Tag Archives: director

Ip Man: The True Master

Ip Man, the trainer of Bruce Lee in Wing Chun martial arts style. One of the true Grandmasters that has left a legacy all martial arts film fans must appreciate. Here comes a film from Wilson Yip, a director who has brought us Donnie Yen in the forms of Dragon Tiger Gate and Flash Point. But this film has a different pace and style. More elegant than other kung fu films, this movie flows in the same Ki as Fearless with Jet Li. I think here’s a point where I’m going to list my favorite martial artists just to get it out there. Let me know what you think of this list:

1. Tony Jaa (that’s a given, he got me into martial arts)

2. Jeeja Yanin (she’s a girl who can Muay Thai kick ass)

That is a killer stare right there.

3. Donnie Yen (straight masterful ever since I saw him in Iron Monkey)

4. Jet Li (straight destructive martial artist who has made it big in American films)

5. Dan Chupong (this dude is not as well known as Tony Jaa, but his films are just as brutal as Jaa)

I want me one of those…

6. Jackie Chan (all his movies are entertaining. Me and my roommate love Rush Hour!)

7. Iko Uwais (up and comer from Thailand. He’s in the most anticipated film for me this year, The Raid: Redemption)

8. Panna Rittikrai (this guy helped teach Tony Jaa all he knows, elderly Asian master)

9. Bruce Lee (he’s gotta be on this list somewhere! He’s ballin’ hard!)

10. Kazu Patrick Tang (this dude rocked shit in Raging Phoenix and Bangkok Knockout! Most handsome Thai man in martial arts)

The single greatest scene in the film.

And there it is. Hate me for listing Bruce Lee so low, but he’s on there. And, after watching this movie, I have gained all the more respect for Ip Man and Bruce Lee and what they do and stand for.

This film is a heartfelt one, and may bring a tear to your eye. During the Sino-Japanese War, Fo Shan is a city of prosperity until the Japanese invade and take over. Ip Man (Donnie Yen) is a respected martial arts master who takes people to school on a daily basis. He and his family lose everything after the invasion and it is up to Ip Man to reclaim his honor and the honor of the Chinese people in this tale of inspiration. I can’t wait to see what they do with the next one.

Shit’s about to pop off.

There were a lot of things about this movie that surprised me. Unlike the traditional shoddy acting from the martial artists in films like this, there’s none of that. Only good acting and prideful performances. Donnie Yen always surprises me as a showman first and, well, a martial arts master also first. He can perform well and with honor and dignity (as he did in this role) and kick the shit out of people. It’s really refreshing to see an aging martial arts actor gracefully enter the older years with poise and the ability to still perform at a younger level with fire and passion.

This movie also pulls back the reins on the stylistic elements of Kung Fu films. You expect the people flying from rooftop to rooftop and kicks that send people flying, but not so much in this film. In this

Breathtaking scenery.

return to reality, Donnie Yen styles down his brutal kicks and flips to hone in on a form that is more elegant, precise, and lethal. I had a jaw dropping moment when Ip Man takes on 10 Japanese martial artists at once and probably kills about half of them with these precise little blows. You have to see it to believe it.

Get on dat destruction.

Other than that, this movie has a moving soundtrack, a strangely dubbed over audio track, and fairly accurate subtitles. It’s inspirational and humbling, informing you on one of the greatest martial artists of all time. It’s one of those films you see that makes you want to know more, and reminds you why you love to watch Kung Fu films. Ip Man all the way! 8.4 out of 10.


The Lost Boys: Classic.

I’m a huge fan of the Coreys and vampire movies. So why wouldn’t I watch The Lost Boys for kicks? This amazingly 80’s film explores every young boys fantasy of being the next Van Helsing, and lookin’ classy with quaffed hair. The featheryness makes me laugh to no end, and there’s even a classic saxophone player with spandex and a mullet. What could be better about the original Lost Boys?

In reference to Peter Pan’s own Lost Boys, this movie highlights a few adorable 80’s

Some 80’s flair.

hearthrobs entering into their later teen years (or around those parts). Throw in a bit of fantasy horror and you got yourself a cult classic. But you wouldn’t expect anything less from Batman Forever and Batman & Robin creator, Joel Schumacher. I’ve seen The Lost Boys: The Tribe, and let me tell you, Joel Schumacher was needed on the set of that one. It didn’t have a tenth of the flair this one did.

Catch me in Speed 2!

