1) The Lazarus Effect
Scientists are experimenting to find how to prolong a person's life when they are gravely ill in order to give life saving treatment. They end up using it to bring back one of their team who stupidly electrocuted herself and a way too powerful evil presence. Going in, I was expecting an actual science fiction movie, but it's really the most generic and shitty possession movie. I usually hate possession movies, but this one proves to be so bland and uninspired that I can't even muster the anything more than disappointment and sadness that I wasted my time. Every scare, every death, and every scene is predictable. The black guy dies first. Jump scare after jump scare that can be seen a mile away. The science is laughably bad. The character who dies literally goes to hell and then the science doesn't even matter. Religion is assumed to be real and all the pseudoscience goes out the window. Unfortunately, the acting is actually pretty good. Olivia Wilde is sweet and earnest as pre-death Zoe and pretty creepy as post-death/possessed Zoe. Donald Glover and Evan Peters are both funny and endearing in their roles. The source material just isn't enjoyable or good. Mark Duplass is painful as Zoe's fiance, but he's the anomaly. I felt sorry for these decent actors trapped by the formulaic writing. Just awful. Don't waste your time.
My rating: 4/10 fishmuffins
2) Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Another disappointing, completely unoriginal movie. These brilliant writers take the premise of Deep Blue Sea (sharks are being experimented on to treat Alzheimer's, get too smart, and then kill humans) and replace shark with ape. Deep Blue Sea is so bad it's good, but Rise of the Planet of the Apes is just bad. All the characters are flat as pancakes and the situations are laughably unrealistic. Scientists just steal super secret serums from labs. The serum becomes airborne later in the movie simply for convenience. The concept that unarmed apes against armed humans even have a ghost of a chance of winning is laughable. I just couldn't believe the leaps in logic and just horrible writing. John Lithgow is the only decent part of the film and I feel so sorry for him. Even the visual effects are a bit off, giving an unnatural tinge to the whole film. The movie relies heavily on them. I would recommend the Charlton Heston film over this sad disappointment of a film. Also, it's only watchable with Rifftrax.
My rating: 4/10 fishmuffins
3) Inside Out
Riley has a wonderful life playing hockey and having fun when her family has to move to San Francisco. Sadness and angst ensue with the emotions in her head being thrown into chaos when two of them get lost within her mind. Pixar makes decent movies, so it's no surprise that Inside Out is enjoyable. The overall concept of a microcosm inside a little girl's mind is cute and well done. Joy is insufferable in the beginning because she is the dominant emotion and is used to bossing everyone else around. When Sadness is set to take over after the move, it's Joy's selfish actions and inability to let Riley feel sadness that get her and Sadness lost. The voice acting is wonderful, particularly by Mindy Kaling as Disgust, Lewis Black as Anger, and Phylis Smith as Sadness. However, the film is pretty sad as a whole. Riley is becoming a more complex person and part of that is breaking down her past self to build a future one. Unfortunately, it includes completely forgetting her delightful childhood friend Bing Bong, who is then never mentioned in the film again. I wish she was reminded of him to keep in alive in her heart, but he was completely ignored after making a brave sacrifice to save Joy and Sadness. Other than that, the movie is pretty good if mostly sad. The best part was seeing the emotions in different characters and creatures. I would put this in the middle of the Pixar pack.
My rating: 7/10 fishmuffins