It's a fairly hot day out today, or maybe it's a rainy and dark depressing type of evening? Or it could just be that you don't know what the hell to do right now besides watch the paint dry! Either way, I think we all like to have a movie to pop in when we reach these kinds of points with ourselves once in awhile. Also this article/video list will probably be the most I have written on here so far, so don't be afraid to cut me some slack! Anyway the following five films I list below are some that I personally consider to be enjoyable to watch on a day such as I described when you don't know what to do, and you just want your mind entertained and energized!
#10. Dracula Untold
Released back in October of 2014 and directed by Gary Shore, the re-imagined origin story of the iconic king of vampires and prince of darkness Dracula is a movie that I consider to be fairly easy to get into no matter what day of the week it is. People were expecting it to have more of a horror vibe (which was a critique against it), but it turned out to be more of a dark fantasy action film that I found to be incredibly enjoyable even if it wasn't what some of us were initially hoping for. Sure some of the action within you can tell was editing to achieve a PG-13 rating as opposed to a bloody rated R, but the action that we do see is none the less entertaining as it is. This movie is NOT without substance however, as the film's star Luke Evans delivers a very solid (and in my opinion underrated) performance as a man turning towards darkness to protect what he holds most dear, to eventually becoming a fairly unique version of the legendary vampire whom we all hold dear. Also with a good performance by Charles Dance, the film's ending was left open for a sequel which I am still hoping to see reach the light of day. Feel free to check out my video review from last year above!
Directed by a guy named named Jordan Barker and released back in October of 2013, this horror thriller made it's debut at the Screamfest Horror Film Festival that year. This film also just so happens to star my personal favorite actress Katharine Isabelle! The story is basic as it revolves around a still somewhat fresh newly wed couple in Sarah (Isabelle) and Cory (Robin Dunne) as they decide to go on vacation with Cory's young son Liam, whom is still in mourning over his biological mother who passed away. Because of this the core of the story is Sarah attempting to bond with and get closer to Liam, even as he continues to push away and shoot down her every effort, but everything seems about as good/normal as can be. However, the horror starts when the family discovers that intruders have been inside their vacation home, and young Liam soon goes missing that same night. It soon becomes a fairly thrilling fight for survival as Sarah and Cory attempt to find Liam and keep him safe, as well as make it out of this themselves. The film doesn't take a lot of concentration or focus, but that's not what they were going for anyway. Instead we get a fun thriller/horror type of film that delivers in what it promises, and we even get to see Katie Isabelle kick some ass! The ending also contains a bit of a shock, along with some of the ambiguity that some of these independent horror films are known for! Overall this film is a pretty good definition of the meaning of the title of this list! Feel free to check out my video review from a couple years ago above!
#8. The Return of Joe Rich
Directed by Sam Auster (someone I've talked to, he's a pretty good guy) and released during the same year as the star's greatest role in Syfy's Being Human (one of my favorite shows of all time by the way), The Return of Joe Rich isn't a movie that you should go into expecting a darkly serious and cold drama. While it is dark and cold, it is not one you should judge so seriously. The film is largely and essentially a dark comedy with some drama, and a little action sprinkled in. It's a mobster movie, but don't expect a Godfather/Scarface classic. The film is over the top and somewhat exaggerated. What the film does do well however is what they were going for, which was to have fun watching a more unseen type of take in this largely explored way of life. It stars Sam Witwer as "Joe Rich". After things don't go so well for him he returns to his hometown hoping to take part in his Uncle's business which he had been previously interested in as a kid. His uncle however doesn't believe Joe is the type of guy to get mixed up in his business, and he's right...for the most part. The film does a decent job of exploring the two's relationship, but easily the highlight of it all would have to be Witwer's performance as Joe. He delivers a funny, charming, and charismatic performance as the zany and somewhat in over his head character and is even able to flex his more serious acting muscles once in awhile. Armand Assante as "Uncle Dom" also does some solid work in this, as the film proves to be worth your attention in a few different ways. The ending also satisfies you and closes the story to the movie fairly well, even reaching a surprisingly serious in tone climax. Check out my review of it from awhile ago if you so wish!
