Michael_Takes

IMDb member since May 2008
    Lifetime Total
    25+
    Poll Taker
    10x
    IMDb Member
    11 years

Reviews

FBI
(2018)

Keeps getting better and better
FBI is another Dick Wolf procedural, only FBI is aimed towards a more millennial audience. More exciting, more action, with more relevant stories with a broader scope (domestic terrorism, drug and human trafficking, bank robbery). Each episode the show improves, and though there may have been a few weaker moments in the first couple of episodes,

A true strength is the cast. Missy Peregrym (whom I've been a fan of since Reaper) is excellent, Sela Ward and Jeremy Sisto are both very good, but the real break-through star is Zeeko Zaki who plays Special Agent Omar Adom 'OA' Zidan, a young Muslim American who served prior to joining the FBI. As the series progresses their characters are fleshed out quite well, and within less than a dozen episodes I found it impossible to not care for the characters.

I am very pleased to find out that the show has been picked up for another season.

Another Life
(2019)

Stop writing reviews without giving a show a chance!
I am a lover of Sci-Fi shows, and while finding a true gem is rare, bad reviews and people giving up based after less than 1 episode is killing these series. Another Life, Pandora, The Rook, The Outpost, Counterpart, Brain Dead - just a few shows that haven't been or weren't given a fair go judging by the comments and vote scores. Sci-Fi fans need to realize that others read the reviews and some might not watch shows based on negative reviews of people who don't even watch a full episode! This in turn could cause shows to be cancelled! So be fair and don't review unless you watch the entire series!

Killer High
(2018)

Fun SyFy Monster movie
Set in a dying town, an old mascot costume from the closed high school possesses a person making his a human-like monster warthog!

A woman desperate to re-live her high school glory days organizes and funds her 10th reunion at the old school. As the attendees arrive and reminisce, the monster warthog starts picking off the former students.

A SyFy Channel horror comedy, Killer High is an original take on the tired slasher sub-genre. The cast perform well for the most part, with Kacey Rohl, Humberly González, Asha Blomfield, and Varun Saranga as standouts. What really hinder this movie is the low budget and low production values and just a lack of effort behind the production.

Lethal Weapon
(2016)

Clayne Crawford is to blame, so DON'T make the show fail!
Clayne Crawford was fired because of his OWN behaviour. It was not the fault of the producers, nor the rest of the cast. Crawford was a terrific Martin Riggs, maybe even better then Mel Gibson was in the 3rd and 4th movie! But what he did cost him his job, like poor behavior would for every adult.

I ask that fans give the show and it's new cast member a chance!! Don't bail on the show because the show was forced to fire Crawford. By bailing on the show, you are making the cast, crew and fans suffer for Crawfords own behaviour.

MacGyver
(2016)

Great fun, terrific cast, exciting every episode
I am really wondering if the reviews that give the show a bad score actually watched the show! I would love for IMDB to have some ruling that to review a TV series you have to have watched at least 5 episodes! Some people seem to be unfairly grading a tv series, solely based on it being a re-make!

MacGyver is a terrific show, lots of fun, excitement, and the characters are perfectly cast. I would love this show to last for another 10 seasons.

The Haunting of Hill House
(2018)

The perfect horror series.
This should now be the gold standard for horror tv series. It is simply perfection.

Why is it perfection? It strikes that perfect balance of horror and heart, the visceral with the psychological. The cast, while not big names (besides Carla Gugino) all inhabit their roles like second skins, so well that this will surely be each of their career performances. Each and every performance is genuine and perfect.

The pacing is very well set out, interspersing the horror scenes with the terrific dramatic performances, so even minutes into the first episode, you already care about the characters. The director hits every note perfectly, every reveal is perfectly set up to make you fall in love with the characters as you watch their lives unfold. The dialogue is genuine, nothing feels forced or fake, and every action and reaction makes sense, which is rare in horror today.

I've been a fan of director Mike Flanagan since 2014's Absentia, and have loved his movies Oculus and Hush, but this is his Tour de Force. It's going to be hard for him to live up to what is a perfect series.

PS- Ignore the bad ratings. Based on those comments I believe they were written by people of low intelligence, people who need things spelt out for them.