Michael (Jason Patric, star of failed sequel, Speed 2: Cruise Control, but still a very hunky 80’s dude) is moving with his single mother Lucy (Dianne Wiest) and younger brother Sam (Corey Haim, classic.) to a fictional town in California based on Santa Cruz, where it was filmed. Moving in with their farty and cantankerous old fool of a grandpa (Barnard Hughes), they find the night life of the boardwalk to be too enticing. There are some other characters who find the boardwalk just as… delicious.

David (Kiefer Sutherland) is the leader of a gang of vampires who patrol the boardwalk, looking for recruits and meals alike. Drawing in Michael with the use of a female counterpart named Star (Jami Gertz), Michael is tricked into drinking vampire blood and participating in their 80’s hoodlum outings. Sam recruits the help of the Frog Brothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison

Classy Edward Hermann.

Newlander) in order to classically fend off and kill a whole den of the bloodsuckers of the night.

This movie is just too classic to even consider talking smack about. It’s a cult classic, it’s renowned for its classic scenes and 80’s cast of the who’s who of actors. It has both the Coreys. What more do you want? All you need is Corey Haim and the Feldog, don’t you?

Can I talk a little more about the Coreys? I think this clip from Robot Chicken can sum up my adoration for the Lost Boys.

You see what I mean? Nothing could be better. Lost Boys Style.

A bit bug-eyed, eh?

This movie sticks to the classic ideas about vampires and all that jazz. Stakes, garlic (not really though), sunlight (but it only bothers them if they’re being transformed), batlike appearance at times, sucking blood, invite into the house, etc. But it’s more about the 80’s. There is a man, Tim Cappello, who plays the saxophone in this movie so provocatively and strangley that it stands out. You know why?

 

 

 

That’s why. Sexy Sax Man Sergio Flores. The best. Tim Cappello in this movie inspired this prank video. Far reaching, right?

What more is there to talk about? The acting is fine, and the cast, well, it’s phenomenal. Dianne Wiest of my favorite Hallmark Channel original, The Tenth Kingdom? She was a frightening Queen Witch in that shizz. The Coreys, enough said (Goonies, Stand By Me, etc. etc.) Jami Gertz from Still Standing the TV show? Keifer Sutherland, the badass of 24 making

Bill the Biker.

Lost Boys Style!

one of his first films other than Stand By Me? That’s a wonderful little beginning right there. Alex Winter, the infamous Bill of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey? He’s even in with The Red Hot Chili Peppers (i.e. directed a music video!). And classic Edward Hermann providing the voice of documentaries and TV specials for years. Standout cast right there.

So just watch this. You know you want to. Anytime you feel down, this movie will pick you right up, just like any good 80’s movie does. No question, 10 out of 10. Gotta love the Feldman’s deep and froggy voice in this one. Superb.

 

 


Child’s Play: The Movie that has Haunted My Dreams

Frightening as always.

Chucky and the Child’s Play series has haunted my dreams ever since I was 8 years old. And, watching this movie again, it still sent chills down my spine. Leave it to movies of years past to make me want to piss myself when newer films today with all their special effects can’t do crap. What a cruel world. For those of you who don’t know, Child’s play is the story of a young boy who just wants a doll for a friend. Lo and behold, his mother comes through and finds him just the doll he wants. And he’ll regret that decision for the next two movies.

So the movie starts out like this. Old Wormtongue AKA Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif) is running from his ultimate

Say hello, Andy.

nemesis cop, Prince Humperdink AKA Detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon). The final face-off takes place in a toy store in some bad part of town and Chucky takes his voodoo training and places his soul in the body of a doll until he can later reclaim his life. And, a few weeks after, we find little Andy (Alex Vincent) watching his favorite cartoon, the Good Guy dolls. Pleading with his mother who busts tooth and nail to scrape through life for her son, Mrs. Barclay (Catherine Hicks) finds one from a sketchy drifter and his cart of goodies.

The events of the movie are amazingly supplemented by a big buildup to the point where you finally see Chucky’s true face. What I found more frightening was Chucky imitating the Good Guy doll he is inhabiting. “Hi I’m Chucky, wanna play?” in that sing-song voice of a demonic child haunts my dreams frequently. His eyes opening and closing reminds me of why I fear the technology known as animatronics. (Forget ever going on the

I can feel the poop in the pants already…

It’s a Small World After All ride ever again.) His blinks and innocent movements feign away from the evil animatronic face that hides beneath the facade. But when Catherine Hicks, mother of 7th Heaven swears her head off, you can bet Brad Dourif won’t let that bitch talk to him that way.

