[Early Review] Rings (2017)

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Director: F. Javier Gutierrez

Cast: Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Vincent D’Onofrio, Aimee Teegarden, Bonnie Morgan

Screenplay: David Loucka, Jacob Estes, Akiva Goldsman

102 mins. Rated PG-13 for violence/terror, thematic elements, some sexuality and brief drug material.

 

It’s been 12 years since American audiences were given another installment in The Ring franchise. Maybe we should’ve waited longer.

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In Rings, we are treated to several teases before a convoluted plot actually begins. Julia (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Summertime, L’Universale) and Holt (Alex Rose, The 5th Wave, Sniper: Legacy) are high school sweethearts, but when Holt goes away to college and subsequently goes missing, Julia tracks him down to a group who passes around a video tape that promises to its viewers that they will die in seven days upon the initial viewing. The cursed must then make a copy of the tape, or in this case, video file and show it to someone else. When Julia is cursed, she does whatever is possible to end the curse without passing it along to someone new. But can she learn the secret of Samara (Bonnie Morgan, Minority Report, The Last Witch Hunter) before it’s too late?

Rings is the third installment of the American version of this franchise, and the best thing I can say about it is this: it isn’t the worst. At least, I think it’s not the worst. I do not remember much of The Ring Two except being bored the entire time. Rings is less terrible but still pretty bad. It’s leads are absolutely dreadful (think The Bye Bye Man dreadful). Even though they aided by the somewhat-capable Johnny Galecki (TV’s The Big Bang Theory, In Time) and the strangely popular franchise Viagra in Vincent D’Onofrio (TV’s Law and Order: Criminal Intent, The Magnificent Seven), the film flounders in its attempt to reinvigorate an unwanted franchise. Most fans of even the original American classic from Gore Verbinski pine for its Japanese predecessor, and Rings does little to sway any new fans to its cause.

First of all, the film is poorly edited. There is an opening scene. Then, there is another opening scene. Finally, we meet our actual leads in a third opening scene. The film could have these moments appear less monotonous if it only juggled some of this exposition to later in the film.

Then there’s the issue of the mystery, which seems interesting as it starts to unravel before ultimately turning the story into a mixture of clichés from more recent better films and before too long, Rings becomes a standard slasher flick with no substance.

Finally, there’s the pacing. At around 100 minutes, this movie felt like it would never end. I sat there, wishing I could check the time before realizing I would be asked to leave (pre-screenings do not allow phone usage). Then, I almost thought to do it just to get out of the theater, but I stuck it out for you, readers.

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I won’t even get into all the new images in the actual video tape that look like CG from an early 1990s video game version of The Ring because it just hurts. Rings was supposed to jumpstart a dead franchise. Sadly, it just convinced the world to keep it dead. And it didn’t even take seven days (but it sure felt like it).

 

1.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

 

So have you seen Rings? What did you think? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

The Wedding Ringer (2015)

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Director: Jeremy Garelick

Cast: Kevin Hart, Josh Gad, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting

Screenplay: Jeremy Garelick, Jay Lavender

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

 

When a comedy is released in January, it isn’t a great sign. When that comedy is a Kevin Hart (Ride Along, Get Hard) film, it isn’t even a good sign (I do happen to like Mr. Hart, but he picks some real shit to step it). When the film starts with “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas, it is a downright bad sign. Well, here we have it: The Wedding Ringer. Full of bad signs, but is it bad?

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As Doug Harris (Josh Gad, TV’s 1600 Penn, Frozen) gets closer and closer to his upcoming wedding, he comes closer and closer to the painful truth: Doug has no friends. He has no Groomsmen. He has no Best Man. That is, until he hears about Jimmy Callahan (Hart) and his job as a freelance Best Man. Now, Doug has not only hired Jimmy, but wants a full group of Groomsmen. When Jimmy becomes Bic Mitchum, he must pull off the ultimate wedding with the ultimate heist, and convince bride-to-be Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, TV’s The Big Bang Theory, Hop) that it is all for real.

I enjoyed much more of The Wedding Ringer than I thought. I’ve seen a lot of Kevin Hart films and I haven’t seen a lot of good ones. I think he is an absolutely hilarious comedian, but I think he’s a disappointing actor. He just can’t carry an entire film. In The Wedding Ringer, we see him carry a film almost well enough to work. It doesn’t all work. It really doesn’t, but the fact that it is the closest I have seen to a good Kevin Hart film.

The chemistry between Hart and Gad is great here and mostly makes the film, much more so than Cuoco-Sweeting’s completely horrendous performance, especially in her scenes with Gad.

The most fun in this film comes from the cadre of fake Groomsmen. I especially like Jorge Garcia and his subtle (albeit late-to-the-game) Lost reference. I also really loved the idea of the wedding being played like a heist. It isn’t mined very well, but it has enough likability to get you through the film.

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Now, the film itself isn’t very good. It isn’t. It’s just a lot better than this film should’ve been. This time in 2016, the film won’t be a thought in the back of my mind whatsoever, but it was worth a view. Just one.

 

2.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

So what did you think of The Wedding Ringer? Have you seen it? Did you hear wedding bells or are you a runaway bride? Let me know!

 

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