The Final Destination – Movie Review

The Final Destination 2009 Film

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Hey film fanatics, Slick Dungeon here! I’m back to review the fourth of the Final Destination films. This was intended to be the last of the Final Destination films (see the irony here where something should end but just keeps coming back??) so they called it The Final Destination instead of Final Destination 4.

If you haven’t watched this, hop in your car and race yourself to the movies so you can get caught up because there will be some spoilers for this film. You’ve been warned.

Still with me? Great. The movie starts out in typical fashion for these films. A group of friends is about to do something. In this case it’s watch a NASCAR race when one of them has a vision of horrible death. Nick O’bannon, played by Bobby Campo has a freak out as he is predicting everything that is about to happen and he and a few other people end up narrowly missing certain death.

For a fourth film in a franchise this movie has some surprisingly recognizable faces. NIck Zano who you probably know from Legends of Tomorrow as Nate plays Hunt, one of Nick’s friends and Shantel VanSanten who you probably know as Becca from The Boys plays Nick O’bannon’s girlfriend Lori. And the security guard from the race track is played by Mykelti Williamson who you most likely know as Bubba from Forest Gump. This one does however lack Tony Todd who any horror fan knows played the extremely memorable title role in Candyman and was in the first two films and a voice in the third.

As usual characters who survived the initial incident start falling off through random accidents one by one. I will say in this one the deaths seem pretty inventive and there are a few times where it was genuinely surprising how the kill happens. And as usual, you do need enough of a stomach to handle some gore to watch this.

The characters find themselves sounding crazy and doing everything they can to try to prevent the impending deaths. This time the death order seems to be linear once again so as long as they can figure out the order of who dies, they can prevent a death. This skips to the next person though so they have to figure out how to stop everyone from getting killed.

The performances here are also a bit less cheesy than in some of the previous films and that helps make it believable. There’s even a moment where it seems like maybe the characters can win but it is turned right on its head.

And, as usual, it does seem like a lot of these deaths would be prevented by safety protocols and general upkeep. If you learn nothing else from these films, always remember, safety first.

Characters are killed off via impaling, dismemberment, and going through car washes.

While I wouldn’t say this is necessarily the best of the series it’s pretty good. And as usual, the real horror here is not at all how the characters die but the unsettling thought that these things could happen to anyone at any time. It’s a really crazy set of circumstances which usually causes the accident but for all of them they could potentially happen. This does elevate the horror a bit because you simply cannot fight inevitable death.

One thing I never get in this series of movies is there will at least one character who just refuses to believe they are next on the death list. This is always after the first character has proven they can see death coming and even possibly saved some people from it, yet they refuse to believe. I mean, why take the chance when someone who already proved they can predict this stuff tells you to get out of there. I’m not overly superstitious but I would leave a movie if someone had saved other people from a terrible death previously.

Anyway, this is a minor detail in an overall decent horror franchise and if you’ve gone this far with these movies you might as well continue. If you want to see something with a bit of gore and several interesting ways to die, this is worth watching as the franchise consistently delivers a decent, fun ride.

Final Destination 3 – Movie Review

Final Destination 3 2006 Film

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

It’s time for the inevitable yet again! It’s me, Slick Dungeon, back to review the next film in the Final Destination franchise. This is the film series where the only murderer is death itself. And eventually we’re all going to lose that contest. So if you haven’t seen this movie yet, get off that rollercoaster before it takes off because there may be spoilers to smack you in the face below.

Still here? Okay, let’s get into it. The first two films in this franchise centered heavily around the tragic crash of flight 180 to Paris where a group of people got off the plane because one of the passengers had a premonition before the plane took off. While the second film was less closely tied to the first one, there was a definite and rather interesting connection for all the characters.

This film starts six years after the original crash. The group of high school students in this film are not even tangentially related to the events of the first but they still experience an incident. Kim who is seen as a control freak among her friends has a vision of a gruesome and fiery death on a roller coaster. She gets off the ride after a bit of a freak out and a few of her friends do so as well, either willingly, or for other reasons. Kim’s boyfriend Jason stays and meets his inevitable fate along with a few other students.