The Midnight Man
(2016)

A good throwaway horror movie with some weak plot twists.
This is not a bad movie, regardless what the majority of the reviewers say, however it's not really 'good' either. It's a fun entertaining horror movie, with some serious plot holes. The cast is very good, able to work wonders with what they were given. As the lead Gabrielle Haugh carries the film in only her second role! Lin Shaye is her wonderful self, hamming it up, giving it 110% in every scene, while Robert England surprises with an unusual but well done, understated role. 'The Midnight Man' himself is a genuinely scary character but some back story and lore would have fleshed out the character. There are some genuinely violent and gory scenes, without going overboard into the 'torture-porn' sub-genre. This is an entertaining film with some genuine scares, and some very good performances. It could have become a new franchise, with The Midnight Man having a terrific look, however the story needed some more fleshing out. As such it is a fun, but forgettable watch.

Malevolent
(2018)

One of the best supernatural horror movies of the year.
I have just finished watching this movie via Netflix and I am stunned to see it has such a low rating! This is a genuinely frightening horror movie!

Set in 1986, a brother and sister (Jackson & Angela) led team of 4, scam those believing they are haunted by the supernatural, with fake cleansings, as a way to make a living. The brother and sister use the notoriety of their deceased mother, a medium of some fame, who's gift with speaking to the supernatural led to her gouging out her own eyes, and her suicide.

Angela (played by Florence Pugh) is failing in her studies in Uni, is feeling guilty, and wants to end their scams, while her brother, who owes money to some dangerous people wants to continue their scams. After an unusual event at their last cleansing and some strange dreams where she saw her mother, Angela agrees to another cleansing scam. This one, however, takes place at an old large mansion, where 3 young girls where supposedly murdered by the owners son.

From here there are some very frightening and violent scenes as first Angela, and then Jackson, begin to see the supernatural, as their own inherited gift to communicate awakens. There are some twists that, whilst not really surprising, were still shocking.

The cast is terrific, especially Florence Pugh as Angela and Ben Lloyd-Hughes as Jackson. Pugh is surely to become a star with her performance. As Angela, Pugh gives a terrifically understated, nuanced and realistic portrayal, showing emotion and range beyond her years. Lloyd-Hughes' portrayal as her arrogant, selfish and cynical older brother, is played beautifully opposite to Pugh's Angela, being loud and brash to her quiet and thoughtful, yet so obviously so reliant on his sister.

The film is a genuinely interesting and scary supernatural horror, without resorting to the tropes seen in the big Hollywood blockbuster horror movies like The Conjuring and Annabelle. Malevolent is well paced, tight and atmospheric, and unapologetic for what it lacks (Hollywood names, budget), turning them into strengths.

A certain 10/10. A sequel with the surviving (and not surviving!) characters would be terrific!

Cynthia
(2018)

A return to the 70's and 80's VHS days of fun cheese ball comedy/horror.
Cynthia (2018) is reminiscent to the 1974 movie It's Alive and it's sequels.

The movie begins with a couple, Robin and Michael, trying desperately to have a baby. They are approaching 30 and have been trying for a few years, at great financial and emotional cost. Now using cheaper Asian substitute IVF and fertilisation drugs/injections the couple finally become pregnant.

A small issues leads to Robin needing a minor surgery to remove a cyst or tumour like mass, which leads to the viewer to understand that Robin is having some weird nightmares! To further complicate Robins life, she begins to think that Michael is having an affair, as Michael becomes more and more distant, coming home late.

The birth is a C-section, where a massive cyst is removed after the baby. Immediately we see whatever was within the cyst start to kill. We see through the eye of the creature, as it moves around, following Robin, Michael and their new baby Samantha home. (As the new family leaves the hospital, we here meet Bill Moseley's brilliantly bizarre cameo character, Buttercup, as a homeless transvestite).

The murder of a visitor to the home, leads to Michael confessing that he is gay and is having an affair. After throwing Michael out, Robin falls asleep. Waking to find Samantha missing, Robin follows Samantha's cries into the air conditioning ducting in the walls, where we find out what the cyst really was, a deformed child, Samantha's twin, which Robin accepts lovingly.

