In general, I like Amy Schumer's movies. As a person, I do not like her and she's not a great actress, but the type of movies she makes, I like. The problem here is that I don't think the movie understands its message. I Feel Pretty is essentially Shallow Hal, but if Gwyneth Paltrow started to see herself as beautiful instead of Jack Black. The issue is that we never see what Schumer sees. We see her feel her thighs and marvel at how toned they are and smack her stomach and talk about her rock hard abs. Cool, but that goes so much beyond the scope of what should be happening. In Shallow Hal, Paltrow is breaking chairs because she is still morbidly obese in real life. Schumer hits her head and now sees herself as beautiful, but somehow when she touches herself it doesn't register correctly. That's a pretty solid theme for the whole movie. The constantly confuse their body-positivity and self-esteem messages. The idea is supposed to be that the confidence Schumer gets from thinking she's hot is what gets her ahead, but they make her too unlikable. In the beginning she whines about how unfair it is that she's fat and ugly, then she thinks she's hot now and becomes an insufferable brat, then she decides that it's okay to be an average person. The whole movie is a giant cliche and honestly you already know beat for beat what happens. Their ham-fisted misfired message takes over the entire movie at the expense of the humor. None of Schumer's lines were funny and the only real laughs were for uncomfortable sequences and not real humor. The only character I found to be actually funny was the love interest, who it should be noted is easily the best actor in the film. Rory Scovel plays the only real character. Schumer doesn't understand her character and she isn't a great actress, so she's a dark spot, but Michelle Williams is pretty awful too. If you were hoping for a comedy, I Feel Pretty has nothing to offer. If all you want is to be told that you are perfect no matter what you look like for almost two hours, go visit you grandma; at least she has cookies. The technical elements aren't bad. but there is some pretty terrible lighting and the sound gets too quite. I Feel Pretty has no real audience. I assume most people are hoping for a movie like Trainwreck, not movie that is a train wreck.
Spider-Man: Far from Perfect is one step forward and threes steps back. Jake Gyllenhaal is easily the highlight of the entire movie. The story is very messy, but Gyllenhaal elevates the film a lot. Tom Holland does the best he can, but they don't give him much opportunity to be Spider-Man. He doesn't get any snappy one-liners and his plot-line with MJ takes up way too much time and is cliche and awful. Samuel L. Jackson is terrible, but he always is, so it's expected at this point. The effects are a mixed bag. Far from Home is the 23rd film in the MCU, so there is no excuse for bad CGI. Most of it is pretty good, but there are a few scenes that looked really bad. The plot for this one is okay, but they give too much time to stupid side plots and they make some really bad decisions with plot directions. There are far too many really interesting concepts that they undo. The movie is bloated with too many characters, most of which could easily be eliminated, and the entire idea of this film being "abroad" is largely irrelevant. They made a big deal in the promotion of this film about it being filmed on-site all across Europe and in the end it doesn't really matter. We see very little of what makes each location unique and historic and there isn't a compelling reason for the movie to even be there. I like Gyllenhaal's portrayal of Mysterio (minus some very spoilery stuff), but the ending is very lame. Really, most of the action scenes are anti-climactic, which is a mood-killer for a Marvel movie. We're supposed to leave an MCU movie with vivid memories of big action scenes, but it's been about fifteen minutes since the film ended and I'm already having trouble recalling anything from them. With just these issue's, we could still have a passable Marvel movie that falls in the bottom half , but the biggest flaw knocks it down to the bottom quarter. MJ is a terrible character, Zendaya is an awful actress, and her entire role in the MCU Spider-Man films is a sad place-holder for a real MJ, Mary Jane Watson. They call her MJ and she's Spider-Man's lover interest (although I have no idea what he sees in her), but "Oh, she's not Mary Jane. We named her Michelle Jones so that you can't complain about her not being a good Mary Jane. The initials are just a silly coincidence; isn't that weird?" No, you are clearly reinventing MJ and your version is the worst. She adds nothing to the story and there is zero chemistry between Holland and Zendaya. Every scene she is in just gets all of the energy sucked out of it. None of her lines are funny and none of her scenes are remotely convincing. I understand that the MCU is separate from the comics and they are free to do what they want, but what they want sucks. In general, even the things that I did like in the first half of the film gets totally ruined by the ending. The first post-credit scene is interesting, but I have big concerns about its impact in the future and the second scene takes what should have been the best part of the entire MCU and makes it a stupid joke (that makes zero sense after you've seen the movie). Spider-Man: Far from Home is the most disappointing Marvel movie yet.
