First Trailer for Stephen King Zombie Film Cell Drops the Call

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Okay, folks, now you all know that I love Stephen King. He inspired me to be the artist I wanted to be and he continues to prove that a master storyteller takes no breaks. Though I hadn’t read his novel Cell just yet (going through his work chronologically like a super fan), I was very excited for the upcoming film adaptation from director Tod Williams. The trailer dropped this week.

Can I say something? I’m kind of disappointed. The trailer did nothing for me. The look of the film was very cheap and didn’t push me in a good direction, even with the inclusion of my personal favorites John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson.

The problem with the trailer? It doesn’t do anything to sell itself. You need to say more than Stephen King and show zombies to convince moviegoers, mostly because adaptations of King’s work don’t do so well. And Cell needs to sell itself as “not just another zombie” property. There are far too many of those floating around right now.

I’ll leave the trailer at the bottom here. Give it a watch and let me know if you are interested in Cell. I’ll just sit here hoping the second trailer is better.

 

Cell hits theaters July 8.

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015)

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Director: Steve Pink

Cast: Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Adam Scott, Chevy Chase

Screenplay: Josh Heald

93 mins. Rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout, graphic nudity, drug use and some violence.

 

After being pushed back each year, 2015 finally saw the release of the anticipated sequel Hot Tub Time Machine 2. Was it worth it?

Left to right: Clark Duke is Jacob, Rob Corddry is Lou, and Craig Robinson is Nick in HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2, from Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures. 

After changing the future by fixing the past, Lou (TV’s Children Hospital, Sex Tape), Nick (Craig Robinson, This is the End, Get on Up), and Jacob (Clark Duke, TV’s Greek, A Merry Friggin’ Christmas) have been living the good life. That is, until Lou is attacked at a party and his friends are forced to travel through time to save him. The plot only gets more convoluted as it goes.

Hot Tub Time Machine is one of my all-time favorite comedies. I was absolutely shocked by how enjoyable the film ended up being. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 didn’t give the same reaction. This film took everything great from the first film and inverted it into something upsetting. First of all, the loss of John Cusack, who would’ve cost more money but would’ve been worth it. The way he was written out is all the more upsetting as they just sort of don’t know where he is but there are all clues that point him out as a possible villain. It just doesn’t make sense in the context of the story. John Cusack does return in a two-second cameo in the unrated version but it doesn’t help.

Without Cusack, we end up with a story led by Rob Corddry’s Lou, a wholly unlikable character. The only reason he works in the first film is that Cusack’s Adam is the more likable lead. Even Craig Robinson comes off as a less-likable person, which I thought was impossible.

As far as new characters go, Adam Jr. (Adam Scott, TV’s Parks and Recreation, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) is the underutilized son of John Cusack’s character that we meet in the future. The timeline is confusingly placed here and only furthers the unlikable way we view Adam Sr. The normally comedic Adam Scott in the role is wasted as his character comes off as too stupid to be funny. He doesn’t get the opportunity to flex his acting chops.

It’s hard to blame these actors because of the horribly confusing and ever-increasingly-convoluted screenplay. This is some bad writing put forth into a bad movie. Director Steve Pink (Accepted, About Last Night) seems to have lost what little good ability he had since the original film.

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Hot Tub Time Machine 2 has a few moments that feel like they are about to redeem the film, but each time it happens, the film falls back into the minutiae of regrettable choices that serve to demean the film and leave one with a horrible taste in the mouth. Do with that what you will.

 

2/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

For my review of Steve Pink’s Hot Tub Time Machine, click here.

 

June 2015 Preview

 

Alright, welcome to June 2015, everyone! I hope you enjoyed May, I certainly did. Let’s not waste any time here. Just keep in mind that these Previews are based on my highly intelligent abilities as a predictor of films. Our tastes may differ slightly, but I’m really open to helping you find the best films to see this month, so let’s jump in…

 

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Entourage

Entourage picks up where the eighth season of the hit HBO series left off, following Vincent Chase and his friends, E, Drama, and Turtle, as they continue to take Hollywood by storm. This was a series for a select group of people and those people will enjoy the film. If you haven’t seen Entourage, it isn’t the type of series to alienate viewers, so you may still enjoy yourself, but if you hated the television series, I don’t expect this film to sway you.

 

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Insidious: Chapter 3

Insidious is a franchise very close to me. I happen to find both films to be very enjoyable. The first one had me on the edge of my seat, and the second served to peel back layers of the various entities that exist in the mystical plane called The Further. I hope they find a way to utilize the prequel format to deliver something interesting, but this film is somewhat up in the air.

 

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Love & Mercy

Love & Mercy is based on the true account of Brian Wilson, played in the film by Paul Dano and John Cusack, after his time with the Beach Boys, as Wilson attempts to record Pet Sounds, the “greatest album” of all time. It also chronicles the older Brian Wilson as he loses his grip on reality due to a strange relationship with therapist Dr. Eugene Landy, played by Paul Giamatti. Love & Mercy seems like a solid win, I like the work from both Cusack and Dano, and I think this is a story that hasn’t been tapped. I’m solidly curious about the property.

 

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Spy

I feel pretty good about Spy, but not originally. While I liked director Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids, I felt that The Heat was generally disappointing. Really quite disappointing. Not nearly as bad as Tammy, but Melissa McCarthy is reaching the end of her talent. Spy has the distinction of having a perfectly cast group of supporting actors like Jason Statham and Jude Law. I think the elements of a proper spy film satire are in place here, so I’m leaning in the right direction.

