*NEW* PIXELS MOVIE REVIEW *NEW*

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Pick another movie.

When aliens misinterpret video feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of war, they attack the Earth in the form of the video games.

Has Adam Sandler given up? Has he finally succumbed to mediocrity and dire disasters? A lot of you will probably say, “Hasn’t he already?”

For those who do follow my reviews, I’ve declared my guilty fandom for Sandler movies numerous times. BUT even this feeble effort tested my patience. I can’t tell whether this was intentionally supposed to be this bad or just sloppy?

The opening really didn’t get things going with an 80s flashback to the World Video Game Championship with our young protagonist Brenner (Sandler) discovering his passion for arcade games and battling it out with his rival Eddie (Peter Dinklage).

It was cliched and unfunny. NOT even the cameo from Dan Ackroyd brought anything to the mix. I did get nostalgic when all the old game titles flashed across the screen; Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Centipede. I think the only saving grace through this elongated sequence was Andrew Bambridge’s impression of Dinklage. It was spot on. It was easy to look the part but to sound like him and nail his expressions was something else.

And not before long, we’re back in the present. And it doesn’t get any better as we are force fed a ridiculously vomit-inducing love subplot between Sandler’s repair man and Michelle Monaghan’s military Violet. The pair may have had good chemistry BUT the terrible lines and schmaltzy scenes soon put out that fire.

Conveniently, or thanks to lazy script writing, Sandler’s best friend (Kevin James) is the President of the United States. This could have been ripe for gags galore. We know James can be funny. BUT flailing around, busting out stupid dance moves and shouting all the time doesn’t work. Come on. We had two Paul Blarts for that. Which were an improvement from this mess.

I was praying for the aliens to attack and when they did, it was brilliant. The only redeeming feature. Although 3D was definitely a waste of time. The sequences and effects were fantastic. The Pac Man Mini Cooper street race subdued my griping for a good ten minutes.

The Centipede laser gun shootout was also pretty decent. It was just a shame that a cringe-inducing cameo from Sean Bean took my attention away from it. Now the chap has done some bad movies in his day BUT even this one took the biscuit. Glad he was up for a laugh. BUT I was laughing for all the wrong reasons.

The little animated Cubert was certainly entertaining for the little ‘uns but its whiny Chipmunk voice did my nut in. The Tetris game attack was a particular highlight for me. Each line detonating a floor of a skyscraper. Fantastic.

Every time the aliens attacked, I was hooked. When they didn’t, it was tedious and dull. Every time the characters stopped to talk, the film was hampered down massively. It didn’t help that a lot of the Happy Madison regulars were missing. All those little in-jokes would have done this film a world of good.

Peter Dinklage. Ol’ Tyrion Lannister himself. He really gave it a go BUT he just annoyed the hell out of me. He had a couple of one liners here and there BUT I desperately wanted him to shut up. Pardon the expression but this was a massive step down from the Game of Thrones actor.

The cameos were wasted. I couldn’t believe Serena Williams and Brian Cox (Not the star man, the actual star) were in this. Williams didn’t have a bad stint as Eddie’s unimpressed love interest. While Cox was very dull as a bland general. Ashley Benson (Pretty Little Liars) may have looked stunning as Lady Lisa BUT she really was as one dimensional as her counterpart. And Jane Krakowski (30 Rock) might as well as have not been in it.

Josh Gad saved the day again as the unhinged conspiracy nut. He brought the schtick that saved the Wedding Ringer and did everything to make this lead balloon fly. There were a number of lines that got a chuckle out of me, “You’re the first person to come over . . . Voluntarily”. His reunion with Sandler and a bottle of chloroform was hilarious.

BUT alas it wasn’t enough. The gags were sparse. They even resorted to my pet hate of naff stereotyping with Aunt Petunia from Harry Potter playing the Prime Minister and talking utter jibberish. Well, the Queen’s English. Apparently. Sloppy.

Josh Gad, a silly nostalgic premise and some cracking effects may have made parts watchable BUT it just wasn’t enough. A wasted opportunity. Maybe more money should have spent on the script or the gags at least.