Unlike the last two films, the deaths of Kim’s friends seems to really bother and stay with her and other students at the school. This does make the deaths feel a little more meaningful even if they are still shockingly bloody.

Like the first two there are smash cuts and jump scares virtually guaranteed to make you jump out of your seat. The group has to figure out how to outrun death. This is no easy task and as in the other films it doesn’t seem like anyone but death will win in the end.

There are a few clever twists and turns and the actors seem to be more committed to the story in this one but by the third time this is feeling like old hat. While the setup and payoff is rather familiar, the deaths in this film are even more inventive and bloody than the first two, and that’s saying something.

It’s still a fun ride (pun very much intended) and if you’re a horror fan this is worth a watch. Just maybe don’t get on any roller coasters afterwards.

Inevitably yours,

Slick Dungeon

Final Destination 2 – Movie Review

Final Destination 2 2003 Film

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Hello internet! It’s me, Slick Dungeon. I’m back to review another movie about the inevitability of death, Final Destination 2. If you haven’t watched this before, buckle your seatbelts and strap in and watch it first because there may be spoilers in this review.

On the surface, it seems really silly to have something called Final Destination have a sequel. After all, wouldn’t final imply it’s the last? But the sequel does work and it actually connects fairly well to the first.

In the second film, we start off with something way more likely than death by plane crash. Instead, it’s death by car accident. Kim and her friends are about to drive out of town for a fun little getaway. She sees a huge, if somewhat unlikely, series of events resulting in a major traffic accident where she and a bunch of other people die. When she snaps to, she takes action and blocks traffic. Kim and several other people are spared death. Unfortunately her friends end up dead anyway.

Kim has heard about the events of flight 180 and the freakish deaths afterward and realizes she’s just experienced something similar. Clear, played by Ali Larter in the first film is still alive so Kim goes to see if she can be any help.

For the rest of the movie characters are trying, and mostly failing, to avoid their own inevitable deaths one by one.

I think the interesting twist in this one is how each character is somehow connected to the passengers who survived Flight 180. They come up with some rules for how to defeat death although, I’m not sure those rules really make much sense.

There are points where a lot of the characters simply ignore things they shouldn’t or take unreasonable actions. But, Kim and Clear for the majority of the film play it smart and Kim has the best idea of them all. I won’t spoil that here but her method does seem reasonable to defeat death in my opinion.

It’s a clever sequel and it once again has Tony Todd adding in an extra layer of creepy in the way only he (and maybe someone like Boris Karloff) can. If you liked the first film, this is not a bad follow up and I do recommend it. It’s just not quite as clever as the first, although I do think overall it is better acted.

Inevitably yours,

Slick Dungeon

Final Destination – Movie Review

Final Destination 2000 Film

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Hey film fanatics, Slick Dungeon here! I’m back to review another horror film. This time I went with the movie that cuts out the middle man, Final Destination. So, before the flight that is this review takes off, make sure you’ve already watched the film because there will be some spoilers.

Still with me? Okay great. Final Destination is a horror/thriller film about a group of teenagers who narrowly escape death when they get off of a flight right before it explodes. While most horror films have a bad guy going around offing the characters in one way or another, this one completely cuts out the middle man. There is no creepy stalker with a knife, there is no nightmarish figure haunting your dreams, there is not even a mythical vampire trying to suck your blood in this film. Instead, the bad guy is the inevitability of death. As far as villains go, this one is pretty unbeatable.

The story centers around Alex, Clear and a few other random people who were about to board a flight to France for a school outing. Just before the flight takes off, Alex has a terrible vision of the plane exploding and killing everyone on it. He has a bit of a freak out and makes for the exit. A few other people follow and/or are kicked off the flight along with Alex.