#7. 13 Eerie
Directed by Lowell Dean making his feature film debut and released in April 2013 in the USA, 13 Eerie is a Canadian zombie horror film. Now while I may rank the #8 film "Torment" above this one when it really comes down to it critically, this film is probably an overall better choice if you really want to shut your mind off, and have some bloody fun. It tells the general story of six forensic undergrads completing a university field exam on a deserted island, oblivious that the said island had been previously used for illegal biological experiments on life-term prisoners. Notables among the cast is once again a favorite of mine in Katharine Isabelle as "Megan", Michael Shanks as the professor leading the students, Brendan Fehr as Megan's boyfriend, and Brendan Fletcher as "Josh" (whom has been in a good handful of other films with Isabelle). The result of all this is not a FANTASTIC film, but a film that is a really enjoyable and fairly entertaining zombie flick with a good amount of blood and gore to please our cravings. The main reason I originally checked this one out was because of wanting to see the film's star Katharine Isabelle kill some damn zombies....and we get that! Isabelle always does a very solid if not GREAT job in any role she goes into no matter how basic or how complex. What I'm saying is that I truly believe she is more than capable to carry any movie you put her into. The ending is a bit ambiguous and abrupt and leaves you wanting to see more, but it's still a gory and fun time to be had during it's running time! Once again feel free to check out my video review I did awhile ago above!
Directed by April Mullen (who also has an entertaining yet brief role in the film) and cleverly written by Tim Doiron, 88 is a Canadian thriller film that was released back on January 6th of 2015. It stars Katharine Isabelle (she's once again on this list I know, but she's just that damn good) as "Gwen", and Christopher Lloyd as "Cyrus". The film follows Isabelle's character, a woman whose plans for revenge become derailed when she suffers a fugue state after waking up in a diner, and must piece together her memories regarding how and why her fiancee Aster (played by Kyle Schmid who I liked as "Henry" in Being Human) was shot and killed. While the way the movie runs, the exact details, and the back and forth flashbacks may be a bit confusing for some, the result is a VERY intriguing and fairly well done film with plenty of mystery, thrills, and some Isabelle sub-machine gun action! Isabelle as always delivers, but this performance in particular was one where she had the opportunity to show her wide acting range, and various emotions/expressions. I was happy to see that this was somewhat of a showcase of her talents as an actress. Christopher Lloyd also does a good job, even if we don't see as much of him. The rest of the cast is fun too, and the ending of the film is basically as satisfying as you would want, and is even a bit of a tear jerker. Overall I just think it was really well shot with great performances, a fun and interesting story, and as the list says...something good to pop in on a dull day...even if it does make your brain actually think a bit! Of course check out my old review of it above!
Directed by Brett Simmons and released in June (my birthday month) of 2014, Animal is a "creature feature" type of horror film. The cast includes Nickelodeon alumni Keke Palmer (True Jackson VP), and Elizabeth Gillies (Victorious) within a group of friends that travel to one of their family's vacation spot in the woods by a lake, but they soon find themselves being hunted, picked off, and eaten by a beast within that very forest. What follows is something much better than what I expected. I mean sure the plot is very basic and is something we have seen many times before, but the thing about it is the fact that it succeeds in that very same simplicity. So many horror films nowadays try to replicate the same formula, only to stumble and fail by trying to do what made other films in the genre great either through lack of effort or just lack of talent. Animal on the other hand does very well in the straight forward shot it was going for, and thus makes a positive mark for me. Also to it's credit there are some relatively unexpected deaths contained in the body count, and when the creature attacks it has a pretty intense tone to it. Speaking of the creature in the movie, hats off to the crew that worked on it as they were able to make it look fairly real and much better than a lot of movies nowadays as almost all if not all of it is composed of practical effects. The ending is also kind of surprising and a bit dark, while it leaves room for a sequel even if we never get it. Check out my review above!
#4. Guardians of the Galaxy
Directed by the now well-renowned James Gunn (who seems to be a pretty awesome guy by the way), this surprising blockbuster hit was released in the United States on the first of August last year. The film has a solid cast that includes break out star Chris Pratt as "Star-Lord" (who?), Zoe Saldana as "Gamora", Dave Bautista as "Drax the Destroyer", Vin Diesel voicing "Groot", Bradley Cooper as the voice of "Rocket", along with Lee Pace as "Ronan the Accuser". No one expected this one to be nearly as big as it turned out to be, but it was pretty damn big after all! It had a budget of $195.9 million, with a total of $774.2 million earned at the box office. This put it on the brink of nearly cracking the Top 50 of the highest grossing movies of all time. Obviously a smash hit for Marvel. You may have noticed I did not include The Avengers or Avengers: Age of Ultron on the list. And while I could very well swap out this one and put the original Avengers film in it's place, Guardians definitely beats out Age of Ultron for me and many other fans it would appear. Why is it on the list? It's because it's just a REALLY fun time. For many I could see this being #1, and being one of the ultimate cures to their boredom. Our cast of central heroes prove to have great chemistry together no matter if they are actually getting along or arguing, and the appearance by Thanos in this also helps. Although the main villain Ronan (Pace) leaves something to be desired, the entertainment that can be gotten from the rest of the movie easily overshadows a rather "meh" bad guy. It was also nice to see John C. Reilly in this (I should have put Step Brothers on the list right?). Overall this is one of the best superhero films in years, and it plenty good for a rainy or a blazing day! It may not be my favorite film on this list (in fact some above it I actually prefer), but it's perfect for that wanting to "shut your brain off and enjoy" moment! Check out my video review above if you would like!