Just days prior to the court case to determine custody, Michael returns to their home to find it a pigsty. Dirty nappies on the floor, dishes everywhere, Michael and his partner Randy, an Australian, have come for Samantha's birthday party. We find Robin completely different to her former self. As Michael and Randy take photos to show the judge at the custody hearing they enter a baby's room, however one that is absolutely filthy. As they search the room they come across Robin's baby book, that talks of how Samantha and Cynthia have been progressing as infants. Robin locks them in, where they are attacked by Cynthia.

The ending is a bit disappointing, especially how Sid Haig's character behaves with the kids when alone, but he gets what's coming to him.

Reminiscent to movies like 'It's Alive, CHUD, and Critters', this movie succeeds because of some very bizarre scenes of violence and insanity (such as Robin's dream scenes, and the birthday party and fight in the ball pit), some terrific performances and lines of dialogue delivered perfectly by Randy (James WIlliam O'Halloran), Michael (Kyle Jones), Detective Edwards (Sid Haig), Robin's sister Jane (Rebecca Marshall), and Buttercup (Bill Moseley), and the understated performance of Scout Taylor-Compton and her transformation from devoted spouse and mother to be, to a single mother of 2 who'd do anything to protect her children.

Fans of horror comedies will enjoy this movie, just remember this is not a traditional horror movie, rather a call back to the VHS days of cheap horror movies as silly escapism.

The Legend of Halloween Jack
(2018)

God awful
A terrible beginning. Suspected murderer Jack Cain goes free due to the failure of experienced police officer Frank Hollister to tell the suspect his rights (because he forgot, after/due to the chase down). Something that should be impossible! Anyway, due to this the search of the suspects person, home and vehicle is deemed illegal and the suspect goes free. The court case alone almost had me turning the movie off, it was that poorly written and executed.

Soon some of the family members of the victims, and Hollister, capture, string up, mask (in a strangle Smiley mask), and kill Cain, yet not before the suspect recites some sort of occult-ish curse before being shot to death and buried.

One year later one of the group of men who killed Cain commits suicide out of guilt. The blood of the suicide victim mixes into the earth where Cain was buried, and causes the resurrection of Cain, who begins to hunt those responsible for his murder.

Hollister becomes the last survivor and tells his (oddly American) fellow officer the truth about the murder of Jack Cain. At this time we discover that the officer has since discovered that Cain was not the murderer, that a person who had since been arrested for different murders confessed to the original murders too.

The police officer finds a friend of Jack Cain, who is also into the occult, who discusses Cain's practices of the occult, and his ideas of life after death. Linking to the Roman, druids, and Celts time of 40-400 A.D, Cain's friend discusses the Druid's belief in self sacrifice, suicide to increase his power. The police officer in a moment of panic and disbelief, attempts to arrest but shoots Cain's friend.

At the nearby Halloween party the American police officer arrives to take the other police officers daughter to the station. Cain arrives and starts to kill party goers (who for some reason all freak out and try to run when Cain in his mask arrive (even thought it's a Halloween concert!). Cain kills several people, and soon comes face to face with Frank Hollister, who turns on a gas propane bottle, and blows himself and Cain up.

One year later Hollister's daughter visits the graves of her father and Cain, whose arm (of course) bursts through the dirt and grabs her.

This is the definition of a low budget movie, yet this is in no way a fun cheesy B movie. This could have been better with a few million dollars and a proper script, however this is a bad movie. The dialogue is bland, the kills happen off camera so there is no scare factor, the acting is average, with some being passable (the police officers daughter, American police officer) and others being awful (the rest).

Don't bother.

The Lazarus Effect
(2015)

Excellent! The true Flatliners remake.
This is one of my favourite movies and the cast consists of some of my favourite actors including Mark Duplass (The League), the stunning Olivia Wilde, Donald Glover (Comminity), and Evan Peters (X-Men movies).

The premise isn't really original, and without giving away to many spoilers - A group of scientists are working on the means to prologue the time a person can be brought back after dying or flat-lining, without neurological damage. They succeed, but greater then they expected, with the serum being capable of opening up numerous neural pathways at the same time (rather then 10% at a time). When the procedure is performed on a certain character after a fatal accident, they are not only resurrected, but bring back memories of years in hell. S&^% roles down hill after that. The ending is a little bit of a let down. Personally, the whole idea would be better as a tv series...with a different ending.