While most of the people who got off the flight seem to think Alex is off his rocker, the plane does explode. Great, everyone is saved right? Wrong! Not long after, one of Alex’s friends is killed. The audience can see it happen and it’s no accident. However, it looks an awful lot like a suicide. Alex figures out this is the inevitable death of all of those spared from the fiery death on the plane.

The rest of the film is spent figuring out who will go next, how to avoid death and how to make seem like Alex is not a crazed killer.

While not all of the effects are perfect in this film, and the acting is only average for the most part (Ali Larter excepted) this movie really does leave you with an unsettling feeling. If you are averse to flying I don’t recommend watching this at all because it’s just going to increase your fear.

The movie has few smash and jump cuts likely to make anyone jump and there is definitely a bit of gore but it’s not over the top.

If you are in the mood for a spooky thriller/horror film you’ll keep thinking about long after it is over, this is the movie for you.

Inevitably yours,

Slick Dungeon

Choose or Die – Movie Review

Choose or Die

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Hey horror fans, it’s me Slick Dungeon! I’m back to review another creepy film. This time I watched Choose or Die and I’m here to give you my hot take on it. Do be warned there will be mild spoilers so if that kind of thing kills your ’80’s nostalgia, go watch the movie first and come back here to read the review.

Alright, for those of you who are still with me, let’s get into it. Choose or Die is about a cursed video game. Think Ring but instead of a video tape it’s an old copy of a text based game you might have found for computers in the 1980’s. While I think Ring is a fair comparison there are some major differences so even if you’ve seen Ring it doesn’t mean you can predict what will happen in Choose or Die.

The premise is pretty simple. A man finds an old copy of a game called CURS>R. It seems to be a game where there was the potential for prize money that is still unclaimed to this day. Beat the game and you might win $100K dollars. Whether or not the company which produced the game will pay up is anyone’s guess.

About three minutes into the movie things get pretty weird and bloody. While playing this game, the man who bought it at a clearance sale is asked to choose between a face and a tongue. See, his wife and son are loudly arguing upstairs. While the choice is a little weird the guy chooses “his tongue” and seconds later, the wife is cutting her own son’s tongue out, seemingly unable to stop herself. It’s a pretty disturbing scene and there are a few scenes like this so if you don’t like a bit of gore in your horror this is probably not for you. However, this is by far not the most bloody movie I’ve ever scene.

Next we see Kayla, who seems unconnected with the events of the game in any way, going about her day. She’s a wannabe computer programer who is played by Iola Evans. Her best friend, Isaac, played by Asa Butterfield is also an aspiring programmer but happens to be in love with Kayla. Kayla’s home life is pretty rough. She lives in a sketchy neighborhood, her mother is essentially checked out of life, and her little brother died at a tragically young age.

Isaac finds a copy of CURS>R and pops it into his computer where he hears the voice of Robert Englund start talking about the game. That’s right, good ol’ Freddy Krueger himself is in this. Well, his voice is anyway.

Kayla takes the copy of the game and starts playing it late that night in a cafe. Very quickly she realizes the game itself is affecting reality, and not in a good way. As you can imagine, the terror increases and Kayla and Isaac have to figure out a way to beat the game without doing major damage to themselves or others.

I don’t want to give too much away so we’ll just say it’s like a lot of movies where there is haunted technology. But, the end does come with a bit of an interesting twist making it worth staying for the end.

Some of the effects are not stellar here and it relies a bit too much on jump scares and silly tricks at times but it’s still a fun watch. While there are better horror movies on Netflix this one isn’t bad and it kills a bit of time if you just need a good fun horror movie. Just don’t look for anything super original here.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

Slick Dungeon’s Quick and Dirty Guide to the Oscars

Hey everyone, Slick Dungeon here. The Oscars are about to start soon and I have watched each and every best picture nominee. I’m going to give you my take on them all and tell you what I think will win best picture and what should win best picture. Definitely don’t make any bets based on my picks because I am notoriously bad at guessing what the heck the Oscars will actually do. Also, I am only going to touch on the best picture nominees here and not go into best actor etc. because I have not watched every performance nominated so I would just be guessing in the dark on some of it.