The movie turns into a wild goose chase of little Andy accompanying Chucky around the beaten streets of Chicago in search of a way to return to a human form. When it’s revealed that the worst must be done, it all comes crashing down for Andy. It’s a race against the clock for Mrs Barclay and Detective Norris

Your fate is sealed, in 7th Heaven, Catherine Hicks.

when they learn that Andy wasn’t lying, ever. As the tagline says, “You’ll Wish it was Only Make-Believe”, I’ve wished that for so long.

And not to mention the doll that Chucky is based on. Don Mancini must have drawn on some evil inspiration that graced his mind when he found Robert the Doll. Considered one of the evilest dolls on the face of the North American continent, Robert the Doll haunted Key West painter Robert Eugene Otto for his entire life. Talking to it and finding himself scared to death, Otto never left Robert’s side. Attempting to kill and curse anyone around him and even moving on his own, Robert the Doll to this day, being his old 104 year old self, will change his face to a mortifying, contortion of a grin. I was impressed with Tom Holland, slasher director extraordinaire, use of P.O.V. and a creepy sense of crawling around on the floor. The use of doll doubles mixed with actual animatronics has frightened me and will continue to do so as long as dolls exist in this world.

With this success this cult horror classic has created, there’s no wonder there are another 4 films after this one, and talk of a remake. Brad Dourif does a wonderful job of giving off a gruff thuggish voice and continues to do so. This movie went above and beyond the PG-13 rating and decided some F-bombs would be appropriate to show the extent of Chucky’s evil. This movie may be one of those B-rated horror films, but it broke ground for a kind of horror that freaks a lot of people out, dummies and dolls. If it frightens you, it’s done its job. And Child’s Play sure does that for me. Just for the poop in the pants, 7.4 out of 10.

And here’s the original trailer to set your bones on ice.


Jet Li’s Fearless

In what was meant to be Jet Li’s last Wushu epic, Jet Li busts out all the big guns for this film. Although he has made other films that feature his style of martial arts, it goes without saying that movies like The Warlords, The Forbidden Kingdom, and the Expendables (soon to be followed by a second) aren’t exactly focused around Li’s stunt action coordination or anything of the sort. I would argue that War, the movie with Jason Statham that followed this film, was a bit focused on Li’s destructive power of those around him, although the movie questions his identity. In either case, it wasn’t meant to be Jet Li’s last film, just his last display of his martial art’s competence.

In this film, based loosely on Huo Yuanija’s life as a martial artist, this movie follows Jet Li as Huo and his fights to bring back honor and national pride to a broken country. With the Western imperialism and Japanese pressure, Huo fights those foreign invaders in symbolic battles that show off the strength of pride that the Chinese people hold. If it came down to Jet Li’s acting to represent honor for China in this film, it may not hold as much meaning. I was just a bit thrown off by Jet Li’s acting in this movie. It seemed forced and comical at times, but it didn’t matter when he closed his mouth and pounced on some ass with his destructive moves.

Jet Li at his finest.

The movie starts off at a martial arts display tournament in which Huo must defeat 4 competitors from 4 different countries. Using weapons and hand-to-hand combat, Huo fights back the attackers in order to defend his country. Before the fourth battle commences, a flashback to Huo’s life before takes place. For 2/3’s of the movie. Huo remembers when he was a child, being instructed by his father Huo Endi (Colin Chou) and how honorable he was. His father would take him downtown to the battles that took place in raised rings between fighters in the town. In this particular fight, Huo’s father is defeated and Huo finds his resolve to never be fearful and always to win and gain honor.

You’ve impressed me.

This mentality almost becomes Huo’s downfall when he won’t allow the attacking of one of his disciples to be delegated in a civil, non-violent manner. Quin Lei (Chen Zhihui) the rival martial arts master defies Huo and his newly found hubris and fights to the death versus him. With his ruthless manner, something not encouraged by his father, Huo kills Lei and retreats into the countryside to really reevaluate just what it means to participate in martial arts. (I left something out there, watch to find out.) Learning mercy and the righteous path, Huo finds himself in a position to fight for the honor of China.

This film has a lot of moving parts that really present a historical piece that is actually one of my favorite genres. Huo is a real person, and these events of his life weave a very compelling story. The fact that he fights for the honor of China at the end is a stab at those countries that would dare impose themselves on others, as the fights suggest. The tribute at the end to the dojos that are dedicated to Huo and his principles is a nice ending for the film and the events that

Some of my favorite weapons fighting.

transpire.

