Review for “A History of Violence”

Review for “A History of Violence”

Cast: Viggo Mortensen as Tom Stall, Maria Bello as Edie Stall, Ed Harris as Fogarty, William Hurt as Richie

Synopsis:  An average guy becomes a hero after he saves his diner from being robbed.

It’s a typical day in Millbrook, Indiana.  Tom is busy running his diner, talking and laughing with his customers and employees.  Then two guys waltz in, and you know they’re bad news.  They don’t wanna just rob the place, oh no.  They want to kill everyone inside.  Rather than become a victim, Tom springs into action.  He quickly and easily kills the intruders, and is named a hero.  But this is just the beginning of a chain of events that will change the Stalls’ lives forever…..

Some people have called “A History of Violence” a bloody and senseless film.  I understand why people would think that.  While it’s certainly bloody and very graphic sometimes–just giving you a warning–it’s far from senseless.  It’s very intense and thought-provoking. It makes you wonder if you really know the person/people you love the most.  It seems that people are always discovering different sides of themselves they never knew existed.  Can you really run from your past, no matter how hard you try?  Do people really change?

I don’t think there was a single bad performance in this film.  Everyone was amazing, even the minor players.  It’s hard to believe that AHOV was Ashton Holmes’ (Jack) first acting job.  “A History of Violence” is based on a graphic novel of the same name.  I’ve never read the novel, but it’s worth checking out.  But Josh Olson has written an excellent script.  The movie was nicely paced at 96 minutes.  Not too long, not too short.  But just right.  David Cronenburg is known for directing some hardcore movies.  I haven’t seen any of his other movies, but I enjoyed this one.  One slight issue was the ending.  I wanted a bit more closure.  And a couple of flashbacks would’ve helped.

All in all, I highly recommend this movie.  It’s both entertaining and intriguing.  However, it’s not for the squeamish.  Graphic violence and sex.  9/10

Review for “Life Happens”

Cast: Krysten Ritter as Kim, Kate Bosworth as Deena, Rachel Bilson as Laura, Geoff Stults as Nick

Synopsis: A hard-partying lady unexpectedly becomes a mom.

After a long night of partying, friends/roommates Kim and Deena each bring home a guy. They fight over the last condom they have in the house. Deena wins, and Kim loses. A year later, Kim is still living with Deena and their unconventional friend Laura. There’s one more roomie in the mix…..Kim’s new son Max.  After Max’s father bolts, Kim is left to raise Max on her own.  She is has help from her friends and grandfather, but mainly raises him on her own.   She deals with the frustration of watching her friends get ahead in life while she’s stuck in the mud…..

“L!fe Happens”  started out really well, but somewhere in the middle it just kinda fell flat.  I don’t know when exactly, but I felt like it could’ve been better.  It was kinda funny, but the jokes were scattered.  The main characters were unlikable, but also relatable in some ways.  Especially Kim. I know exactly how it feels when your friends get ahead in life and you seem stuck.  I know what it’s like to be ambitious and want love. But something was missing.  Maybe I need to watch it again….

Krysten Ritter did a good job playing Kim.  While I wasn’t necessarily fan of hers–Kim–I could relate to her a lot of the time.  She displayed Kim’s emotions really well, and she could be funny.  Kate Bosworth was also decent playing Kim’s best friend Deena.  I wish they used Rachel Bilson more.  She did a great job as the proud, sexy virgin—what an oxymoron.  But she was just sort of….there.  More of a plot device than an actual character, like the baby.

“Life Happens” was a comedy, but I didn’t laugh very much.  It feels more like a drama.  I have mixed feelings about this movie, but maybe you won’t.  It’s on Netflix streaming.  I’d give it a 4.5/10

Review for “Sorority Row”

Review for “Sorority Row”

Cast: Leah Pipes as Jessica, Briana Evigan as Cassidy, Rumer Willis as Ellie, Jamie Chung as Claire, Margo Harshman as Chugs, Audrina Patridge as Megan

Synopsis:  A prank goes horribly wrong, and a girl dies as a result.  Eight months later, a serial killer stalks her sorority sisters.

What do you get when you add “I Know What You Did Last Summer” with a dash of “Mean Girls”?  You get “Sorority Row”, a remake of the 1983 horror movie.  Both versions are about a group of sorority girls who prank someone.  Then the prank goes south and they’re left to pick up the pieces.  I’ve never seen the 1983 version, but I have seen this one.  And here is my take on it……

It’s the start of senior year at the fictional Rosman University.  The sorority girls at Theta Pi are celebrating with their 1st party of the senior year.  Adding icing to the cake, they decide to play a prank on Megan’s cheating boyfriend Garrett.  And everything seems to be going well until Garrett kills her for real.  Then the girls agree not to go to the police, hide Megan’s body and go on with their lives.  But fast forward eight months to graduation day.  Someone doesn’t want their secret to stay hidden…..

“Sorority Row” was fun, but predictable.  I wasn’t really surprised by the turn of events in the movie.  I have to say, though, the kills were quite impressive.  They were gory, but not overly so.  Megan’s death scene was well-acted.  The panic, desperation from Ellie and Cassidy and the other girls as they tried to save her life was very well-done.  Very stylish.

The acting itself was okay.  The best performance for sure belongs to Leah Pipes, who plays the leader and ultra-bitch Jessica.  Usually, you don’t root for the bitch.  But I found myself doing just that in “Sorority Row”.  Yes, Jessica was a social climber, a mean girl and incredibly self-absorbed.  But she was also tough, resilient, smart and take-charge.  And in her own way caring.  Leah Pipes did a great job at bring these qualities to the surface.  She was also the movie’s main source of comic relief.  This wasn’t your stereotypical character.  Briana Evigan was decent as Cassidy.  The others weren’t bad, but they didn’t really stand out as much.

Director Stewart Hendler put together a stylish, shiny package.  Like I said before, the movie was pleasing to the eye.  It’s just that we’ve seen it all before.  I’d give a 5.5/10.