Ready? Here we go.

Nightmare alley

Out of all the nominees for this year, I think this film is the most deserving. It’s an unforgettable story with superb acting and the closest to a perfect film in the whole list. I don’t think it will actually win but it would be my choice.

Don’t Look Up

If Nightmare Alley does not win this would be my next pick for best picture. It has major star power as you can see from the picture above. It’s about a relevant topic and feels almost too close to home. It’s entertaining while still being kind of depressing. Just the kind of thing the Academy Awards loves. I think there are solid odds this will get picked.

Dune

Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Javier Bardem and Timothee Chalamet.

Okay, this is great film. I loved it and it’s a decent adaptation of the first part of the book. But it’s not exactly a full story and it’s science fiction so that’s working against it. I don’t believe this will win for best picture and I’m not sure it should. But, in my mind there will be a good chance that Part 2 does when that comes out. They didn’t give Peter Jackson best picture on Lord of the Rings until the third and final film came out so no way Dune wins for part one.

Drive My Car

I would actually like to see this win best picture if Nightmare Alley and Don’t Look Up are not chosen. This is a hugely ambitious story with superb acting and it tells the story of human connection on a deeper level than any of the rest of these nominees. I expect it will not win best picture but I can’t imagine it not being awarded something. My guess is for screenplay but we’ll see. If you haven’t watched this, block off three solid hours of your time and watch it. It’s really good.

Belfast

This could win out of left field. If the Academy wants to go a little more “artsy” with their pick it might make sense to choose this one. While it’s a good film and worth watching, it’s not the best one on this list. Again though I think it is going to win something. I would not be surprised at all if it got Best Director.

Licorice Pizza

Look, I hated this movie but for some unexplained reason it is a critical darling. I think it’s just a disjointed mess of a movie and I can’t really get behind it in any way. And since I’m pretty bad at picking Oscar winners they will probably go with this one. If they do, I think it’s a shame. I liked the acting here but the story barely counts as a film.

The Power of the Dog

Can you buy Benedict Cumberbatch as a cowboy? Can you buy the backdrop of New Zealand as Montana? Neither can I. This western doesn’t feel very western to me but I will admit the end is shockingly good. You have to pay pretty darn close attention to the film for it to make sense though. I don’t think this is actually going to win.

West Side Story

This movie is fine. It’s not good, it’s not great, it’s just kind of there. I don’t think this would have been nominated if anyone other than Steven Spielberg had been involved. You’re probably better off watching the original here but if you love musicals you could do worse than this one.

King Richard

Watch this one for Will Smith and Jon Bernthal’s performances. It really should have been more about Venus and especially more about Serena Williams but Will Smith does do a great job here. Other than that, this is virtually every sports movie you have seen before.

Coda

This is clearly the most heartwarming of all the Oscar nominees. If you watch this you will only go away feeling good. There should be more movies like this and it’s great to see realistic representations of the deaf community here. It’s not going to win, not because it’s a bad movie at all, there is simply just too much star power behind the other films on the list. I highly recommend watching this but no way this gets chosen for Best Picture.

Well, that’s it. Now, I will say, if I could have my pick of all the movies that came out to get the Best Picture award I would choose Spider-man: No Way Home. It was hands down the most fun I had at the movies in all of 2021 and in my mind it was totally deserving of being at least nominated. Ah well, being a huge comic book nerd is tough sometimes.

Anyway, we’ll see what happens tonight. What are your picks? Do you know of any movies you wish were nominated? Let me know in the comments!

Predictably yours,

Slick Dungeon

Dune – Movie Review

Dune (2021)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Hello film fanatics, it’s me, Slick Dungeon. I’m here to review the last of the Oscar nominees. This time it’s the sci-fi space epic Dune. Be warned there will be spoilers below so if you care about that sort of thing, button up your stillsuit and watch out for sand worms as you head back to the theater to watch the film. Then ride your ornithopter back here to read the review.

