanta”, Georgia license plates, and small ‘Atlanta’ signs next to a hotel and company. Cool story, bro. Straight up C, obviously. Could have been Nashville or Kansas City or Salt Lake City, etc. But since they filmed in Atlanta, why not? As for the temporal setting we know that the entire film is set in a two week span in June. Not only do we see Galifianakis’ kids sent off to summer camp in the beginning (implying June), but a big cookout in the middle of the film is called “Junetoberfest.” Oh yeah, and the film opens with a house exploding and Zach Galifianakis telling us that his neighborhood was “the safest place to be until two week earlier.” So clearly June… probably 2015. While an exact date is not provided to us directly, we do catch a glimpse of an alarm clock that appears to say that the date is June 13th (hard to tell since I can’t pause and rewind a film in theaters). Given that the day when we see the clock is probably Saturday, then we have a soft date of June 13th, 2015 that the film centers around. That also sounds like a C. While both settings are pretty mediocre this does further my conviction that you can probably figure out the setting of almost every film. Given how easily I’ve been able to discern location and (almost) exact date for every film we’ve watched I’m convinced that somewhere out there is a “missing” Delaware film that no one knows is actually set in Delaware. Someday I will find it… someday.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Keeping Up With the Joneses?! More like Making Me Weep and Moan(ses)! We went to the theater to see Boo! A Madea Halloween, but instead got served a big helping of overdone spy spoof. Why-o-why-o can’t the UK have Madea saying “hellur” to me big screen style? We may never know. Let’s get into Keeping Up With the Joneses:

  • The Good – The characters were actually shockingly likeable. A total about face from most recent bad comedies. The storyline was surprisingly fresh considering there have been something like four spy spoofs out in the past year or so. Galifianakis has his moments.
  • The Bad – Places said Hamm did okay, but I found him, Gadot, and Fisher all about the same level of blah. The script reeks of punch up and yet still is surprisingly low on laughs. I got three chuckles and one decent laugh, and the decent laugh was because I was watching in a theater in London and they make fun of British people’s teeth at one point. By the way, terribly old school joke which, again, reeked of punch up. The story is extremely straightforward and they still manage to fall into the voiceover-flashback-to-two-weeks-earlier trope which is just so classically bad comedy.
  • The BMT – Nope. This film is destined to be forgotten and will likely garner zero Razzie noms (unless they throw Gadot a nom in combination with Batman v Superman which I could sadly see, I hate combo noms). It is a lot better than its rottentomatoes score suggests (lower than Tammy which is laughable). It is like a ten most likely and I anticipate its rating will increase as people watch on VOD in the coming months and its BMeTric will reflect it by staying steady around 10.

Let’s get a quick Theater Review in because it was kind of boring. Why? Because I think I literally sat in the same theater as I did for The Mechanic: Resurrection. The gigantic Vue in Westfield was swamped with early Thursday showings for Doctor Strange, but there was still a few people in my theater. They blocked off an enormous section of the theater for “VIP” seats (I ain’t paying for that!) which is I guess a trend where they force you to sit literally on the screen or in the back row unless you pay them extra money. Whatever. There were a few talkers early, but they settled down and I thought the response from the audience was appropriately muted with sparse laugher when a particularly decent joke landed. Good showing all around.

Oh oh oh yeah. And a very quick Product Sklog-ment brought to you by McDonald’s. Da-da-da-da-da, we’re lovin’ it! Because this movie had a few impressive ones in there. Every computer was a Dell, but mainly the gigantic Mercedes logos everywhere. And Mercedes already has obnoxiously large logos. This is how movies like this make money, the chase scene was basically an extended commercial for the car brand. I’ll take my leave there.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Mechanic: Resurrection Recap

Jamie

This week we watched Mechanic: Resurrection in theaters for BMT: Live! A tradition whereby the bad movie twins attempt to find movies that have even remotely similar US and UK release dates. I’m going to take it upon myself to put this film into context with the original Mechanic and the 2011 remake. I’ll let Patrick do most (but not all) of the talking about Mechanic: Resurrection. The original film starring Charles Bronson was very similar to Get Carter. He is an old school gangster that gets a little caught up with some personal feelings, which puts him on the wrong side of his boss (in this case he takes a shine to his hitman mentor’s son and decides he wants to train him to be his replacement, which doesn’t make his boss very happy). In the end they decide to take him out and he is killed (but not before killing everyone that got in his way). That’s almost exactly Get Carter, but not quite as good. With the 2011 remake they shifted from a subdued thriller to a straight action. As a result, Statham and Ben Foster had to bumble and stumble their way through every job. They botch everything. Of course this is what happens when you want to make a hitman thriller into a straight action. They have to fuck up every job so that their only escape is through massive stunts and violence. It was shit. It’s actually super surprising that it got >50% on RT. I would have pegged it at high 30’s. Almost every change made from the original was a mistake and there was some rididididiculous writing on display (I could write a whole blog post on the medical jargon employed in the film, for it was absurd). So nowhere to go but up, right? Wrong. I feel like it’s been awhile since I’ve been able to say that a film we’ve watched is truly awful. Mechanic: Resurrection is truly awful. It’s like the makers watched last year’s horrendous Hitman: Agent 47 and looked around and said, “Shit… they’ve cracked the code. Perfection,” and browsed through whatever properties they owned so they could create the exact same film for this year. It was nonsense. The funniest thing about all this: the remake actually got the plot right this time! Instead of just having the hitman screw up in order to create action they had him cajoled into doing sloppy and near-impossible mission in order to save a loved one. That actually makes more sense, and yet it was still a pile of trash.

