Tag Archives: Dylan Minnette

Goosebumps (2015) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

GOOSEBUMPS

Director: Rob Letterman
Writers: Darren Lemke (screenplay), Scott Alexander (story)
Stars: Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush

Plot:  A teenager teams up with the daughter of young adult horror author R. L. Stine after the writer’s imaginary demons are set free on the town of Madison, Delaware.
Running Time: 1 hour 45 Minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 76%    Audience 62%

Why I Watched It: There was good buzz behind the film and the trailers looked fun, so I was hopeful.

Random Thoughts: This was a bit of a comeback for Jack Black, he got stuck in a rut, playing the same guy making good money but his films under preformed, going to a youth friendly film could be the kiss of death just ask Eddie Murphy.  I thought it was a smart change of pace give him a different character to play. The other thing about this movie that might confuse people R.L. Stine is a hugely successful author but this movie is not based on one of his many books, and here he’s a character in it.

What I liked: This film reminded me a lot of the first Jumanji, which is not a bad thing, the thing that the film nails is tone, it’s not too scary and it’s not to kiddie it hits middle ground pretty well.
The anchor of the film is Jack Black he doesn’t overplay, he’s not over the top and dare I say he’s understated, he doesn’t force it and he does play R.L. Stine different that most of his other film characters.  In a film like this all the characters are there to keep the plot moving cause this film is about all the creatures and monsters.  With that being said this is a very good cast.  There’s no big standout but all help keep the film going.

The best part of the film is the idea, and it’s a different one that R.L Stine has created all these monsters and he keeps them locked up so they won’t do harm.  It’s a clever idea about imagination and also keeping the monster at bay, every horror film has to toe that line, they have to convince you monsters are real but always have a way to defeat them and the key to this story is have it scary but not to make it too dark. I also liked the character played by Odeya Rush, it was different and I didn’t see it coming and I think her character shows that the filmmakers might have made a formula film but it wasn’t weighed down by using all the standard cliches they bought in different takes and breathed fresh air into the story.

What I Didn’t Like: It was too bad that they had to rely on CGI so much, it would have been nice if they honoured the stories by going old school.  Now some worked but some kind of took you out of the film.
Also though the film was a little long as it did drag at the beginning it’s the only part of the story that seemed forced, they pushed the neighbours together to get the plot going now once R.L. Stone is introduced then the film flows better. I mentioned the cast and they’re good but Amy Ryan has nothing to do and Jillian Bell could have been used better.

Final Thoughts: I liked it and it’s one of those films that even though it’s not great you really appreciate the fact that it’s not nearly as bad as it could of been or you feared it was going to be.  It was a nice surprise.

Rating: 7/10

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Don’t Breathe (2016) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

Don't Breathe Review

Director: Fede Alvarez
Writers: Fede Alvarez, Rodo Sayagues
Stars: Stephen Lang, Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette

Plot:  Hoping to walk away with a massive fortune, a trio of thieves break into the house of a blind man who isn’t as helpless as he seems.

Running Time: 88 Minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 88%   Audience 77%

Why I Watched It: Besides it being a horror film this got huge buzz, every year there seems to be a horror film that both critics and fans love and for 2016 this was the film, I actually got this on iTunes cause I really wanted to see it.

Random Thoughts: The term suspension of disbelief or willing suspension of disbelief has been defined as a willingness to suspend one’s critical faculties and believe something surreal; sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment.  I add this definition cause being a horror/genre fan you pretty much have to do this during every film and for me when I’m asked as a viewer to do it too much it takes me out of the movie.  Like I said this film is well liked and I have to say I pretty much hated it and it comes down to this the film asked me to suspend my disbelief more than I was willing to do.  Horror films are funny cause you can pick them to death or you can sit back and just enjoy the ride.

What I liked: The film is shot well and they use the one setting very well, they made the house not only scary but foreign.  The idea of this film is very cool basically taking a Die Hard ripoff idea and turning it around the people breaking in are the ones in danger the one person is the threat.  The film is tense and it does build nicely.

The core of this film is Stephen Lang, a genre pro and a guy who can pull off being a bad guy but he’s the one outnumbered and blind.  He’s good here and he does even have that much dialogue he mostly speaks near the end of the film but he’s a presence and a physical actor.  I also liked Dylan Minnette who I’ve now seen in three different films in the last couple of months, he’s a likeable actor and in this film he’s the only likeable actor. The sound in this film is good and for the most part tech wise this is a solid film, well directed and set up.

What I Didn’t Like: Man I have a ton of problems with this film, so many stupid things so many things that took me out of the film.  None of this film holds up to any logic.  The leads are people who rob houses the only one with a reason for doing this is Jane Levy and it’s because she’s trapped in movie cliched trailer park hell, the one character called Money, don’t even get me started he robs a house they all don’t wear gloves and he pisses on the floor, now they say if we don’t still over $10,000 dollars worth of stuff it’s not a major crime, so does this mean the police don’t even investigate it.Also Minnette’s father works for a home security company but why does he have everyone’s keys.  None of this makes sense.