For this review I am going to start with the obvious. Nothing, not any media translation ever, will be better than reading the work of brilliance that is Frank Herbert’s Dune. If you have not read that book and you like science fiction at all, you are doing yourself a disservice. So be sure to read that.

Still, for years and years people have attempted to do a decent translation of the text to film. It had an older version that was… well… it’s a little dated and odd if you watch it now but it was a thing. This new version starring Timothee Chalamet tells the first half of the book. Well, not quite the first half actually but it tells the beginning of the book.

The film looks fantastic. And the acting here is extremely good. While there are definitely parts of the book left out of the film entirely, it covers enough of the story that you can get a basic picture of it.

The pacing is a bit slow but so is the novel at times. The book was never about the action but more about politics and deeper meaning.

It’s fairly hard to summarize a plot for the book but if you want to know the basics, Paul is a young man who is set to inherit a lot of wealth and privilege from his father the Baron Leto. Leto has been given a planet to rule over by the Emperor of basically everything. This planet is a desert planet which has an extremely valuable resource called spice. The spice powers interstellar travel and is a bit of a hallucinogenic when ingested. Paul knows his fate is wrapped up in this planet because he sees visions of his future. Paul’s family has a bitter rivalry with a rival house called the Harkonnens who have had to give up the Dune planet to Baron Leto. Everyone expects Leto to fail, the emperor included.

There’s a whole lot more to summarize but if I get too much more into it I am giving away important plot points.

One thing I found somewhat frustrating with this film was the sound quality. There were times when the music in the background literally overwhelms what the actors were saying, making it hard to understand certain parts.

But I will say as far as Dune adaptations go, this is the best one so far. I don’t think this is going to win best picture because they never give that to a sci-fi movie but it’s worth watching, especially if you do like the books.

Awarding-ly yours,

Slick Dungeon

Licorice Pizza – Movie Review

Licorice Pizza

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Hey film lovers, it’s Slick Dungeon here. I’m back to review another Oscar nominee. This time I watched the 1970’s era comedy/drama/romance Licorice Pizza. There will be spoilers for this movie below so if you care about that run on back to the theater and watch the film before reading the review.

Ever since Boogie Nights Paul Thomas Anderson has been making films about people on the fringes of society doing odd and eccentric things. A lot of times those films work and make for good viewing although they do tend to have an excessive runtime. Usually in those films, by the end, things add up to a story that makes some kind of sense.

Licorice Pizza on the other hand is a confusing, jumbled mess of a movie which does not add up to a decent story. The basic plot is about Gary, a fifteen year old actor and entrepreneur who is in love with Alana Kane, a 25 year old woman. The movie is supposed to be about an innocent and heartwarming love affair. I’m sorry but a 25 year old woman dating a 15 year old is… child abuse. That’s just a fact and it’s emphasized over and over and over in this film that there is this age gap. If the genders were swapped this would be a film about a man stalking a child.

Gary is no prize in the movie either as he pesters and badgers Alana relentlessly. There is a back and forth of the two of them getting jealous over who they are hanging out with which just seems unhealthy.

And to be honest with you I can’t even understand why half of the scenes are in this movie. There are scenes where Gary is selling waterbeds in a really strange side plot, only to call it a side plot is to give it too much credit. Sean Penn and Bradley Cooper both show up out of nowhere, do insane things with their characters and then just kind of disappear from the movie.

It feels more like a series of random vignettes that don’t make much sense than it does a cohesive film. The acting is fine but the story is just bad.

And nowhere in the film do they explain why it is called Licorice Pizza. If you feel the need to watch a Paul Thomas Anderson film, go watch Boogey Nights or Magnolia. Those are not perfect films but at least you can understand what is happening by the end.

