Double Feature: Gods of Egypt (2016) & Holidays (2016)

Welcome to the next double feature. This time, we’ve landed coincidentally on two 2016 movies. Our G selection is one that had some pretty bad reviews when it came out and that is fantasy action film, Gods of Egypt. The H selection is horror anthology Holidays directed by a good few directors, one of their headlines being Kevin Smith.

Let’s check it out!

Gods of Egypt (2016)

Director: Alex Proyas

Cast: Brenton Thwaites, Courtney Eaton, Nikolaj  Coster-Waldau, Gerard Butler, Elodie Yung, Rachel Blake, Bryan Brown, Chadwick Boseman

Mortal hero Bek teams with the god Horus in an alliance against Set, the merciless god of darkness, who has usurped Egypt’s throne, plunging the once peaceful and prosperous empire into chaos and conflict. – IMDB

So…Gods of Egypt…not sure where to start with this one. The cast here is pretty good and probably one of the reasons why I decided to at least give this a shot. Sad enough though, this movie is a lot of flare and not a whole lot of substance. Its actually not even a lot of fun to watch because its pretty boring and stupid. Gods of Egypt is one of those films that remind me of previous bland experiences like Clash of the Titans (the remake) and The Immortals (which I also disliked both of these). It bases itself on playing with the various gods of Egypt (as per its title) and uses a fairly basic story where Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is an pretentious god who eventually gets his throne taken from him when he gets blinded by Set (Gerard Butler). In the process, Set puts Egypt into this world where everyone needs to gain whatever value or money in order to get a better afterlife. In desperation to save his love of his life, the mortal Bek (Brenton Thwaites) tries to get Horus to stop his self-loathing and help him get back his sight (aka his powers) so that he can get back the throne and hopefully make Egypt better again.

There’s some romance and some bromance and some good versus evil and some personal character development. Its not clear who is the hero here or who is the main lead and the story is as predictable as it sounds. There’s a whole lot of plot holes and its pretty forgettable and there’s nothing very special of it. I can’t really find a whole lot of good to say about this. I really liked Chadwick Boseman’s character. It gave the story some well-needed humor and enthusiasm.

Holidays (2016)

holidays

Directors (and writers): Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer, Gary Shore, Nicholas McCarthy, Sarah Adina Smith, Anthony Scott Burns, Kevin Smith, Scott Stewart, Adam Egypt Mortimer

Cast: Madeleine Coghlan, Savannah Kennick, Rick Peters, Ruth Bradley, Ava Acres, Mark Steger, Sophie Traub, Aleksa Palladino, Joceline Donahue, Harley Morenstein, Harley Quinn Smith, Ashley Greene, Seth Green, Clare Grant, Lorenza Izzo, Andrew Bowen, Megan Duffy

HOLIDAYS is an anthology feature film that puts a uniquely dark and original spin on some of the most iconic and beloved holidays of all time by challenging our folklore, traditions and assumptions. – IMDB

Its always tough to decide how to approach reviewing anthologies. Holidays takes 8 shorts from different directors that center their stories around 8 different holidays and the darkness in the characters involved. There are some very odd stories in this anthology that can only be described as weird and bizarre. However, in some ways, it does work. In some other ones, my less favorite ones, the stories are a bit too far-fetched for my taste. Its one of those things in anthologies where some things just work better than others and that changes by personal preference.

Here’s how I’d rank the 8 shorts in this anthology:

  • Christmas
  • Father’s Day
  • Mother’s Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Easter
  • Halloween
  • Happy New Year’s
  • St. Patrick’s Day

Taking a look back at the 8 stories in Holidays, my favorite was no doubt almost equally Christmas and Father’s Day. In terms of the horror comedy style, Christmas nails it and has Seth Green who does a stellar job however, in terms of horror atmosphere, Father’s Day captures that one really well. The execution of the both of these are on point. If we talk about creepy kids and a little weird and psychological, which is the type of horror that I like also, Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day both have these elements and for that, these four are the most memorable to me and well rounded.

If we talk about the last four, the one that I remember the least is St. Patrick’s Day. Aside from, there are some creative twists to say the least. Easter is creative in the sense of mixing the Easter bunny and recreating it with a religious twist. I can’t decide if maybe it might not be as welcomed. While Halloween had a more over the top twist which was a tad disturbing but strayed away from the very gory bits and as much as I like over the top in some scenarios, I wasn’t a particularly huge fan of the execution while acknowledging the psychological elements behind it and Happy New Year’s also has a clever twist behind it which I have to say works also.

Holidays isn’t the best horror anthology out there but in terms of embracing its weird and horror comedy nature, it achieves that quite well. The stories vary in tone and atmosphere and using the theme of 8 different holidays is a nice idea.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen either of these films?
Are you a fan of horror anthologies? If you’ve seen Holidays, which is your fave segment?

