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Crawl (2019) Movie Review By The Moviie Couple

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Director: Alexandre Aja
Writers: Michael Rasmussen, Shawn Rasmussen
Stars: Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Morfydd Clark

Moviie Couple here! We just saw Crawl this weekend!!  Remember we are just a married couple that loves movies!  We’re here to tell you if we liked it.  Film experts we are not!  Just a quick reminder of our rating system.   Mrs. Moviie Couple and I, rate films on whether they are worth the cash spent on a night out.  we use a 1-6 Dollar Bill system.  1-2 Bills equal a waste of both our time and money!  3-4 Bills equal Meh to Pretty Good, money well spent!  5-6 Bills equal Wow!  Well worth the price of dinner, movie and sitter!  Please take our money again!

Crawl tells the tale of Haley Keller, (I believe that was her surname even IMBD doesn’t list it) a competitive collegiate swimmer, who returns to her old family home in search of her father, Dave.  Dad, has not been answering his phone and with a category 5 hurricane about to hit the old homestead, Haley is the closest relative to go check on daddy.  Ignoring all warnings from state and local authorities, Haley heads into the storm only to become trapped with dear old dad in the house crawl space!  Flood waters rising quickly!  Help no longer available! And thanks to the local alligator farm flooded nearby, suddenly besieged by alligators from all around!  Will the pair survive the storm without becoming the next Captain Hook?  Will they end up in the belly of a few hungry gators?  Will they drown or be washed away when the levees break?  Will experiencing such a trauma bring this estranged family closer than ever?

Directed by Alexandre Aja of High Tension, Horns and ‪The Hills have Eyes‬ remake fame and starring Kaya Scodelario, from ‪the Maze Runner‬ series and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, as Haley our Apex Predator swimmer and Barry Pepper, also of Maze Runner fame(?) and True Grit as dear ole dad.  This film is basically a two actor show, if you don’t count our reptilian adversaries. A few extended cameos are featured as well, but Haley and Dave vs an angry Mother Nature and some hungry Gators are pretty much what we get here guys.  Is it enough? Are we scared out of our alligator boots? Will we ever be able to drive into a category 5 hurricane and repair our crawl spaces ever again after watching this film? Let’s hop on our airboats, grab some waders and galoshes and let’s find out!
So here we go!

Mr. Moviie Couple:  Crawl had me excited to see it in many ways.  I am a big fan of Jaws and I love giant animal creature features in general.  Sadly, Crawl was less Bruce the Shark and more Wally Gator, if you’re old enough to get that reference.  This is no fault of the actors as I found Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper excellent in their respective roles.  They do a lot with what little they are given.  Especially Ms. Scodelario.  From the very beginning, she demonstrates all the emotions of Haley with very little effort.  Her feelings about her swimming career and how she feels about her family are seen all over her face.  Great job, I hope she gets more work in the future.  Pepper is far better than this material and is great as always.

The film is fast moving.  It is probably no more than 12-15 minutes into the film and we are knee deep in aggressive alligators!  They set up the action very quickly and without wasting much time at all.  Despite, the action happening so fast the writers still manage to give us a human story.  You learn quite quickly all the important dynamics and history of this family without it feeling like exposition. My problem with the film is I’m not sure it went far enough.  It is billed as a gruesome horror throwback, but it plays things kind of safe.  We never spoil here at Moviie Couple, so I won’t talk about the details, but suffice to say the film could have been a lot more horrifying had the director or the studio wanted to go that route. Crawl seems to settle for jump scares over and over again and after a while you kind of lose that fear for the characters. The gators were well executed in their creation and presentation, but again after a while they all blended together and became generic threats.  Nothing nightmarish, to truly fear.  Early on one gator gets wounded in the eye and I felt this would give one gator a way to stand out from the rest.  Perhaps this would be the one relentless gator that would not be stopped, but we never see any characteristic like that applied to any of the creatures.

One of the reasons the shark in Jaws is so memorable, is the film boils down to this relentless monster of a shark stalking our heroes. The setup of Crawl was a good one and as the water rises, if they escaped or dispatched a few lesser gators, the big one could have been this type of adversary, unfortunately, none of the gators are ever given this spotlight.  Maybe the filmmakers were going for realism over Hollywood here, but well it is a Hollywood movie, and it’s more than ok to give us the Cinema spectacular gators rather than realistic ones.   Missed opportunity in my opinion.  Even the effects of the bites and wounds, something Aja is known for seemed toned down.  Just safe, not shocking.  Many of the kills were not shown and many characters are killed off screen or at least out of sight.  Again, disappointing in a Aja film.