Awarding-ly yours,

Slick Dungeon

Belfast – Movie Review

Belfast

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Hello out there film fanatics, it’s me, Slick Dungeon. I’m nearly through all the Oscar films but not quite done yet. I watched Belfast for this review. Be warned there will be some spoilers below so if you care about that go watch the movie first and then come back here.

Belfast tells the story of Buddy, a young boy growing up on the street of Belfast, Ireland in 1969. For the most part his life is fairly idyllic. He has friends and neighbors who all know him and care about him. His father works in London but comes home on weekends to be with his family. And Buddy’s grandparents are kind and caring and help to raise him along with his mother. Buddy also has an older brother.

While life is good and most people seem to get along, this changes rapidly once conflict starts between Catholics and Protestants in the country. The streets of Belfast succumb to civil unrest and violence breaks out. Buddy’s family is left with the dilemma of whether or not they should leave Belfast and everything they have known to flee to safety. Their whole lives are in Belfast so it’s not an easy decision.

Buddy has a couple of things that help him to forget some of the horrible things going on around him. He loves going to the movies and watching television to escape. It’s only when Buddy is watching these things that we see color in the movie, everything else is shot in black and white.

I won’t go into too much detail over what the family decides but there is tension between Buddy’s mother and father as his mother realizes they will be treated like outsiders if they move away from Belfast.

While the movie is fairly engrossing and tells a very personal story, it doesn’t do a great job of telling the backstory of why trouble breaks out in the first place. Also, while Buddy is Protestant, we see some of what happens to the Protestants, but there is not much time spent going into the violence done to the Catholics at the time. This makes it feel a little lopsided.

It’s a great character film and Jude Hill has an exceptionally good performance as Buddy that is totally worth watching. The film is also star filled with Judi Dench, Ciarán Hinds, Caitríona Balfe and Jamie Dornan rounding out the cast.

Awarding-ly yours,

Slick Dungeon

Movie Review – Don’t Look Up

Don’t Look Up

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Hey all, this is a re-post of an Oscar movie review. When I posted it this was before it was nominated but I still stand by what I said here. Enjoy the review!

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Hello out there internet people, it’s me Slick Dungeon. I’m back to review another movie for you. I watched Don’t Look UP on Netflix. Fair warning that there will be spoilers below so if you haven’t seen it and want to, have a look first and then come back here.

Stop me if this sounds familiar. There is an impending global crisis, almost certain to wipe out all life on the planet. There is solid, irrefutable scientific proof of this event. However, due to political considerations, a distracted public, and enormous financial interests on the part of the wealthy, the clear reversal of this problem is completely ignored. The wealthy get to come up with alternative solutions more friendly to them at the cost of everyone else. Don’t Look Up is a disaster comedy that hits way, way, too close to reality.

The whole film is an obvious allegory for climate change but really it could apply to any number of impending global crises we have going on now. The film is chock full of big name stars, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep and Jonah Hill.

While the subject matter of the film would make anyone who believes in science uncomfortable, there are laugh out loud moments that are impossible to ignore. As usual Leonardo DiCaprio puts in a fantastic performance but the lines that keep sticking in my mind in this movie come from Jonah Hill and Jennifer Lawrence. There’s also a really funny sequence involving a four star general and some snacks that cracked me up.

It’s also a very American film. The basic premise is straight forward. There is an impending comet heading toward Earth, large enough to be an extinction level event that will wipe out not only humans but a good chunk of the planet itself. The science is solid and the group of scientists who discover the comet have to go convince the president to do something about it. But, political times being what they are, the president is more focused on her poll numbers than committing to a real solution. Because of this inaction there is a wide swath of the population that simply doesn’t believe a comet exists at all. Soon people are on both sides of the issue, the media doesn’t want to cover it because there are stories that get better ratings, and the scientists are trying to get people to understand doom is actually impending.

All in all it is a brilliant film, if a bit on the nose. If you watch it, I promise there are laughs to be had but don’t go in expecting this to be a feel good movie. It’s just so close to the surface of reality it’s genuinely frightening.

Disastrously yours,

Slick Dungeon