Nerve


Viewed – 21 July 2016  online rental

A high school senior decides to take part in an online game involving a series of dares, run by a group of anonymous ‘watchers’, after feeling pressured to be more bold and extrovert like her best friend.  However once embroiled into the game, it quickly becomes clear there’s more sinister motives at play.

Nerve

I liked the idea of this from the trailer and have found Emma Roberts more than just the niece of Julia Roberts whenever I’ve seen her in stuff.  Here she’s well cast as a likeable but somewhat shy teen who see’s the game as a way of coming out of her shell.  With the concept of the dares always becoming increasingly risky and dangerous It became quite exciting wondering what would happen next.  James Franco’s younger brother I’m guessing Dave Franco is onboard as another player that teams up with Roberts and the two of them become an unlikely pairing as the stakes grow higher and higher.  With a backdrop of a neon soaked New York by night, a pumping EDM soundtrack and plenty of energy I found this entertaining from beginning to end.  It’s also a scarily believable concept that people might get caught up in such risky online games via their phones, what with the allure of money and popularity and leader boards etc.

Sadly, the movie comes undone in it’s closing moments with a conclusion that for me didn’t entirely make sense; with hacking used to gloss over a bit of a plot hole.  Yet up until that point I’d been having a blast.  It has a strong visual identity and bags of energy and at least kept the whole idea grounded in reality when it could have easily gone nuts.  One to check out.

Verdict:  3.5 /5

We’re The Millers


Viewed – 02 April 2014  Blu-ray

I have a funny relationship with comedies (pun not intended).  I’ll admit I may not be the best person to review them, as I tend to take other genres more seriously, but that isn’t to say they don’t have their merits.  This entertaining road-trip of a story has Jason Sudeikis (Horrible Bosses, Hall Pass) as small-time drug dealer David who gets the chance to score big when asked to travel to Mexico and bring back some marijuana for a local big shot.  Being a complete amateur, David hatches the plan to go as a family on holiday in an RV, and ropes in next door neighbour Jennifer Aniston along with the geeky kid from down the hall and the local homeless girl.

WE'RE THE MILLERS

A fun concept helped immeasurably by a snappy script with plenty of great lines (which are mostly all taken by the always decent Sudiekis).  That being said, Aniston carries her own by not just strutting her stuff as a hot stripper (daaaamn girl, where’d you get that body?) but also having some great moments herself (punching Scottie P!!!), aided well by Son Of Rambow’s Will Poulter and hey, isn’t that Julia Roberts’ niece?? However it’s gags don’t quite have the outrageous sucker punch of more juvenile comedies like the aforementioned Hall Pass and even the Harold & Kumar movies (see, my limited viewing history?), and that villain was more of an after-thought I’m guessing.  It also gets rather predictable towards the end.

Still, this had personality to spare and a good enough cast to carry this viewer through to the end with a smile (and those out-takes are great).

Verdict:  3.5 /5

Scream 4


Viewed – 04 October 2011  Blu-ray

It takes a brave man to make a sequel to one of the most satirised franchises in horror movie history, but that is exactly what director Wes Craven has done.  Re-teaming with original writer Kevin Williamson and much of the original cast (Courtney Cox-Arquette, David Arquette), we meet former slasher survivor Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell) who returns to her home town to promote a book about her getting her life back together.  Stopping with her cousin (newcomer Emma Roberts), she stumbles upon a new wave of murders that closely resemble those of her first encounter, as in the first Scream movie, and soon the nightmare is happening all over again.

Wes Craven is not a stupid man.  He knew that making a new Scream after quite a long break, (Scream 3 was back in 2000) was risky, but the script here is loaded with self-referrential quips and nods to Facebook and the online generation that certainly rings true, and the killer knows this too.  This time around, it isn’t about the rules of the horror movie, but more the rules of the horror movie remake, something Hollywood seems to be stuck in and this movie nails perfectly.  The kills themselves, whilst very bloody lack subtlety however but as the movie progresses they get smarter and more unexpected.  There’s also some alarming moments of character stupidity that seem less like clever nods to the genre, but more just lazy writing.  Yet I still didn’t guess the killer.

Perhaps the nods aren’t quite as assured as they once were, but at least the movie is trying, which can’t be said for a lot of horror these days, and looking at the franchise as a whole, it remains the weakest, mostly because it’s so damn familiar.  But this still has it where it counts, and I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.

Verdict:  3 /5