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How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

I’m super behind on writing reviews mostly because I’m being mega lazy after tiring and long days at work.  But, I’m not slacking off.  I did try to entertain you all with food reviews and we all love to look at delicious food, right? Enough of the silliness…back to business.

I told you that I had wanted to go to a bundle of summer movies.  Two Sundays ago (I know I’m super late), my friend and I went off after dinner to go see How To Train Your Dragon 2.  I’m a HUGE fan of How to Train Your Dragon.  I mean, if I could have a room full of dragons especially Toothless, I’d do it.

Umm…okay, let me tuck away my crazy for a second and just go straight for the review 😉

how to train your dragon 2 posterDirector: Dean DeBlois

Cast: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Gerard Butler, Cate Blanchett, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Djimon Hounsou, Kit Harington

Its been five years since Berk has welcomed dragons into their lives as friends and companions.  Hiccup’s father, Stoick (Gerard Butler) is now trying to put on the Chief responsibilities on his shoulders much to his reluctance.  He doesn’t feel like he’s fit to take on the job when all he wants is to discover new places with Toothless. However, on one of their discoveries, they land on a iced island where they meet Eret (Kit Harington) who is a part of dragon catcher crew who helps complete the dragon army for the deadly Drago Bludvist. Drago is bad news and everyone will soon learn just how bad.

How to Train Your Dragon 2

How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a pretty great sequel.  It doesn’t quite match up to the first one but its pretty damn close to it.  The animation is beautiful as before and the story carries on with lots of heart and even tugs at some heartstrings.  The voices are the same as before and still with lots of enthusiasm.  With the additional voices of Cate Blanchett, she never disappoints. Plus, this time around, with the dragons as part of the life in Berk, there are more dragons to see.

Valka

Its an adventurous journey for Hiccup and his group and a lot of  comedic moments as always.  The whole venturing into the new lands and discovering more plus bringing back Hiccup’s mom in the process gave it a more emotional aspect.  Cate Blanchett does a great job as Hiccup’s mom, Valka.  We understand a bit more of Hiccup in the process while this whole journey also helps him learn about himself. In the end, isn’t that really what Hiccup’s story in How to Train Your Dragon is about? On a simple level, its about finding a balance and peace between the dragons and Berk but the relationship of Toothless and Hiccup really bring a lot of heartwarming and heartbreaking moments.

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Whats great about animations is that the villain is usually really well laid out for its audiences, young and old.  This one’s was Drago Bludvist, a crazy man trying to build a dragon army.  He has a secret weapon and he’s a tough guy to beat that even Stoick is a tad intimidated by him.  Drago is a great villain for this series. He’s not only dangerous to the Vikings but also the dragons.  There wasn’t one moment where I cheered for him.  I guess thats why he’s done so well, right?

dragon 2 eret

In this sequel, the other characters from the first get a little bit more time also.  They haven’t quite developed much on the characters but they work great as the comic relief to make the more intense moments softer for the audience.  The addition of Kit Harrington as Eret and he sparks the flame of Ruffnut who makes for some pretty hilarious scenes and dialogue.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a great sequel that almost matches to the first.  Its beautifully animated for one.  Plus, the story never has any lingering dull moments with its excitement of discovery and surprises while also having an emotional ride as it tugs at our heartstrings to watch the familiar characters we’ve grown to love in the first one go through hardships.  Especially when Toothless and Hiccup’s relationship is put to the ultimate test.

Dreamworks has been putting out hit after hit with such surprising enjoyable animations.  It makes me hopeful for what they could possibly think up next 😉

What did you think of How To Train Your Dragon 2? Is it worthy sequel? Did you like the new characters? 

Olympus Has Fallen (2013)

Gerard Butler? Where have you gone? It seems like the last time I even heard Gerard Butler was in How To Train A Dragon.  In real life movies, it must be Gamer or Law Abiding Citizen.  I know he did a rom-com with Jessica Biel and I hate Biel so I won’t be giving that one a shot.  But, I do love myself some Gerard Butler. He is an amazing man and I’m glad to see him doing some action flicks.  I hope this means there’s more to come. Despite the not very enthusiastic reviews, lets check out Olympus Has Fallen.

olympus has fallen posterDirector: Antoine Fuqua

Cast: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, Finley Jacobson, Rick Yune, Dylan McDermott, Angela Bassett

After an accident that caused the death of the president’s wife, former presidential security Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is sent to do a desk job.  When a sudden attack on the White House occurs, he rushes back in and gets trapped inside.  With all the communication cut except the terrorists and his own and president and the most important politicians kidnapped, he is asked by Mr. Speaker Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), who also sits in as President to help them figure out who the terrorists are, save the President’s son Connor (Finley Jacobson) and especially rescue the President (Aaron Eckhart) before anything worse happens.