Here comes my major problems with the story, there’s some spoilers but I’ll try not to be too heavy handed.  So Lang the blind guy they want to rob cause he got money from when his daughter was killed in a hit and run, oh and he’s an army vet, and yes he’s the bad guy.  They go to his home and he has bars and all this stuff up but one window is left, this is the beginning of the lazy writing once they get into the house.  The film turns into one big idiot plot fest.  The break in, he doesn’t hear this he gets up actually walks by one of the them, he doesn’t sense anything but a little later he smells their shoes that they took off so they wouldn’t make noise, he smelled shoes.  This stuff just took me out of the movie and started my head shaking, now the big things I couldn’t get past is later in the film Land becomes this unkillable, all knowing monster, he gets to places way faster than humanly possible he also has a demon dog, now not really but no way in Benji could a real dog do half of this crap, a dog who jumps into a vent and goes after someone, really?

Also they sent up that this man lives in an area all by himself, it’s a ghost town except for him, they make Detroit look like a rotten city from the future, they do this so of course cause they’re lazy.  Now here comes the part where my jaw dropped, I’ll try to trend lightly here but we find out that Lang has a women in the basement, now he’s a blind guy, so he would have to have kidnapped her brought her home then trap her, and yes folks it gets worse cause after something happens he takes the Jane Levy character straps her up and then I kid you not grabs a turkey baster with his man seed and proceeds to tell her he’s going to impregnate her, just wrap your head around this, I mean if this was played like an over the top Roger Corman movie I would have went man that’s just screwed up but this is played straight, wow 87% Rotten Tomatoes.  If it’s possible the big finale is even worse as they get out of the house and did I mention the film starts with this scene of them out of the house, so we know where it’s headed in the opening shot.

Final Thoughts: This was a huge disappointment, I was honestly Gobsmacked at how bad this was, now I get I’m in the minority and usually I’m very forgiving with horror films but maybe the hype made me except more but I found this to be a very dumb and lazy written horror film that was all style over substance.

Rating: 2/10

Open House (2018) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

OPEN HOUSE

Directors: Matt Angel, Suzanne Coote
Writers: Matt Angel, Suzanne Coote
Stars: Dylan Minnette, Piercey Dalton, Patricia Bethune

Plot:  A teenager (Dylan Minnette) and his mother (Piercey Dalton) find themselves besieged by threatening forces when they move into a new house.
Running Time: 94 Minutes
IMDB Score: 3.4

Why I Watched it: The trailer looked decent enough and yes I blame Netflix.

Random Thoughts: First off let’s get to the trailer cause he’s another case of pretty much outright lying in marketing, they make it look like a ghost story and I don’t want to spoil too many things but it’s not a ghost story and in the film they never try to make you think it is.

What I liked: Honestly there’s not much to like, I really disliked this movie but I’ll try to be a little positive in this section. Dylan Minnette is fine and he’s a pretty good actor can see him going into a leading man.  I liked the dynamic of the mother and son trying to deal with the death of the father.  I liked the location, it’s out in the woods and it feels like you’re isolated.

What I didn’t Like: Really Open House, go to IMDB and see how many other films have that title, way to stand out.  This is the type of movie that gets me mad at the small budget genre films, this is not even a complete film you pretty much have 94 minutes of build up and the film has no ending. The film lays ground work at the beginning, the father dies, the family is in debt and you’re thinking alright this will lead to something and it doesn’t all that build up is nothing, it’s red herrings, almost the whole film is red herrings.  The best way to describe this film is to call it all jump and no scares.  The script is terrible, they build suspense with the pilot light going out every time the mother has the shower, now if this was ghosts I might buy it, a little silly but it’s better than someone tormenting them.  Also mid way through the film Minnette’s character says open house as a concept is dumb because people can just come into your house and walk around and who knows what they can do.  Yup he summed up the film.

The film makes no sense and it doesn’t hold up to any logic whatsoever none, the film is beyond lazy, honestly for ¾ of the film it’s boring, cell phones get moved, doors close, a bowl of cereal moves from one room to the next. Now the final act is truly terrible, once we find out whats going on the film goes right into the toilet,  one of my pet peeves if when they make the bad guy or the force unstoppable, this person is huge and now he’s a ninja, there is actually a scene where the bad guy attacks Minnette and actually takes out the kids contacts, I mean he reaches down and just takes out both lenses, it’s not that easy to do and why?  The film gets nasty at the end for no reason none of this is earned and the tone gets completely  screwed up.  To put the cherry on top of the sundae we get no answers, none.  The film leaves you pissed off at the end, there was no point to this film.  Too many times you see filmmakers leave plot points unanswered and we get the argument well the audience can figure it out, we want to leave it the audience but when something makes no sense and you are too lazy to have it make senses and then you leave an audience confused and angry then you didn’t do your job as storytellers.

