REVIEW: Final Destination 5

11 08 2011

In a sense, “Final Destination 5” is one of the most effectual movies of the summer because it delivers exactly what it promises.  The movie is a sadist’s paradise, delivering ludicrously bloody and disgusting deaths in rapid succession.  It’s flagrant disregard for respecting humanity is raging like Charlie Sheen on cocaine, and if you know that and want that going in, chances are you will be very satisfied.  (Another word of advice – if you have even the slightest desire to see this movie, pay to see it with a crowd.)

For those people, the movie’s death sequences coupled with some crafty use of 3D for extra gross-out effect makes for some wicked fun.  Forget the horror, there’s nothing scary about this movie unless you are really that stupid and can’t pick up on the foreshadowing that’s made about subtle as a shotgun.  What I said about the last installment of the series rings even truer now than it did two years ago: “It’s not easy to make death laughable, but [the “Final Destination” series] does it with ease.”

But what everyone really wants to see is a YouTube-style montage of nauseating deaths; technology keeps pushing us more and more towards an instant gratification society, and we really don’t want to trifle with anything unnecessary.  Turns out in “Final Destination 5,” death comes often but never quickly enough for our desire.  We have to watch D-list actors try to act and play characters, which is just painful.  I hope this movie serves as their audition to never act again.  We have to sit through someone trying to weave together the deaths with a plot, a thankless and pointless job if ever there were one.  We also have to watch whoever directed this movie work step-by-step through a “My First Horror Movie” kit.  If only it wasn’t so graphic, this would be a great way to introduce first graders to conventions of storytelling because it’s so basic and watered-down.

Thankfully, what we really want from the movie comes before the end credits in the form of a 3D rendition of all the nasty deaths in the series so far.  But in the hour and a half before that, bring your barf bag if you’re easily nauseated and check your standards and dignity at the door so you can enjoy people dying by Acupuncture and lasik eye surgery with as few inhibitions as possible.  Perhaps by the time we get to “Final Destination 10,” the people involved in the series will find a way to make life’s other inevitability, taxes, equally as entertaining.  C / 

WTLFT: August 2011

7 07 2011

Hard to believe we can see the light at the end of the tunnel that is summer 2011.  So, here’s what to look forward to – or not – in the month of August.

August 5

“The Change-Up” – it’s “Freaky Friday,” but rated R and starring two dudes.  We’ll see how this goes.

Meanwhile, I’m still trying to figure out why on earth James Franco is doing “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”  Between getting two doctorate degrees and just receiving an Oscar nomination, you would think he would have the smarts and the options to avoid making a movie like this for money or for résumé.  Then again, everyone nowadays has to go to drastic measures to pay for higher education in this country.

I feel like I have to embed the trailer for “Bellflower” rather than just link to it, simply because I can tell it isn’t trying to be like some other movie just to sell tickets.

Being a fan of both the novel and the film “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,” I have to see “Magic Trip,” Alex Gibney’s latest documentary which spotlights the book’s author Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters in the 1960s.

August 10/12

Getting a head start on the weekend by opening on Wednesday is “The Help,” which looks to be a late-summer sleeper, hoping to please the oft-neglected female crowd by adapting a best-selling book.  But with this one looking to be less geared towards one gender and even a potential awards play, this could outgross “Green Lantern” or other summer flops.

The premise of “30 Minutes or Less” feels, quite frankly, a little recycled.  But since it boasts the comedic talents of Aziz Ansari (the funniest part of “Parks & Recreation”), Danny McBride (the best part of “Pineapple Express“), and Jesse Eisenberg being reteamed with the director of the hilariously awesome “Zombieland,” it may end up being pretty good.

And because “THE Final Destination” wasn’t final enough, there’s “Final Destination 5,” which is shot in 3D.  Too bad the title “the 3D event of the summer” was already taken – and I don’t think they could stretch it into 5 dimensions quite yet.  There’s also a “Glee” concert movie in 3D in case you haven’t spent enough buying their singles on iTunes.

August 19

Is it just me, or does “Fright Night” = “Disturbia” + zombies?  Also, Anton Yelchin is keeping crazy busy.  He beat unemployment.

As for a last big summer action movie, count me out for “Conan the Barbarian.”  You can even count me out for the inevitable Arnold Schwarzenegger classics marathon that will be running all weekend on Spike.  I think I’ll pass on the latest “Spy Kids” movie as well, which is a TOTAL sell-out of a series that I actually loved when I was 8.  Aroma-scope?  Gross.

August 26

I will see ANY movie with Paul Rudd, so “Our Idiot Brother” is a must-see for me.  It’s only made better by the fact that it played at Sundance to a great deal of acclaim.  Huzzah!

There is no trailer available yet for “Higher Ground” (grr!), but I think this may be my must-see movie of August … because I probably won’t get to see it until December.  Vera Farmiga’s directorial debut, a religious movie, just Vera Farmiga in general – sign me up!

In other indie news, the 2010 TIFF debut “Brighton Rock,” Rowan Joffe’s remake of the old British film, finally sees release in America.  “Chasing Madoff” looks like a sleek documentary, but I’m wondering what will distinguish it from the perfectly good “Frontline” special on PBS that unfurled his whole story.  “Circumstance” brings Iranian youth to the screen, and again I have to wonder what makes this any different than a live action version of “Persepolis” set in the present day.

I wasn’t the biggest “Pan’s Labyrinth” enthusiast, so Guillermo del Toro’s “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” isn’t necessarily high on my list for the weekend.  Nor is “Colombiana,” the Zoe Saldana-starrer which looks like a carbon copy of Luc Besson’s “The Professional.”  Oh, it’s also directed by him … coincidence?  I think NOT!

So, what do you think will please crowds in August?  Are you looking for one last bang from the summer – or for it to just end already?  Sound off in the comments AND take the poll!