2(Just)/5

THE GALLOWS REVIEW

The Gallows English Horror Movie Poster

The producers should hang their head in shame.

Ba-dum-tsssh! A lazy punch line for a lazy horror film!

20 years after a horrific accident during a small town school play, students at the school resurrect the failed show in a misguided attempt to honour the anniversary of the tragedy BUT soon discover that some things are better left alone.

Another found footage film haunts the cinema. Well for a week. Luckily. I think I’m going to give up on modern horror films. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Hollywood, just STOP. Horror fans STOP paying to see these films.

Thank God, I had a cinema pass. If I had paid a tenner for the last few horror films, I would be livid. The fact these new found footage horror films are getting increasingly low budget with any old amateur cast shows the desperation that Hollywood are resorting to. Getting a quick buck with cheap frights.

They are churned out so quickly and cliche ridden that you can almost tick everything off a check list. Predictable, dull and infuriating. No real tension, memorable ghoul or a decent character that you actually give two monkeys about.

It seemed like writers Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing just wrote a loose premise around the Charlie phenomenon (If you can call it a phenomenon) that stormed the Internet a few months ago. The little cheap scares did do the job. I’m not going to lie. There were moments where I actually winced as the shaky POV crept down a hallway or round a corner.

Silently waiting for our hooded figure to make his long overdue appearance. The only problem was that you really were left waiting. BUT the end result was the same old bloody thing.

The characters even use their real first names. If that doesn’t highlight the originality of the script or the lifeless protagonists then I don’t know what does?! This film was supposed to be 81 minutes. It felt a whole lot longer than that.

After a reasonably macabre opening sequence, the half hour that followed was just mindless cliched teen high school melodrama. Credit where it’s due. Ryan Shoos (Pretty Little Liars) who played the main camera guy did his best to keep things entertaining.

It drew the odd giggle BUT this is a horror film for God’s sake! I may not have been impressed with the overhyped It Follows but at least that knew how to create tension and an atmosphere. Instead we had insufferable waffle about the star quarterback trying to get with the theatre nerd. Awww . . . Yuck.

Pfeifer Brown played the theatre nerd well but her character was so cliched. I had no time for her. Secretly praying for Charlie every passing minute. Cassidy Gilford was certainly a stunner to look at BUT all she did was scream, cry or look into the camera to check out how good she looked. Come on!

Reese Mishler. If I could give an award for the best “Have I left the iron on?” expression, he would win hands down. His blank looks and hang dog expressions were hilarious. Unfortunately he wasn’t strong enough to play the lead but it didn’t help that his character was so weakly written in the first place.

Hyped up as the next horror icon of the new generation, I found Charlie the Hangman pretty tame. He certainly looked the part. A tall domineering cloaked hangman BUT the next Freddy or Jason?! BEHAVE!

Inevitably, he didn’t really make an appearance until the final 15 minutes and when he did; the film finally got going. BUT leaving us with mindless chatter, tension-less build up and a quick fright to stop you fidgeting for a crazy finale just isn’t enough!

The finale was frantic and had the odd scare. There was even a feeble attempt at a twist. BUT this twist (If you could call it that) was so predictable that I was more surprised that they even bothered.

The camera work was probably the truly horrific part. It felt like I was watching my dad handle the camera after having a few pints. I was getting a headache watching it. Every time something creepy did happen, the camera was on the floor. Plenty of snaps of Pfeifer’s feet. Not of flippin’ Charlie. Oh, I give up!

I can feel myself growing tired of endlessly critiquing these sort of films. Only for more of them to pop up and not even try to do anything differently. As long as people rush into see them, the producers will still make the money before anyone realises what a pile of rubbish they really are. I mean Unfriended, the Poltergeist remake, Knock Knock? Is that really the best that we can come up with?

Predictable, lazy, the odd fright reprieves this disorienting ham-flick for a brief moment. BUT still not enough to be haunting your local cinema.

1.5/5