SGU Stargate Universe
(2009)

Time for it to return!!
So we all know how it ended. They all had to go into stasis as they traveled out of the galaxy, as there was not enough supplies to last the journey. Only Eli stayed awake to ensure that the ship traveled safely.

So time for the show to return!!! None of the cast are doing particularly well so why not have it return, on one of the many new channels and subscriptions. How do we get this in motion?!

Scream: The TV Series
(2015)

Season 3
Season 3 is said to be a new start, with a new cast and story, however according to IMDb the characters of Emma, Noah and Brooke are returning for the whole 6 episodes of the 3rd season. Ominously, the character of Audrey is only back for the first 4.

I hope the story continues the mystery of Brandon James and follows the characters of Emma, Noah, Brooke and Audrey. This shortened 3rd season is to see if it can get high enough ratings to continue so please everyone watch the 3rd season!!

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
(2006)

Good damn, its brilliant.
Straight of the bat, I'm writing this whilst only halfway through the second episode. I was a huge Perry fan and really disliked Bradley Whitfield and Steven Weber, and only knew Amanda Peet because of her tits on The Whole Nine Yards. But god damn, this show is absolutely brilliant.

Perfect cast. Not one weak note. Peet and Whitfield are now favourite actors of mine, and actually don't hate Steven Weber. Perry and Paulson are terrific separate and perfection together.

Finally, the final song of the episode, BEST THING I'VE EVER SEEN ON A TV SHOW.

Left Behind
(2014)

Religion = Judgemental
If there were a rapture surely more would be taken up. This just shows how judgmental religion and religious people are. People should be able to make mistakes and live morally but not religiously without being judged bad people.

So many mothers shown on the movie having lost their children but surely not all of the mothers were sinful. Teenagers are not old enough and mentally developed to be held so responsible that they are deemed bad. Look at all the police and paramedics who were left behind and continued to do their jobs helping people!

Looks like religion and common sense are very separate things.

The Mirror
(2014)

Why the hate?
I really don't understand the hate for this movie. I just finished watching it and I really enjoyed it. Yes it is a small budget movie, yes it is a handy cam movie but as a horror film it is quite good.

I really enjoyed the characterization and feel the actors did a great job. I feel the start could have been explained better and the ending was a cop-out (seriously the last scene did he really have to look into the mirror to show us? Why not drop the camera) and I would have liked some sort of back story but if you can ignore the films short comings it is a good horror film, especially if you enjoyed Paranormal Activity.

The Strain
(2014)

My new favorite show!!
When I heard that The Strain was going to be a TV show I was so excited. I absolutely did not think it would translate into a movie but as a TV show it could be done right. And then I heard about the cast. I was disappointed about the actors playing Eph and Abraham Setrakian I was crushed. I had Eph played by a guy like Matthew Fox, and Setrakian played by a known actor. I was not happy! And then I saw Kevin Durand was in who I have liked since Dark Angel. Mia Maestro was another actor I was happy with.

So I watched it. I was pleased but.... not overly. But after a couple of episodes.... I WAS HOOKED!! Kevin Durand and David Bradley are awesome!!! Each episode is getting better and better and as I watch episode 8 it is my new favorite show. For those who haven't given it a chance for any particular reason WATCH IT!!!

The Scribbler
(2014)

Intelligence and style
Its not often that an intelligent movie works in such a modern style. Think Franklyn meets The Ward with some of Sucker Punch mixed in and directed by Joss Whedon or Drew Goddard.

So Suki is a 20 something woman who leaves an institution to live in a halfway house with other former patients. Suki had a number of personalities but is now down to a bunch of voices, Suki and The Scribbler. Part of her treatment is to self administer a shock treatment of sorts from a new machine that is designed to remove the last of her personalities. However The Scribbler modifies the machine and now what comes out for Suki is the Scribbler. For others the best and worst versions of themselves.