Well acted, but with a concept that failed to deliver where it promised we were going, I was overall disappointed with Crawl.  I had high expectations and hoped to be scared out of my mind, but it just couldn’t deliver on its set up. One last comment, the most magical thing in this movie is the ever growing crawl space!  When Haley first enters the crawl space to look for her dad, she is on hands and knees crawling through mud and sludge, cobwebs hitting her in the face.  She can hardly lift or move around, but as the waters rise (which should shorten the space, No?) there is more and more room for running, chasing, climbing!  That crawl space is one magical area!  Might be a Wardrobe down there with a way to Hogwarts if you get past the gators.  So with all this in mind, I’m going to have to give Crawl a 3 and that is a very generous 3.  I nearly wanted to give it a 2.5, but it’s far closer to MEH than a waste of money.

Mrs. Moviie Couple:  OK, let me say that it is truly I, Mrs Moviie Couple, typing this today.  Some feedback asked why my Hubby always tells you guys what I think?  Well it’s simple, I am a very busy working woman and I just don’t have the time to write/type this stuff up.  Hubby and I love to watch films together and go out, but I usually give him my notes on a movie or we simply talk about it together, but I put HIM to work on the actual writing!  So if I don’t do this every review, now you have an idea of how things run here at Moviie Couple!

I found Crawl to be very suspenseful!  At times it was so much that I found the muscles of my neck tightening in expectation of the next feeding frenzy! Both lead actors were good. They both held my attention. The special effects were all over the place.  Sometimes they are excellent and sometimes not so much.

I found the father and daughter characters just too perfect (Hubby called them examples of a Mary Sue, he tells me you readers will understand) They were experts in everything from First Aid to Gator wrangling, Please!  They were better than the Gator Boys on cable.

And the ending!  No spoiling, but it just ends!  It reminded me of one of my kids video games rather than a movie.  Run, jump, fight, swim get to certain section and …Game Over you win!  What?!  It was horrible!  It was as if the producers ran out of money!  Ok, that’s it, the movie is over.  No more filming money! How about a little closure?  Wrap it up people, is that too much to ask?

I would not recommend going out to see this film, wait for it to be on cable.  It will make for a great scary, but family friendly film for a sleepover or the like.  A few inappropriate words but nothing very offensive.

In conclusion, I have to give Crawl 2 Bills, pretty much a waste of my time and money, but still not the worst film I’ve seen this summer.  I’d rather watch Crawl a million times in a row than ever watch MIB: International even once more, so there is that.

On the way home, We talked about the alligators and whether or not crawl spaces or basements are even available in Florida.  Also, during a hurricane of that magnitude would even a chance of rescue be available?  Things like could an alligator get stuck behind a glass shower partition?  But overall how the movie was just OK.  We may watch Jaws or even ‪Jaws 2‬ on TV this summer for a better creature feature!  Thanks to my 3 and the Mrs. 2 Bills, Crawl ends up with an average of 2.5 Bills!  That’s too bad, because it could have been great!

So until next time, remember if you see a gator heading your way, Choot ‘Em, Choot ‘Em like Landry says on Swamp People or just run, they are really not that fast.  Be sure to check out our Twitter or Facebook for a clue to our next movie review.  Mr. & Mrs. Moviie Couple out!

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Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

MAZE RUNNER THE SCORCH TRIALS

Director: Wes Ball
Writers: T.S. Nowlin (screenplay by), James Dashner (based upon the novel “The Scorch Trials” by)
Stars: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster

Plot:  After having escaped the Maze, the Gladers now face a new set of challenges on the open roads of a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles.
Running Time: 2 hours 12 Minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score:  Critics 46%   Audience 54%

Why I Watched It: I liked the first one for the most part and the cast got even better by adding some veteran character actors.

Thoughts: You have to give The Maze Runner some credit it’s surviving while it’s genre is dying, the YA Novels to  movies have taken a blow but Maze Runner in the middle of their franchise keeps going.  I think it’s because of the action and the fact they’ve had the same director that helps.