#3. Stake Land
This is a 2010 post-apocalyptic vampire horror film directed by Jim Mickle, and written by Nick Damici (the film's star) and Mickle himself. Haven't you heard about people just randomly scrolling through Netflix and finding something special? Maybe on just a regular "Netflix n' Chill" night on the couch they actually come across something good...or great? Stake Land is the PERFECT example of finding a gem on one of those days. I was just going through the horror section on Netflix, and happened to come across this awhile ago. What came out of it was one of my absolute favorite horror films of all time (easily in my top 5). It stars Nick Damici (as I mentioned above) as "Mister", someone Martin (Connor Paolo) runs into after his family is slaughtered by a blood thirsty vampire. Mister turns out to be a pretty seasoned vampire hunter, and soon Martin is taken under his wing as the two attempt to find a safe haven. They soon meet up with characters like "Belle" (played by famous scream queen Danielle Harris), and "Sister" (played by Kelly McGillis), among others. Also brought into the conflict is the group responsible for the collapse of the U.S. government. Each member of the cast I mentioned all deliver VERY strong performances, but the real highlight of this is the world we are seeing through the eyes of the characters. There is a very dark, gritty, intense and impressively realistic tone and atmosphere that goes along with it all. The vampires themselves in the movie are portrayed to be very threatening as they should be, and they also look very creepy too (I describe them as zombified vampires) as all practical effects are used. There are a couple of sad deaths in this movie as the characters continue on their journey, and the ending to it all is a very satisfying one. It is ambiguous, but not in a bad way as the ending is almost poetic. The setting is terrific, and the woods areas used throughout look great and create a solid "walls closing in" atmosphere throughout the entire run time. Overall this is probably the BEST vampire film I have ever seen, and is an excellent choice that really does great at pulling you into this world and away from your boredom. Check out my review from awhile ago above!
Directed by Ruben Fleischer, this 2009 American zombie comedy film is sure to pick up on a slow and dull day! This movie is the ultimate spoof/knock on serious zombie stories, but also becomes an entertaining and unique one at the same time that it is mocking the genre. The cast is spectacular as it includes veteran actor Woody Harrelson as the Twinkie seeking bad ass "Tallahassee", Jesse Eisenberg as the awkward, shy and paranoid nerd who somehow survived "Columbus", Emma Stone as the tough, clever and somewhat manipulative "Wichita/Krista", and finally Abigail Breslin as "Little Rock" (the characters name themselves after where they are from if you couldn't guess). Despite their differences the group travels together searching for Twinkies, and a possible safe haven that Little Rock hopes can be found at Pacific Play Land. The chemistry within the cast is about as excellent as it can be, and the film has plenty of hilarious moments that do a good job at playing on some tropes/cliches that can be found in other more serious films. There are also plenty of references, and there is even a cameo appearance from Bill Murray! The zombies actually do look pretty good in this one too. I remember showing this to my girlfriend and my brother on separate occasions, and them both loving it just as much if not more than I do. I feel a shamed that I haven't done a video review on this one yet, but I have to save some of my favorites for future videos don't I? Anyway, this is a great film to laugh with on a boring day! And hey...when is that sequel coming? It is coming...right? I think we need it.
#1. Without a Paddle
This is a 2004 comedy film directed by Steven Brill, and starring Matthew Lillard (who I consider the main character, but he is not credited as such apparently), Seth Green, and Dax Shepard as three best friends who are reunited after the tragic death of a mutual fourth friend named Billy. In honor of their friends memory, the trio take off on an adventure to find D.B. Cooper's treasure, which Billy had been planning prior. I for one really enjoy outdoor/woods type settings in almost any movie/TV show, and the set for this one looks pretty realistic at most moments. The setting is ready for stupidity and hilarity to ensue, and it does. The group runs into dangerous pot farmers (along with someone else) who are wrapped in a selling scheme, hippie tree huggers, a mother bear with instincts that just won't give up on her cub, among other things. I know this movie has a pretty bad reputation, but I never really understood why. It is certainly a better comedy than other terrible films that have come out over the years, and it is honestly probably my favorite comedy film of all time. It does also hit a nostalgia point for me too, as it was one of the first movies I remember really enjoying. The chemistry between the cast is palpable, the central characters are very likable, the story is entertaining, and there are plenty of memorable scenes and moments. Also this very light in tone movie does have a heart to it, and you believe in the friendship between the three leads. Check out my video review right above!
*So there it is, my very first post that is composed of mostly written words! Let me know your opinion, and what movie really helps YOU to have some fun on an off day!*
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