The entire cast perform incredibly with not a weak link, including some personal favourite Katie Cassidy, Garret Dillahunt, Sasha Grey, Eliza Dushka, and Michael Imperioli.

The only weakness to me is the music. I feel that rather then just a score some actual songs would have been better to actually aid in the conveying of the story.

Aftermath
(2014)

Brilliant
I loved it! This is a great movie!

So the nukes have dropped all over the world. The movie focuses on a group who hide in a basement and try to survive. Until the end there is not much more to it then that.

HOWEVER the acting is terrific. C.J. Thomason is incredible! Edward Furlong and Monica Keena are awesome too (for a change). The story and characterization really draws the viewer in and the direction is so claustrophobic and intense that you cant help but be moved by what happens.

I am a fan of the apocalyptic film so I really enjoyed it. I give it an 8

Decay
(2012)

Good premise, awful execution.
It could have been great. Im sure MANY people are interested in the God particle and the LHC, however the subject matter is nothing more then the means of making a small and VERY cheap 28 Days Later.

The acting is bloody awful. Of the 6 main cast members only 2 seem to be able to show emotion, the rest are practically reading off the page. The setting is obviously not at CERN. I have been to university and work security at a hospital and would bet money that the above ground CERN footage was shot at a university and the underground footage at the basement/ service/ car park/ and any linking tunnels of a hospital.

One good thing though..... if the LHC were to f#$% up it we now know it wont destroy the world with a black hole, just create fast zombies. RELIEF!!!

Mr. Jones
(2013)

Interesting and entertaining but not quiet a great film
I am writing this after watching Mr Jones. I don't write many reviews, only about a dozen in a few years and only when something really interests me. Mr Jones falls into this category.

To begin with I found the introduction a little thin. A guy wants to create a nature documentary so uproots his life and with his girlfriend they go into some rural wilderness. So lets assume that they have the money to do this.... then what? There is no mention of a pending deal with a film distributer, and from what I can tell the 'wilderness' is not really wild; there is hardly anything that warrants a nature doco. And his girlfriend Penny is really going to put of her photography dreams for this!? As I said, thin.

We learn that the Scott is on 'meds' which he decides he doesn't want to take while out there, which causes him to become sullen and lazy, and his documentary falters.... until one day whilst filming some one dressed in what looks like black robes takes his bag and runs off. Does Scott chase him? Sure, but he has to get his girlfriend first! Together they break into the house of this person who after looking at some of his 'art' Penny identifies (without a doubt) that the person is the infamous and illusive Mr Jones, an mysterious artist from the 70's who created dozens of pieces and mails them to different people around the world.

Of course Scott believes her and takes off for NYC to interview a number of people with some knowledge of Mr Jones. Must be great being rich! Of course he leaves Penny there alone. I know I would knowing there is a strange man wondering around who makes strange 'art' and has already stolen from them, and knows they were in his basement.

From here the movie turns. The best way to describe it would be to possess the body of some one having an acid trip. Though experiences and those of others it is expressed that the art are Totems or Talismans and for some reason the characters who are sent the art start experiencing bizarre images and dreams. Wont say more as it would give away to much. The best comparison would be yellowbrickroad.

Premise aside the movie is quiet decent. The character of Penny is much easier to watch and care for then Scott who comes across as a pretentious selfish prat. The tone and atmosphere presented is very successful and I was brought into the movie. The overall direction is convoluted and a straight out film may have worked better then the handycam nonsense that hasn't worked for me since the The Last Exorcist (though Paranormal Activity 5 is a guilty pleasure).

Overall I give this film a 6.

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia
(2013)

Terrific stand alone film
I would like to begin with questioning the 4.8 rating that the film has om IMDb at present. As a fan and viewer of all things horror this movie stands above the norm.

The film for some reason is a sequel to 2009's The Haunting of Connecticut, but has no connection in story and characters, other then being based in the same state. I believe that if they had come up with an original title and cast a known actress in the lead this film would have thrived in the box office.

