Tag Archives: Jennifer Jason Leigh

Amityville: The Awakening (2017) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

Amityville: The Awakening Review

Director: Franck Khalfoun
Writer: Franck Khalfoun
Stars: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bella Thorne, Mckenna Grace

Plot:  A desperate single mother moves with her three children into the notorious, supposedly haunted, real-life Amityville house to try and use its dark powers to cure her comatose son. Things go horribly wrong.
Running Time: 85 Minutes
IMDB Score: 4.9

Why I Watched It: It’s a Horror film, I’m a huge Jennifer Jason Leigh fan and it was on for $1.99 on itunes, a prefect storm.

Random Thoughts: This was yet another film that was sitting on the shelf for a while, the release date kept changing and then it got pretty much dumped. Not really sure we need to go back to the Amityville franchise cause really it’s had sequels, a prequel, a remake and now I guess it’s another sequel.  Someone had the bright idea to do a meta sequel where not only the true life backstory but also the movies are known.  Just let that sink in.

What I Liked: Alright this part is tough cause I really disliked this film, on almost every level but I ‘ll reach and try to say something kind of almost nice.

I think Jennifer Jason Leigh is a great actress and has really gone under the radar, she’s done some great work but now she is a certain age and now she’s doing genre and mother roles and to be fair she deserves better she really does try here.  I think ‪Bella Thorne‬ is a decent actress this is the third genre film I’ve seen her in and it’s too bad that all the focus is in her looks and her life not in front of a camera.  Thorne tries here and she does a decent job with  a bad script.  She’s pretty much the lead and carries most of the load here.

What I Didn’t Like: Having people living in the Amityville house and watching ‪the Amityville Horror‬ on DVD, the original, is yes very meta and meta can work just ask Scream that film was meta before the word existed.  With this film I don’t see the point, it’s a film that was based on a book that was based on a true story.  I think people know the history now.  Here’s one of the film’s biggest problems it’s not as clever as it thinks it’s being, the point would be why would someone knowing move into the house.

The reason fails mostly because of a really bad script pure and simple this thing is just all over the place. It’s not campy enough to be fun, it isn’t good enough to be a straight horror film.  The oddest thing is the film fails at the simplest task make a decent haunted house story, this is a terrible haunted house story, it’s not scary there is almost no tension at all.  Somewhere the ball was dropped cause this is a bad mishmash of cliches and jump scares that lead to nowhere.

Some blame has to be laid at the feet of the director Frank Khalfoun, well you can get a almost bad performance from Jennifer Jason Leigh you have some issues.  The take the haunted house story from the original and throw in really bad backstory from this family.  So this teenager is so badly crippled and in a coma that he has 0% chance of recovery, so his mother moves him and her two daughters to a hunted house so….what exactly.  I will say this the finale goes right off the rails they truly throw everything into it.  Truth to be told if they went full out camp this might have been amusing but it takes itself way too serious for that.

One side note, the way they film ‪Bella Thorne‬ here is a bit iffy for my tastes, she’s almost always half dressed a lot of the suppose scary stuff has her walking around in her underwear, I mean you’re dealing with ghosts but some pants on.  It was a little prevy.

Final Thoughts: This is just a bad horror film, a film that tried to save itself by being part of an almost forgotten franchise, yes any film that the big finale is trying to make a demon go outside a sacred circle is indeed bad in my books.  To make it worse the circle is outside.

Rating: ‪2/10‬

The Hateful Eight (2015) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

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Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh

A stagecoach travels through the wintry landscape. John Ruth (Russell) is a Bounty Hunter and his ‘Bounty” Daisy Domergue (Jason Leigh) are heading to the town of Red Rock, where Ruth will bring Daisy to justice (Death by Hanging). They meet Major Marquis Warren (Jackson) who is also a Bounty Hunter and on their travels they bump into Chris Mannix, who claims to be Red Rock’s new sheriff played by Walton Goggins (Django Unchained, The Bourne Identity)

Lost in a snow blizzard, the group seeks refuge at a stop off named “Minnie’s Haberdashery.” When they arrive they are greeted by unfamiliar faces named Bob (Demian Bichir), who claims to be looking after things while Minnie is gone; Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), christened the hangman of Red Rock, Joe Gage (Michael Madsen), a cow puncher and Confederate General Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern)……but enough of that. The Hateful Eight is exactly what it is. A bunch of nasty individuals (8 to be precise) isolated in a cabin and you are left wondering when they will begin to turn on each other.

Now one of the elements I have always enjoyed in Tarantino’s catalogue is the long scenes (normally shot with one camera and in one take with excellent dialogue with some classic and memorable line) The bottom line is the dialogue isn’t that great in comparison to his previous films. It does help a lot that we do get a great cast (Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russell and Jennifer Jason Leigh) because without them I feel the movie would fall apart rather quickly.

Another element I noticed (Well Tarantino actually makes sure you know by including in the opening credits that the film was shot on 70mm widescreen and to be fair the landscape shots look great but there isn’t enough of these shots to justify the use of this film as most of the “action” takes place in a consumed cabin.

The music in any of Quentin Tarantino’s films has always been excellent and memorable. But don’t get your hopes up as there is little music (although the Daisy Domergue on the guitar is actually quite fitting and a nice little number sung by Jennifer Jason Leigh )The Score on the other hand did win Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score Ennio Morricone) and I can see why (or should that be I can hear why?)

I wouldn’t advise anyone not to give it a go if you haven’t watched “Quentin Tarantino’s 8th Film” I just don’t think it holds up to his “other 7” I can see inspiration from The Thing and even Quentin’s Resevoir Dogs in The Hateful Eight but I don’t feel I would revisit this movie in the near future.