The fight scenes in this movie are really what stand out though. The rings that these men fight in are very stylistically stunning. Especially the fight between Huo and the man who beat his father’s son, is ridonkulous. The poles and camera angles that effortlessly flow through the fight scene really caught me by surprise. I always knew that Jet Li was a phenomenal fighter and stunt actor, but this movie really pulled out all the stops. His penchant for stunts and choreography, especially the weapon related fights show a lot of discipline and knowledge that I admire. Not being a martial arts expert myself, I’ve seen enough martial arts and have read up enough about it to know Jet Li has got his shit in order.

This big white dude shows up far too often in martial arts films…

The success this film had and the amount of good reviews it is given are just, but I felt, as some others have, that the film had its down moments that kinda left it at middle of the road. Yes, it didn’t have the acting oomph that would’ve elevated it to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but it was well above some of the straight to DVD martial arts films that’re out there. The story itself is inspiring and films like this are what make me wanna be a director. I’d equate it to a Cinderella Man type of film with the action and drama equalling each other out.

I am now psyched to hear that there are two other versions of the film, two of them depicting a more developed love/rejuvenation plot with Michelle Yeoh and a THAI BOXING SCENE. I wish they had included that in the theatrical version. My favorite form of fighting is Thai Boxing/Muay-Thai fighting. It’s one of the only forms that could take out Jet Li and I guess that’s why they were afraid to include it. I would still love to see a fight between Tony Jaa and Jet Li. Hell, Tony Jaa and anyone. Other than getting a bit of a boner over these martial arts masters, I thought this movie was very positively geared towards the Chinese community that Jet Li and director Ronny Yu were representing. It’s a great

Thank you Jet Li and Ronny Yu, for making a movie China can be proud of.

message to all those action stars from non-Asian countries. Back the hell off, we have pride, and that pride will stomp all over you. That message and this film deserves a 8.1 out of 10.


Troll 2: The Worst Movie Ever Made

This is not a horror movie. This is misleading.

This is not an understatement. Troll 2 is considered one of the worst movies ever made. This is so true that because the movie is so bad, it has created a cult following of fans who watch the movie much the same way Rocky Horror Picture Show is done, minus the nudity and horrifying aspects. (Or whatever goes on there…) There’s no true way to talk about this movie, and I would recommend watching the documentary Best Worst Movie immediately after. It’ll open your eyes to just how unprepared people were for this movie to meet their eyes and ears.

To try to convey how strange this movie is, let’s talk about the fact that the director, an Italian man named Claudio Fragasso, didn’t understand exactly what he was trying to do with this movie. He and his wife, Rosella Drudi, wrote the script for this movie, without understanding much English. This leads to the language barrier and the fact that most of the lines in the film aren’t natural things people would say. For example, “You don’t piss on hospitality!” Or the creepy singing of Row Row Row Your Boat in a car trip on the way to Nilbog. Figure that one out.

With an all Italian crew and actors picked off the street like vagrants, the shopkeep in particular is actually a crazed man. No one had any idea what they were doing, and, in true Mussolini fashion, the Fragasso ordered the actors to do the script as he had written it. This leaves plot holes and some of the strangest scenes I’ve ever witnessed to be shown onscreen. There’s a sex scene with popcorn, a creepy molesting grandpa with the ability to save the family, and one of the strangest 80’s workout dances I’ve ever seen. Also, if you’re dad is a hardass, he’ll cut your boyfriend’s little balls off, and eat them. Some of these lines will stick with me forever. And haunt me.

Ah, the Trolls!…

It’s not to say I don’t see the appeal of a film like this for a cult audience. There are a lot of elements, like The Room, that would contribute to a lot of memorable moments in this film. And there are. What’s funny, coupled with the documentary, is a few of these actors have gone on to try other things, but it hasn’t necessarily worked out for them as they thought it would. Just look at Michael Stephenson, the child star of the film playing Joshua. He’s a cute kid and all, but his career was killed at this point. He did make a great documentary though. I commend him for that and would love to show him my appreciation in a future review on the topic.

But this film goes way out there with a lot of elements. George Hardy plays the typical Nuclear Age father with a bit of a bite to him, and I thought he was one of the more refined actors in the film, with no prior acting experience. His segment of the documentary is great, and well worth the watch. His lines are strange and zany, and left me laughing quite a bit. If only this movie had been registered as a comedy… There’s Margo Prey as the wife and mother, Diana. She’s a wonderfully kind and quiet woman, but she seems to be in some sort of daze in this film. It’s as if she has no idea what’s going on… I felt quite sorry for her and her situation though. She keeps to herself and that should be respected.