The four actors cast as the Wyrick family were all excellent. Chad Michael Murray demonstrated why he should be a film lead in the future, acting the credible role of a father and husband while still looking good without the usual posturing and posing that many actors from similar age and TV back grounds have in the past (Van Der Beek, Adam Brody, Shane West). Katee Sackhoff was her usual terrific self, hot and funny and playing a down to earth character, which as much as I like her tough chick roles is one of her strengths. Abigail Spencer was also terrific, as a mother and wife suffering from visions and denying her family gift/ curse. The most exceptional was Emily Alyn Lynn. She looks and plays the character of a girl about 7, but is an incredible actress, never sickeningly cute, never over acting, never annoying, but genuine and likable.

The story is supposedly true (at the end you even see the real life characters!) and is relatively enjoyable. As usual I was wondering why they didn't just move but this was then actually voiced by a character. There is the expected twists, but while expected if was done in a measured way, not ridiculously contrived or unconnected to the story. You kind of expect it but it doesn't disappoint.

The visual style used to present the ghosts is typical but not over done so you get surprised and jump without the visual taking you out of the movie. Director Tom Elkins is not a name I recognized before but will certainly look for in the future.

Ghoul
(2012)

Entertaining - but I wish it had a bigger budget
The Ghoul is a good film that could have been this years Super 8 if it had a bigger budget.

I've read some of the other review and others seem to criticize the cast. I think the cast, especially the kids, did a remarkable job. It was the script that was the problem. The dialogue was stiff and stuttering. On many occasions it brought me out of the movie.

Several of the choices of the director also worked against the quality and success of the film. Showing the ghoul as a silhouette at the beginning was a great way to start, but showing the ghoul clearly within the first 20 minutes ruined any build up or suspense that would have been better served in the climax.

My final complaint is the showing of the child abuse by the mother. In horror films based on novels certain things should be omitted as they change the tone to drastically. It was done in the film adaptation of Stephen Kings IT (Child gang-bang!?).

Anyway, still a good movie.

Beneath the Darkness
(2011)

Psycho meets Mr. Brooks but equals a below average thriller
At the end of the movie it is easy to see this as an attempt to be Psycho meets Mr. Brooks. Dennis Quaid plays against type as Eli a mortician with a secret, and a dark compulsion. He can kill with no remorse and he has the body of his deceased wife in his house. Unfortunely Quaid is one of the weaknesses of the film. He lacks the chilling menace that Costner had in Mr. Brooks and just comes across as a psycho.

The story is lacking in exposition and caused me some annoyance as the movie progressed. Why wait to the end and shoehorn in a ton of explanation in an unnatural fashion, which takes away from the twist at the end. The twist should be the penny that drops to link all the treads together ala The Sixth Sense (the best example of this).

The best part of the film would have to be the young cast. The four friends are great together, very believable as friends. The lead, Travis, is great and reminds me of a young Christopher Gorham (Harpers Island).

The story itself is good and entertaining, unfortunately it is lacking in the execution.

Meteor Storm
(2010)

A pleasant surprise
Before any one watches this movie they have to understand that it is a SyFy production, which means no academy awards, modest budgets, and fictitious science used to explain what is happening.

As a fan of the SyFy movies (mostly as they are the only regular source of science fiction on TV now days)I would have watched it regardless, but this film was a pleasant surprise.

The cast was surprisingly good based on the type of film, all science fiction regulars led by Battlestar alum Michael Trucco, Invasion and Covert Affairs beauty Kari Mitchell, Kyle XYs Kirsten Prout and Smallville and Flash Gordon star Eric Johnson, all of whom are playing to their strengths (eg Johnson as a cocky, arrogant reporter). All performed well, though Trucco was a little stiff.

A typical weakness in SyFy flicks are the CG effects. Fortunately, as the story really only called for meteors falling from the sky the cost would have been limited allowing for some generally decent effects. The first meteor storm was very well done.

Another typical weakness of SyFy films is the script/ dialogue. While there are some cheesy lines 'That might explain the Bay Area's historically bad cell phone service', there are some good lines too, my favourite being when Michelle is being asked to go with the army person who says 'Say yes while I'm still asking, Michelle'.

This is a decent flick for a wet Friday night. Certainly not a blockbuster, and there a holes in the plot and the science of the film, but if you can ignore them and just watch the movie as escapism and entertainment there are certainly worse films you could watch instead.

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