God damn do I love Settings 101. Once again we got a great settings film in Mechanic: Resurrection. It also was one of the more difficult films to assess of our recent fare. On the face of it Mechanic: Resurrection is a classic B settings film. Everywhere you go you are told explicitly through intertitle where exactly you are in the world. So you are never confused as we jump from Brazil to Thailand to Malaysia to Australia to Bulgaria. But as you can see from that list this is essentially a roadtrip film (what Patrick termed the globetrotter film). Do I consider it set in Australia? Thailand? Bulgaria? If we were making a mapl.de.map is this penalized because it doesn’t spend a lot of time in a singular location? After much gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes we came to the conclusion that this would not be a penalty. Here they are clear enough and the locations used well enough that this earns a solid B+ in Settings 101. It’s all about how clear the location is and how much it factors into the plot. For the record I would push for the film to count towards Bulgaria. I feel like it was the most solid location of the five. Australia has an argument as does Thailand, but that would be my vote (I’m sure you all were wondering).

Patrick

‘Ello everyone? Mechanic: Resurrection? I’m going a little NYPost back splash on you: The Mechanic Should Have Stayed Dead! Buuuuurned. It was BMT Live! So far I would say we’ve been remarkably successful with our in theater choices, did the streak continue? Let me put it this way … I have OPINIONS! Let’s hear them.

  • The Good – Who can’t resist a little Statham charm, and a little gratuitous Jessica Alba butt that makes you feel a bit dirty, you know? Considering the overall quality of the film some of the shots they managed to get are impressive. One more word: globetrotting. C’mon, everyone loves some great views.
  • The Bad – Nearly everything. I’ll speak a bit more on the theater experience below, but this is as close as I’ve ever come to walking out of a film. Five minutes in I thought “seriously … what the fuck is this?”. Usually bad movies are skilled people with good intentions when everything goes wrong. This, somehow, came across as watching people bad at their job do it badly. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt and say the budget just didn’t match the aspirations. Amateurish is the word to describe the film. Expository would describe the script. Literally, there is a whole thirty minutes with pure monologues which sound like this: “Crain and I grew up as child soldiers trained in the East End. I escaped, and he’s never forgiven me for it.” First, seriously, c’mon, my workmates got a kick out of the mere idea of child soldiers trained in the East End, it is ludicrous. Second, how didn’t this come up in the first movie? This mysterious past didn’t come across in the slightest until literally right now. Alba’s backstory was equally ridiculous and is just deadpanned to the camera for a minute straight. Tommy Lee Jones is a gunrunner with a heart of gold! While mind you, still controlling the entirety of the European and South American arms trades, as if only “the little guy” needs guns in those parts of the world. I could go on for days, and I have. I literally whispered to myself “is this the worst movie I’ve ever seen?” Of course it isn’t, it isn’t even the worst movie I’ve seen in theaters, but while watching it it certainly seemed like the nadir of something.
  • The BMT – I would watch this movie a thousand times over. If there is any good in the world this movie will ultimately break 50 on the BMeTric and enter the pantheon. But I fear it will go the way of Hitman: Agent 47, forgotten and forgiven for all the hurt and pain it had caused. For shame.

As promised a little note on the Theater Sklog-sperience: This was my first venture to the Westfield mall in Shepherd’s Bush and the Vue there is fantastic. Great seat, courteous audience, awful awful (awful) movie. As I walked there I reflected on the fact that Hitman films just … kind of suck. You have a superman of a “good” guy, and the only way the kills are action-y in reality is if the person screws them up. The original Mechanic did a good job combatting both of those pitfalls and yet still was kind of boring (it’s like Get Carter, but I liked Get Carter more). The remake has Ben Foster literally screw everything up twice just so we could get some action. Not a good look. Even walking there I knew I wasn’t going to have a great time.

I’ll leave it there because I’ve written a lot. Cheerios,

The Sklogs