Final Thoughts: I don’t want to say I hated the film, cause for the most part it’s just boring but the ending yes I hated that, it’s whats wrong with genre films right now not enough effort is being put in to tell a good story.

Rating: ‪2/10‬

Don’t Breathe (2016) Movie Review by John Walsh

Don't Breathe Review

Director: Fede Alvarez
Writers: Fede Alvarez,  Rodo Sayagues
Stars: Stephen Lang,  Jane Levy,  Dylan Minnette

Fede Alvarez has created a simple, nerve shredding, thriller of an experience with the appropriately titled Don’t Breathe. Focusing on the nefarious activities of three young burglars as they attempt to rob a blind, war veteran of a reported hidden fortune he received following the death of his daughter. What should be the easiest robbery there is turns to disaster and things don’t play out as intended.

The film begins promisingly, from an aesthetic point at least, with a stunning, if not slightly unnerving overhead pan down to a man dragging an unconscious woman by the hair up an abandoned street. From a story perspective, however, the opening half hour isn’t quite so promising, as it tries to flesh out the motivations of the three burglars; Rocky (Jane Levy); Alex (Daniel Zovatto); Money (Dylan Minette) and the early foundations of the robbery. Rocky has the biggest motivation to pursue the potentially lucrative robbery, with a young sister to look after and living out a miserable existence with two idiotic parental figures; whilst Alex, the son of a respected police officer, has the least. Meanwhile, Money, the main architect behind the robbing of the blind man, is mouthy, a wannabe gangster, and if truth be told, a bit of a dick.

Thankfully, the pace steps up nicely once the story moves beyond the fairly short character development and brazen stakeout scene. The stakeout whilst offering nothing of any real note to the overall story, does do an effective job of highlighting the sheer isolation the blind man finds himself living in, with the entire neighbourhood appearing abandoned and badly run down. The trio make their move on the house in the dead of night, why they thought this would be necessary when robbing a blind man living in isolation is still something of a mystery, but nonetheless they did and almost immediately they meet the first of many obstacles in the form of the mans menacing Rottweiler that’s lying in wait behind the gate. Money drugs the animal, but their progress is halted shortly afterwards with no obvious way inside. The vast majority of the windows are barred and the doors, including one to the basement, are securely locked. Rocky soon spots a window on the second floor and volunteers to climb through, which she does after some short bickering from an apprehensive Alex.

The whole tone of the film changes the moment she enters the house. Alvarez cranks the tension up instantaneously, with small noises such as glass shards hitting the floor becoming excruciatingly loud. This brooding tension only increases when the blind man (Stephen Lang), who somehow avoided being knocked out by gas released into his room, appears downstairs after the idiotic Money ignores the others pleas and needlessly fired a gun. The next scene plays out as a sort of microcosm of the story in general, when Money completely underestimates the hardened war veteran, fails in a pathetic attempt to intimidate him with the gun and then gets choked out and shot dead for his troubles. A horrified Rocky, standing nearby and at this point still undetected, has to hold in her emotions and makes a retreat to the adjacent closet, whilst Alex, who earlier left in disgust at Money’s attitude, foolishly decides to re-enter the house.

What’s plays out next is a deadly game of cat and mouse between the remaining intruders and the increasingly enraged blind man. There’s so many painfully, claustrophobic moments of silence and tension throughout involving Rocky and Alex narrowly avoiding detection or death whilst sharing tight spaces with their pursuer. There’s also a multitude of different twists and shocks, including a disturbing, gruesome one involving a baster that I’d rather not reveal in too much detail. These are extremely effective in completely changing the dynamic of the story and who you’re rooting for or against. There’s also an abundance of fake-outs, where the two intruders look home and dry, but then get pulled right back into the little house of horrors, sometimes literally, for more terrifying ordeals. And my god that scene with Rocky and the Rottweiler inside the crawl space made my toes curl in a moment of sheer unadulterated panic.

Lang is outstanding in this film and streets ahead of his co-stars as the blind man. Don’t Breathe isn’t particularly dialogue heavy and the little present within isn’t going to win any awards. In complete contrast to Patrick Stewart’s masterful colloquial performance as the villain in the genre sharing Green Room, Lang has to rely solely on his lean, brawny, physical attributes and an extremely unsettling presence to flesh out his menacing villain. And he manages to do this extremely well. The only real standout from the rest of the cast is Jane Levy, who shares the biggest chunk of screen time with Lang and puts in a decent enough performance. I’m going to go ahead and give a shoutout to that Rottweiler too, who genuinely performed better than Dylan Minette’s Money.

I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed Don’t Breathe, but it’s certainly not without its faults. As previously mentioned; the film is slow to start, especially in the first half hour; it’s extremely sparse on meaningful dialogue; the burglars are cartoonishly basic in their motivations, with little to no development as the story progresses and the blind man transforms into an almost supernatural, Michael Myers-esque character as the film enters the final act. The latter was perhaps the most disappointing aspect of an otherwise fun, realistic and highly enjoyable horror.