Look at that delicious icing pie!

Other than that, there are quite a few memorable lines by the secondary cast of the movie, mainly the boys who follow Holly (Connie McFarland) the daughter of the family. These boys never leave Elliot (Jason Wright) and he never wants to leave them. It leads to their downfall.

And what is that downfall you may ask? It’s that the goblins of this little podunk, country bumpkin town are attempting a house swap, and use the newly found humans as their food. The encourage them to eat this Hook inspired gobbledygook in order to become plants that they can feed on. I was the tiniest bit impressed by some of the makeup effects in the film, and found it to be quite entertaining watching some of the characters turn into plants. (This movie also contains what is considered one of the worst delivered lines in the film of all time. You’ll see.)

There are no words.

This movie, if you have a sense of humor about bad films, will keep you laughing all the way through. There is some ridiculous and absurd crap that gets tossed around like a monkey on speed. You’ll enjoy it thoroughly and maybe it’ll become one of your favorite films to pop in for you and your friends when it comes down to testing that friendship. Who knows? All I know is this movie is worth checking out as the all time worst movie of all time forever and always. Rating it as the worst film, it gets a 10 out of 10. As a normal rating, I’d give it a 1.1 out of 10. Work them Trolls, I mean Goblins (who have nothing to do with this film or its unrelated prequel.)

 

And here’s that scene I was talking about…

 


Hellraiser IV: Bloodline

As you are introduced to a strangely shaped spaceship in the middle of outer space in the year 2127, do not be alarmed. Don’t even let that pesky roman numeral four fool you in the title. This is not Star Wars. This is Hellraiser 4: Bloodline. This movie goes in a significantly different direction than the previous three in a lot of ways. New characters, an origin/background plot, and a director who didn’t even want to be given credit for the movie. You read that right. Kevin Yagher, the director of the film who left before it was finished decided to use the Hollywood pseudonym, Alan Smithee.

Does that suggest that this movie is bad? It may or may not. Although it got mixed reviews, there are some positives. I’m a sucker for an origins episode of a show or movie, and this is one entire, long flashback. And then a flash forward. The reason Mr. Yagher left this movie is because of the conflicts with script/plot and an unnecessary push for Pinhead to appear way before it was ever

The faceoff: Paul vs Pinhead

necessary. I would tend to agree with this approach, because most of the movie fell flat for me. How was this the first movie with a theatrical release?

Let’s get down to the bare bones plot with this one. So in the year 2127, there’s this famously brilliant scientist named Paul Merchant (faint echoes of Paul Muad’ib?) who is holding up on this space station he created. Seeming to be a bad thing, a crackpot squad of mercenaries travel to the station in order to thwart his “dastardly plan”. Merchant (Bruce Ramsay) is easily apprehended, and he tells a squad mate, Rimmer (Christine Harnos) his entire lineage sob story.

Rimmer gets told a sob story...

This is the point in the movie where things get interesting. Philip L’Merchant (still Bruce Ramsay) is a French toymaker, credited with creating the first box, the Lament Configuration. In creating it for a French nobleman obsessed with dark magic, Duc de L’Isle (Mickey Cottrell) unleashes Hell. Literally. In the form of a demon named Angelique (Valentina Vargas), it is up to the cursed Merchant line in order to create the Elysium Configuration in order to stop Pinhead and the other demons from wreaking havoc.

And, in this way, we are given three sections of the lineage of the Merchants. There’s its origins with L’Merchant, there’s the modern day, 1980’s John

This is the...dumbest of the Cenobite creations.

Merchant, and the futuristic, about to end all this B.S. Paul Merchant. At the same time that having all the Merchants being played by one man was a strange thing, it also strangely works. Bruce Ramsay isn’t the best by any means, but, for this movie, he gets the job done. He does vary his acting personalities and gets across that he is playing three different men throughout the years. I wanna point a little interesting fact out right here. Adam Scott, co-star in such acclaimed movies as Knocked Up, Step Brothers, and Piranha 3-D, makes an appearance as Jacques, the man who betrays his master like a coward. Of course you bring Doug Bradley back as Pinhead because, come on, it wouldn’t be a Hellraiser movie otherwise.

That crazy old Duc...