 

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Jurassic World

So here it is, after years of development and several incarnations of a story shuffling around, we arrive at Jurassic World, the fourth film in the Jurassic Park series. This is another example of “up-in-the-air” film, I’m not entirely convinced yet. It seems to have all the right pieces in place, but time has been against it. 22 years after the original film’s events, a new park has opened, but in order to increase attendance, the owners have been experimenting with genetic testing on the dinosaurs.

 

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Inside Out

Inside Out is the newest Pixar film that takes place within the mind of a child named Riley. It tells the story of Riley’s emotions, specifically Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust. Not a ton is known outside of this, but it’s Pixar, so it will make a lot of money. I like the idea of Pixar reaching for an area they haven’t gone, but it sounds an awful lot like the same plot as Toy Story, just saying.

 

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Ted 2

I think it is terrific that Ted 2 isn’t Ted. I mean, it has Ted in it. It contains a lot of the same jokes I am sure, but Ted 2 at least has a different plot. Look back at Hot Tub Time Machine 2 and The Hangover Part II. Same freaking movie but less great. Ted 2 has a chance here. After Ted marries Tami-Lynn, he wants to have a child, but he needs to prove to the courts that he is human. Some solid potential here, even if I will miss Mila Kunis, but it is nice to have performers like Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman gracing this comedy sequel.

 

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Max

Max isn’t Mad Max. Max is a dog. A military dog traumatized by the loss of its handler. I’m not even sure how a movie like this could happen. Seriously. Just don’t.

 

 

Alright, that’s June 2015 for you. See you in July!

 

Best Bets: Entourage, Love & Mercy, Spy, Inside Out, Ted 2

On the Bubble: Insidious: Chapter 3, Jurassic World

Likely Misses: Max

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

Hot Tube Time Machine (2010)

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Director: Steve Pink

Cast: John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Crispin Glover, Lizzy Caplan, Chevy Chase

Screenplay: Josh Heald, Sean Anders, John Morris

101 mins. Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, nudity, drug use and pervasive language.

 

Okay, so John Cusack (Being John Malkovitch, Drive Hard) signed on to this film immediately after hearing the title, but then again, wouldn’t you?

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Hot Tub Time Machine tells the story of three friends who have grown apart. Adam (Cusack) has just become single and alone…again, Nick (Craig Robinson, This is the End, Get on Up) works at his dead-end job and dreams of being a famous musician, and Lou (Rob Corddry, TV’s Childrens Hospital, Muppets Most Wanted) is a drunk loser…still. But after a near-fatal accident, the three friends decide to relive their glory days at Kodiak Valley, they, along with Adam’s nephew Jacob (TV’s Greek, A Merry Friggin’ Christmas), come across a malfunctioning hot tub that sends them back in time to the 1980s where they have the chance to right their wrongs, or mess their entire future up.

First of all, the opening credits. This is how you open a film. It sets the tone with a goofy montage of people partying in hot tubs. Simple, yet perfect. The entire opening sets the stage for this film perfectly. You know exactly what you are getting into.

John Cusack is the perfect guy to carry this film. A staple of 80s pop culture himself, Cusack’s helpless romantic Adam thinks he can fix his broken relationship to his Great White Buffalo (long-lost love), but he can’t see his own strengths.

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Really, this film is nearly flawless as a piece of comedy gold. There are two jokes that fall flat at the beginning, but this film’s references to masterpieces  like Better Off Dead…, Back to the Future, and The Karate Kid come off great and feature a group of actors not fighting for themselves but servicing the group and the film, a hilarious screenplay from Josh Heald, Sean Anders, and John Morris added to the well-stylized direction of Steve Pink (Accepted, About Last Night) are what makes Hot Tub Time Machine near-perfection. If you haven’t seen it, see it. This just might be the Great White Buffalo you’ve been waiting for.

 

5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Happy 5th Birthday!] 2012 (2009)

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Director: Roland Emmerich

Cast: John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover, Woody Harrelson

Screenplay: Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser

158 mins. Rated PG-13 for intense disaster sequences and some language.

 

So 2012 came and went. We survived. This movie is now forfeit. My review of 2012 begins now.

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Our movie starts in 2009 as Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave, Salt) discovers solar flares that somehow mean that the world is going to come to an end (I doubt the 45 minutes of expository science boils down to much). He makes Carl Anheuser (Oliver Platt, X-Men: First Class, Chef) and President Thomas Wilson (Danny Glover, Saw, Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses) aware of the Earth’s impending doom, and a plan is set into motion to do as much as possible to begins saving lives.

Flash forward to 2012. Jackson Curtis (John Cusack, Being John Malkovitch, The Bag Man) is a failing novelist who wishes to spend the weekend with his kids at Yellowstone. There, he comes across Charlie Frost (Woody Harrelson, No Country for Old Men, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1), a crazed conspiracy theorist who knows all about the end of the world. Then, the world starts ending.

2012 is a movie that you can get drunk with some friends and just watch things get destroyed. It is also a horrible movie signifying the death of director Roland Emmerich’s career (he had already decided to make this his last disaster movie, which leads me to the theory that he might’ve just made a list of all the shit he wanted to destroy before he quit it for good).

The effects are a true spectacle here. They are incredible. Although, I still found visual effects that created major plot holes in the sense that it seems that the Earth is hollow. This is a shitty movie. That’s all I can say here.

I like John Cusack and the rest of the cast here. I can at least see that they are having fun, and that’s all this movie really boils down to. There isn’t a lot of merit to be thrown around.

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When it comes down to it, I think 2012’s cult following will pick up soon, and people will enjoy it for what it is: a movie so bad it’s kind of fun. Not good, but fun-ish.

 

2/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

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