What I liked: The coolest part of Scorch Trials is it’s completely different, we’re done with the maze and now we’re dealing with the whole virus and the evil corporation and also trying to figure out what was going on and why they were in the maze in the first place.  The selling point of this film is that the cast is joined by adult actors and some good ones, Aiden Gillen comes in of course as bad guy and he’s good here, also we get Pepper, Taylor and Esposito thrown into the mix to help our heroes.  The stakes are bigger here and so is the scope.  The selling point of this series so far is the action sequences and here we get a couple of thrilling and really well shot and down action spots.

Dylan O’Brien is the standout here, i thought he was a bit bland in the first one but here he does take over the leading man/boy role and he’s got range and I do think this is an actor to keep your eye on.  He’s the heart of these films and he carries it pretty well.  I also like Kaya Scodelario, in the first one she was the only female but here she gets to do a bit more and I do find she has charisma and she also could be on to bigger things. What I liked about this film is not only do we find out more, the characters are fleshed out more and some of the questions we had in the first one are answered, some more than others but the main conflict is now set up.

What I Didn’t Like: It’s another long movie, I do think the beginning drags, the set up could have been done quicker and we could have gotten more into the story.  Honestly the first half is too much talk, exposition and not enough action. I think the story would have been tighten if they got 15-20 minutes, cause the third act is what’s important and oddly that seems rushed to get us to the cliffhanger.

Now the main thing going against this movie is the fact that it’s the second of three films so we know we’re not getting the big finish, we’re getting build up and to it’s credit it does it pretty well but yes it does fell incomplete.
Final Thoughts: I liked it. it had some great action and it opened up it’s story more and gave us more adult characters to blend with the young cast.

Rating: 6/10

Maze Runner (2014) Movie Retro Review By Darrin Gauthier

MAZE RUNNER

Director: Wes Ball
Writers: Noah Oppenheim (screenplay by), Grant Pierce Myers (screenplay by)
Stars: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter, Aml Ameen, Ki Hong Lee, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Kaya Scodelario

Plot:  Thomas is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased, soon learning they’re all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow “runners” for a shot at escape.
Running Time: 1 hour 53 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes scores: Critics 64%    Audience 68%

Why I watched it: Have to be honest I almost didn’t, the trailers looked fine but the whole YA novel to movie thing has soured me a bit but I gave it a chance as the premise had some appeal.

Thoughts: Now YA movies from novels get a bad name and that’s because for the most part they deserve it too many movies think they have a franchise and so many fall flat so when you see a film like Maze Runner there is a real fear well if I watch the first one and it doesn’t do well I might not get the rest.  These movies are made for being a franchise one movie doesn’t answer the questions.

What I liked: The set up of the lead Thomas waking up and being put on this island and having no memory is good, we learn as he learns, so we have a different future and we have this mystery to solve and we have the maze.  I give the movie credit it jumps in feet first and gets the ball moving, we meet the characters and find out what’s going on to a point.  Now make no mistake this is a riff on Lord Of The Flies, all the character types are here but this is a good young cast and I have to say across the board the acting was rock solid.

I hadn’t see Dylan O’Brien before, he’s a tad bland but he brought energy and he does have a tough character cause he learns about himself and who he is as the story unfolds.  I liked the mystery, the maze is very cool as well.  One big thing with this film is that I’m glad it did well cause this isn’t really a stand alone film this has more parts if they hadn’t made the sequel this wouldn’t be remembered that fondly, it’s a very good starting point for a bigger story. I liked the fact that even though we’re getting and got more movies that the Maze is important to the film and it does lead somewhere like a maze it just leads to more questions but it’s filmed well and it does create this different and foreign place.

What I didn’t like: I’m thankful they made it under two hours but it does drag a tad in the middle, this being a part one we knew we would have to wait to get through the maze till the end to set up a second part but it did seem a bit padded.  I liked the cast but I do wish they’re were some older actors to anchor the film, Patricia Clarkson is in it a bit, she’s a major character going forward that we know but she isn’t in this one much, it’s a cameo.  Some of the boys on this island just get lost in the shuffle, it’s clear there’s a handful that are important and they do try a little hard for the Lord Of The Flies vibe. I want to be clear this movie works because it’s a good set up to other films and we now know we get them but as I stand a lone film it’s fine but it’s pure set but good set up.

Final Thoughts: A nice surprise, it wasn’t a chore to sit through like Hunger Games, it told an different and exciting story with the promise of bigger and more complex things to come, I enjoyed it.

Rating: 7/10