With less grit and graphic imagery than originally intended, this movie sits solidly among the others, but more as a distant cousin than anything else. This movie suggests a fixed point ending to Pinhead and the Cenobites, unlike any other movie. These undead, Hellish beings should never be killed, and it should be up to the perpetuation of this fantastic series to do so. There has been a new one released recently, Hellraiser: Revelations in 2011, which shows the series isn’t gonna quit yet. And I’m all cool with that. So look forward to a review of Hellraiser 5 in the near future, I’m really looking forward to it myself. An okay 4.2 out of 10.


Super 8: Goonies Meets Close Encounters

Strangely enough about the “golden child” (I’m sarcastically giving him this name.) J.J. Abrams, I’ve only seen two of his films. (Star Trek and now Super 8) And I’ve seen absolutely none of his produced work. I’m a big opponent of Lost. Any show that ends with a dream-like plot in which all the characters are dead… Wow. Nice little steal from The Sixth Sense, you jerk. But I laughed because people were let down. Back to J.J. Star Trek was great, and Abrams only other sci-fi genre film. It was full of action and great dialogue, and, coming from someone who has never watched Star Trek (movies or otherwise) it was a worthwhile watch. True fans didn’t like it, did they? Oh well…

I’m just gonna say, examining J.J. Abrams sci-fi films, I am impressed. Especially with Super 8. This film had a great children’s main cast. Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) was a fantastic find for this film. Getting into acting through his struggling acting brother, it must suck to be his brother and lacking the opportunity Joel was given. Elle Fanning delivered as the spunky tomboy, Alice Dainard. Gaining a bit of a better reputation than her sister, Dakota, I hope that she goes far with this film. Other notables are Riley Griffiths as that fat boy director, Charles Kaznyk. If only he had stopped using the phrase “mint”, I would’ve liked him better. Ryan Lee was a great element of comic relief as Cary, the pyrotechnics expert. And, surprisingly, the most experienced out of the bunch was the least important of the characters, Zach Mills as Preston. His whiney pansy character fell into the background when the heat turned on.

And what was great about these children was the chemistry between them. Just like in The Goonies, these kids really felt like they were friends before they

A rag tag bunch of kids witness a violent track crash.

started filming. And the back and forth banter between these kids was something to behold. Some good solid character casting. This might be due more to the executive producing of Steven Spielburg, but who really knows? Also, what’s great about this film is that in takes place in Ohio. It needs to be said, being an Ohioan myself, that if you don’t know where to set a story or movie, set it in Ohio. To filmmakers, it appears to be someplace nondescript that anything can take place in. Word.

My big find for this film? Good old Simon from 7th Heaven, David Gallagher. Since then, he’s been doing a bit of work (most notably for me, Riku’s voice actor for the outrageously amazing Kingdom Hearts series) and he was in this movie. Didn’t seem him at first? Look again. David plays Donny, the burnt out, long haired druggie who helps out in the clinch for the rag tag bunch of hoodlums. And I spotted him 6 years later in this film. I’ll put that in the win column for myself.

A love interest. With a zombie film.

Should I talk about the plot of this film? Sure. In this movie, Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) is the son of a policeman (Kyle Chandler. See? I told you I’d mention him again after that Premonition mention.) and something tragic just recently happened. In a terrible accident at her mother’s factory job, Joe finds himself in a spiral of depression and separation from his father after what happened. Blaming it on a drunken man and his daughter (Elle Fanning), a love between Joe and Alice becomes a Romeo and Juliet situation. Meanwhile, helping Charlie with his zombie film, the friends get together to film a scene one night at a train stop. In a flash, a truck mounts the tracks and head on collides with the train, sending everything into chaos. In the confusion, a specter of an alien is released, causing havoc on the small town outside of Cincinnati. With the help of some locals, this group of filmmakers must find some way to figure out what’s going on and stop the devastation as a strange group of covert army men roll in hard.

For some reason, I wish I had seen this movie in theaters. Watching in on a smaller screen makes me wish I had seen the special effects on a bigger screen. Heck, I was even impressed with the amateur film the group of kids was making. With some big, booming speakers and some darkness to watch it in, my movie watching experience would have multiplied dramatically. But I made do with what I had. I enjoyed the story and characters immensely, but found the sci-fi aspect of the story to lack a bit of originality. The alien was hard to discern and its purpose and history left something to be desired. For me, it was about the kids. With all this in mind, I would give this movie an 8.5 out of 10.

Kyle Chandler does kick some ass in this film.