You know, I have the research thing where before I write up my review I like to check the scores on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB just gauge if we’re on the same page or I’m just the ridiculous person who knows nothing because I’m the total opposite.  Either way, my reason for talking about this is that, well, I’m looking at the summaries and everyone says Mike Banning is trapped.  Not really, right? He kind of moved his butt from his chair in the office and ran towards the White House and then had that gun fight and then made his way to get some gear and shoot those terrorists down.  Maybe I missed something, I have been ridiculously busy and it was a break that lasted longer that I had initially wanted. With that out, I enjoyed this one quite a bit.  Its not so much Die Hard level but the concept is there.  Its held up by an awesome cast and aside from some not so up to date CGI, it was still pretty fun to watch. I’m obviously not going to critique this movie has harshly as say something more deep, because its supposed to be simply entertaining and I was entertained.  So much that I almost forgot to go back to study…

olympus has fallen gerard butler

I’ve been a fan of Gerard Butler since forever. The reason you don’t see me talking about it as much is well, I haven’t reviewed any of his movies yet.  I own  a lot of them but I just haven’t wanted to put one into the Blu-ray yet.  As much as he is attractive and charming and I love his accent, I love him best as a tough guy kicking some ass. In this one, he was all of the. Please do more action flicks, Gerard. I promise the next one I’ll go see it in the theatres.  But, just lay off on the rom-coms, okay?

olympus has fallen morgan freeman

Okay, back on track. I’m not crazy. Its just nice to have imaginary talks with actors and make a deal with myself to keep supporting them. Now, next up is a man that can do no wrong. I’ve mentioned it in Now You See Me HERE and I say it again, Morgan Freeman is one of those actors who can do everything, every role, no matter big or small. His expressions and emotions are just awesome. I don’t even know how to elaborate on his greatness. The next supporting actor was Aaron Eckhart. I’m sure all of you have more exposure to his stuff than me.  I mean, I’ve only seen him in Erin Brockovich and Dark Knight. Still, I really think he isn’t a decent actor. Nothing wow yet, but he’s good. Same goes for this. He does a good president, I think.

olympus has fallen aaron eckhart

As much as supporting is important for any movie, in these sort of silly shoot ’em up action flicks, the bad guys are the main ones to look for. I mean, Die Hard wouldn’t have been so epic without Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber, right? Right! Glad you agree 😉 so, here, our baddie is Rick Yune who plays Kang. I think he stands up for the people of North Korea and he’s an international terrorist that all the government organizations are looking for but no one has seen his lovely face. Honestly, I didn’t find the man very threatening, so whether he is effective as a bad guy, well, not really?  But the man can fight and he and Gerard Butler had a good fight scene.

olympus has fallen bad guy

Overall, I’ve seen better and I’ve seen worse but I can’t deny that aside from some bad effects and a rather predictable course of events, it does hold up some decent brainless action-filled entertainment with explosions and guns. Gerard Butler channelled his tough guy act in an awesome way.  I liked it and well, if you like this sort of thing, you know, shutting off your mind and watching a fun movie, this could be a good choice.

Now I really want to check out White House Down to see if Channing Tatum can hold up against this! 🙂

Did you see Olympus Has Fallen? Did you like it? What do you think of Gerard Butler?

Christmas Marathon: Dragons:Gift of the Night Fury (2011)

220px-Gift_of_the_Night_Fury_posterDo we have any How to Train a Dragon fans out there?  I am a huge fan of that Dreamworks animation.  Its one of my favorites.  Everything about that movie is just perfect to me.  So when this movie came out, I had to get it.

DRAGONS: GIFT OF THE NIGHT FURY (2011)

DIRECTOR: Tom Owens

CAST: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson

This is a very short animation clocking in about 20+ minutes.  However, for the How to Train a Dragon fans out there, this does live up to it. Its a holidays spinoff of the movie.  Christmas on the island of Berk is called Snoggletog.  As everyone on Berk prepares for the holidays, their traditions quite similar to ours with Christmas tree made with shields (I think) and decorations, one day the dragons all fly off and don’t come back.  Hiccup accidentally gets dragged in and realize that during the winter holidays the dragons celebrate it in their own little way as well.

It gives us the same style as the movie itself.  We get back all the characters like Hiccup, Astrid, Toothless, etc.  It gives us a lot of fun moments and a lot of humour.  I saw How to Train a Dragon before my reviewing days on here but maybe one day, I will review it since I do own the movie.  Still, I think that Jay Baruchel does the voice of Hiccup amazingly well and mostly because he also gets cast into those roles.  I hope this lasts for him at the very least.

Also, they do give us a little extra since it is only 22 minutes with a second feature of about 15+ minutes called Book of Dragons and teaches you about the different dragons with how the Book of Dragons came to be.  They are pretty much teaching you, the audience how to be a dragon trainer so its pretty cool. I think if children are in the picture when you watch this,  it’ll be a fun day for them.

Overall, this is a fun Christmas animation with all the features of the original with laughs and adventure. For me, just give me that cute look Toothless does and I’m already happy. And this one has cuteness overload.