Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Movie Reviews: Fright Night, Contagion, and Horrible Bosses

I've seen a couple of movies this month, and I came out of each and every one them completely bewildered and satisfied thanks to the entertainment value, direction, and star power each one presented in their own right. I try to keep an open mind whenever I step into any type films, and regardless of what initial reviews featured on print media or the internet have to say, I'll still have to give my own two cents worth on the subject eventually when all is said and done. Right now, I have a couple under my belt that I've been itching to talk about, and while I may keep the reviews as brief and short as possible, I'll try to stick to the point and piece out what makes each one good in their own right.

Special thanks again goes to Warner Bros. Philippines for the screenings this month!

Fright Night

It's hard for me to believe that it's been 26 years since the first Fright Night was released, and now that we've gotten a remake of sorts released for the new generation, does it stack up to the reputation of the 1985 original, or is it another failed reinterpretation of a cult classic?

Well, short answer is, it was actually great for a remake! Starring Anton Yelchin of Star Trek and Terminator: Salvation fame, it modernizes the initial concept of the original Fright Night, where a teenaged boy living in a quiet and simple neighborhood finds out that his next door neighbor is actually a vampire! Yelchin's take on Charley, the main character, shows how today's generation of teenagers greatly differs from the one presented in 1988. He's a closet geek who finally gains respect and the girl of his dreams (Imogen Poots), subsequently alienating himself from his former best friend, Ed (played by KickAss star Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who is investigating the mysterious vampire neighbor after a mutual friend of theirs disappears. Charley is initially skeptical and doesn't believe Ed, but soon after his friend disappears, he does investigating on his own and makes the discovery that his neighbor Jerry (played by Colin Farrell) IS indeed a vampire! Frantic and determined to protect his girlfriend and mother (Toni Collette), Charley embarks on a war to stop Jerry from taking a bite off his loved ones. Unfortunately, Jerry proves to be a resilient and clever, and when all hope seems lost, Charley turns to Las Vegas performer and supposed vampire expert Peter Vincent (David Tennant), who initially doesn't believe the boy at first, but comes to his aid and proves that he is knowledgeable in the field after all.

Initially, I was skeptical of this film being that it's a remake (and most have a reputation of not living up to their predecessors), but I was very surprised and entertained by how it interprets and modernizes the original's plot and adds its own brand of horror, action, and comedy into the mix. Anton Yelchin shows he's got chops for playing the main typical teenage hero role, and Colin Farrell will wooe the ladies and terrify the audience with his perform as Jerry. Supporting role wise, David Tennat surprised us with his take as cynical vampire hunter and performer Peter Vincent. In the original Fright Night, Vincent was an old and disillusioned TV show performer, why in the modern version he's very successful and acts like Jack Sparrow, but hides secrets about himself that end up helping Charley and his cause to destroy Jerry once and for all. Overall, I give this film a big thumbs up, and it'll restore the faith of those looking for real Vampire movies to watch after the pretty and glam interpretation of the lore provided by the Twilight saga.

Rating - 4/5


There's a reason why this movie shouldn't be seen by those easily paranoid or very OC when it comes to sickness or viruses. Contagion is a real look at what can possibly happen if a wild strain of virus is unleashed on an unsuspecting populace, creating panic and loss of social order as a result of the epidemic and people struggling in the midst of it all to contain the situation and find a cure for the disease.

Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Contagion has an all-star assemble of actors that carry the kind of weight and attention a movie like this deserves.  Headlined by the likes of Laurence Fishburne, Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, and Gwyneth Paltrow, there's more than enough baggage here to justify why you should definitely see this movie. Each one of these stars portray specific individuals affected and scrambling to look for a cure to this virus, and each of their story arcs intersect with one another, throwing in realistic and dramatic tension that viewers can very much relate to in everyday life. Basic premise is simple: Gwyneth Paltrow's character gets infected somewhere in China, and once she flies back to the states, she succumbs to the disease and it starts spreading at an alarming and rapid rate. Her fellow co-workers who go home to their respective countries also unknowingly carry the disease, and they in turn infect individuals in their areas as well. The CDC and WHO respond to the threat at hand, and work feverishly to try to study samples in order to find a cure. In the midst of all the chaos, we get a glimpse of certain individuals in the wake of the global crisis, and how each of them try to deal and cope with the situation.

It's a great possibility that once you see Contagion, it will broaden your views with viruses and epidemics. Even if this movie portrays a fictional outbreak strain and its effect on mankind, it explores a scenario that can happen at any given moment, leaving the world vulnerable to panic, apathy, and anarchy. With what the world has learned from real-life epidemics such as SARS and H1N1 virus, Contagion is an example of what may happen if such an attack of unknown origin were to happen again and how the world will react to it once it happens. Definitely a must-see.

Rating - 5/5

Horrible Bosses

Two Words: Awesome and Hilarious!

I normally don't see comedies in the big screen, but Horrible Bosses just proved that there's a good reason to walk into theaters if you need a good and hearty laugh. This movie not only has tons of actors who have proven themselves capable in the genre, it's also got a solid story to boot. Yes, the title may sound like a cliche and disastrous concept, but once you see the trailer AND the stars attached to it, you'll withdraw any premeditated reservations you once had about the film.

Highlighted by the likes of Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, and Colin Farell, Horrible Bosses explores the lives of three best friends, played by actors Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis. Each one of them has a bone to pick their bosses (Bateman/ Spacey, Day/ Aniston, and Sudeikis/ Farrell respectively), and after experiencing a lot of abuse, harassment, and torture under them, they collectively decide to have them killed. They then go to the shadiest part of town, where they meet an ex-con (played by Jamie Foxx) who agrees to teach them how to kill their bosses... For a price of course. What happens afterwards is a series of hilarious and bungling moments that get the trio into more trouble than what was worth getting their bosses killed for! Hilarity ensues!

For those into Black Comedy, I definitely recommend this brainless humor and wacky fun that'll cure any lingering bouts of melancholy or sadness you may possibly have. Director Seth Gordon, who also co-created the comedy TV series "Breaking In", knows how to pull your funny strings, and isn't shy to exploit banter and ridiculousness when the situation calls for it (take Jamie Foxx's character's name, "Motherfucker Jones" for instance. Yes, that's his name, lol). Also, this film's co-produced by Brett Ratner, and if you know his reputation with the Rush Hour films starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, you'll be guaranteed solid comedy fun right here. Next to the comedian trio of actors, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, and Colin Farell adapt well into the environment and play "very interesting" bosses who show that they are full control and have the power to make the lives of their employees miserable. Like I said, it's a formula that successfully combines awesome and hilarious, so you can't go wrong with this in theaters!

Rating - 5/5

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