Twisted Pair is peak Neil Breen, in the best and worst ways. Obviously, the acting is awful, the effects are terrible, and the story is absolute nonsense, but Twisted Pair just has too many Breen monologues. The first fifteen or so minutes is just Breen talking over generic stock footage of scientists and technicians poking CGI computer menus and it's so boring. None if it makes any sense and I think Breen just googled "Technology words" and tried to form sentences because he clearly doesn't understand what AI or any of the things he's talking about means. Fateful findings didn't have a main plot, but at least I understood the story Breen was trying to tell. Twisted Pair is three or four separate plot lines its trying to juggle only to end after kind of addressing one. There are far too many plot threads that have zero resolution. I don't want to spoil any of the absolutely ridiculous mess that is Twisted Pair, but just to give the uninitiated a vague idea of what this movie is, I have to paint you a picture. One of the first scenes is entirely Breen in front of a green screen. What we see is clearly paused stock footage of three soldiers in a ruined building. In comes crouching Breen (again, clearly green screen) walking past them with ADR (his mouth never moves and the sound quality makes it clear that it's being added in post) telling them to follow him because he can not be hurt and he will protect them at which point the stock footage plays and the soldiers walk towards the camera. The sequence ends a few minutes later with Breen leaping (a terrible CGI animation that he reuses for jumping up and jumping down) from the building as it gets explosion animations pasted on top. I'm not sure if the soldiers get out, but that's clearly not the purpose of this scene, so Breen doesn't care. Every couple of minutes everyone watching with me is asking questions because there are jut so many terrible things in Twisted Pair. Between the awful CGI, the tons of stock footage,, 90% of the film being filmed on a college campus (meaning every laboratory and head quarters is a classroom and the dirty alley is just a homeless man and his rubber rats sitting against a railing on the campus sidewalk), the terrible props (including a fake mustache where we can literally see the tape holding it on), and unaddressed plot lines. Breen makes the perfect "good bad" movies and Twisted Pair is no exception. The only thing holding Twisted Pair back from being a perfect terrible movie are the constant dull monologues where Breen says nothing of importance and just drones for no reason. I don't need to hear Breen blurt out "Technological warfare. Technological DNA. Cybernetic terrorism." over and over. If he spent that time addressing a few of the many, many questions we are left with, Twisted Pair could be perfect. It's hard to not talk about my various issues with the plot, but half of the fun of a Breen film is experiencing the insanity for yourself, so I won't. How do you even rate/review a film like this? Obviously it's terrible, but it's terrible in all the best ways. Hell, just being able to watch the movie is a trip. Breen owns the copyright for all his movies and refuses to put them on streaming services or sell them through third parties. You have to order Twisted Pair through http://www.twisted-pair-film.com/ and Breen will burn you a copy and send it in a generic jewel CD case. Breen's first two films are totally unavailable because "Neil Breen, the sole legal owner to all rights to the film has taken it off the market. It’s not for sale anywhere." Breen films are a totally unique experience that I recommend to everyone. Between the two films I've seen, I prefer Fateful Findings, but Twisted Pair is still great.
What Lies Beneath is a compelling thriller that really needs some trimming to fix its biggest issue, the terrible pacing. I'm all about "slow burn" movies, but What Lies Beneath is a slow burn followed by a big spike, followed by more slow burn followed by a big spike, ending with more slow burn ending in thirty minutes of madness. That first spike in the drama feels great; you've waited half an hour for the thriller elements to kick in and you get a reward. But... then we mill about and the movie lulls for half an hour, and rinse and repeat. Everything I want to talk about falls into mild spoiler territory and the entirety of the enjoyment I got out of the film was watching it unfold, so I won't ruin the story, but it went in some unexpected directions, some great and some that really only took up extra time. What Lies Beneath is over two hours and I can't help but feel that the biggest fault here is that it was written by Clark Gregg (Agent Phil Coulson in the Marvel Extended Universe), who doesn't quite seem to understand how movies should work. He also wrote an adaptation of the book Choke, which had none of the charm of the novel and totally misunderstood the message an then most recently wrote Trust Me in 2013, which he also directed and stared in as the lea and no one has ever heard of. Robert Zemeckis gets some really fun shots and he does a good job with the screenplay he's given, but you can only elevate it so far. Pfeiffer is fine and Ford is three Ambien deep as he trudges along giving it his best C+ effort. If the screenplay was given to a team of real writers for retooling, What Lies Beneath has some serious potential, but what we got is a decent thriller.
The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Electric Boogaloo is a much, much worse story with much, much worse effects. I love Chad Michael Murray and he does fine and the girl, Emily Alyn Lind, does a good job for a child actor. Thus ends the positives. The two sisters are wholly unlikable and the actresses are awful. The plot has a few interesting kernels, but it doesn't do anything with them. I did not care for the first Haunting in Connecticut, but that was mainly because it just did not work as a horror movie; The Haunting (not) in Connecticut 2 doesn't work at all. It's boring and it's not interesting or scary. This movie isn't worth 100 minutes of your life.
The Haunting of Hill House is hard for me to rate. On one hand, we have really great performances from almost the entire cast; even the kids did very well and I was never reminded that these are all actors ad none of this is real. The sets were really good too, whether it was the funeral home, the rehab center, or the titular Hill House, everything has well designed and as realistically creepy and unsettling. On the other hand I essentially finished only because of the whole sunk cost fallacy and the blind hope that maybe they can right the ship. Every paranormal movie essentially gets to create its own rules for how ghosts and such work, so I can't really complain about the realism of how they chose to write their rules. I will say, however, that their rule book is bullshit and the stupidest fucking mess I've ever read. I won't spoil anything, because the incredibly slow and arduous unrevealing of the mystery is really the only the story has going for it, but I found it to be purposefully obtuse and cheap. They are trying so hard to create a mind-fuck story with the constant flashbacks and (maybe) dream sequences and we never really know if people are really seeing things, if it's just stories they are replaying in their head, if it's hallucinations or if it is just that the writers are trying to give us a visual while someone is being told a story. 85% of the story is just a family drama. It's a compelling drama and the characters are great, but we were pitched and promised a horror and we barely get that. the other 15% is easily the worst part. They do a fair job creating a sense of unease, but literally every unveiling garnered a response of "Really? Fucking really? That's their explanation?" One of the last one makes sense, but one particular one really made me physically angry; it's just so nonsensical, stupid, and unrealistic even for a movie about ghosts. This did not need to be a 10+ hour series and they certainly didn't deliver on the impression of horror. If we cut out all the bullshit, we could have a solid four episode mini-series about a family dealing with loss. I really wanted to love Hill House and they have all of the pieces to make a great show, but they fucked it all up. The cast was outstanding and aside from child actor with a very minor role, everyone gave Oscar worthy performances. The ghosts and ghouls or whatever they actually were looked pretty bad, but the Hill House set looked great. If they gave the pieces to a different writer and director, Hill House could be a classic, but I hate what Mike Flanagan did with them.