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The Belko Experiment (2016)

The Belko Experiment (2016)

In a twisted social experiment, 80 Americans are locked in their high-rise corporate office in Bogotá, Colombia and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company's intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed.

This was like Battle Royale, but without a motive. Well it has a motive, but... the motive doesn't feel very motivated. When all's said and done and the movie has played its course it feels like there should've been more. There's conclusion, but there's no explanation, like this might be the first in a series. I'd be intrigued to see more if there was, but at the same time I don't feel a movie should end so vaguely.

I mean: vague endings are alright, but if they show a bit of the picture (as they do here), and keep revealing more as they go along, then they may as well go all the way with the ending. They leave us hanging.

It was a good movie though. Uncomfortable. Well-filmed. With characters that feel authentic - like they could've been taken straight out of an office. The uncertainty is also a major factor, and you never know who's going to go, or flip out and do something unexpected

The main character has a significant level of luck right from the start though, and seems like a prime candidate for survival even if he lacks any particular strengths... apart from maybe an unbreakable moral code. He's the main character, after all, and the protagonist, and since there's one of those they also make it clear early on who the other one is, though there are plenty of blank slates surrounding them.

It's violent, and graphic, but well-done. I didn't really live into the panic, but it kept me on the edge of my seat. Splatter, thriller - it's a bit like a milder version of SAW, with less sadism and more sense. The location is an unsettlingly realistic one too: an anonymous government complex in an isolated foreign location. If I didn't before: I think I'll avoid any such job opportunities I might be offered from now on.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Night At The Museum 2 - Battle Of The Smithsonian (2009)

Night At The Museum 2 - Battle Of The Smithsonian (2009)

I though the first was good, but the second brought it all to a whole new level! Gets me thinking maybe the third was even better, despite my hazy recollection of it; it might require a re-watch soon...

The plot this time? Larry Daley (that's Ben Stiller) quit the security job gig, along with that commitment thin. He went back to being an inventor, making a name for himself with such genius contraptions as the glow-in-the-dark flashlight and irreplaceable keys (or whatever they were called). Yet something seems to be missing in his life, and when he finds out the museum he worked at is throwing out all old exhibits in a desperate attempt to get in new visitors, he follows the crates - and their by-night-living inhabitants, to their new home in The Smithsonian.

Unfortunately for him (and the exhibits), the new locale is full of other statues and mummies - not all with as noble personalities, and as the tablet wakes everyone to life it becomes a battle not only for the future of the museum, but for survival, and that commitment thing comes back into play again. While Larry's battling the new cast he runs into a helpful general, and then the even more helpful Amelia Earhart, who tags along for the rest of the story.

It's not so much a battle as a search for... something they find, and there's plenty of intrigue and comedy along the way! A little romance, too. I didn't think the second would outshine the first, but it wasn't only more, but felt a lot more conclusive.

Hope Larry stays on the right path from now on... and I guess he did, because I don't remember him quitting the job in the third. Again, a great watch; fun for the whole family. The special effects hold well, too.

And btw, the IMDB description for this movie is totally wrong: Security guard Larry Daley infiltrates the Smithsonian Institution in order to rescue Jedediah and Octavius, who have been shipped to the museum by mistake. It's no mistake, but it's definitely the right thing to bring them back.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Night At The Museum (2006)

Night At The Museum (2006)

What a fun movie this was! I watched the third before the first two, but I'm making up for that now, and the first two really were something else. It's where it all started. Where everyone in the museum first found their place, and though the plot itself is (at least in this one movie) all very tied to one particular piece of architecture, it's like a whole new world within it.

The element of surprise makes it a story richer than the sequels, too. It's family friendly fun. Ben Stiller's in crazy but harmless mode, and as expressive as ever.

The other characters have character too. The director plays with perspectives, relations, and bits and pieces of history within this one madhouse they call museum.

For those of you who haven't heard of the movie: it's about a newly recruited night security guard at the Museum of Natural History, [who] discovers that an ancient curse causes the animals and exhibits on display to come to life and wreak havoc. But it's about more than that. It's about uniting a diverse group of characters, saving the museum, saving a marriage... sort of, and committing to something in life.

Plenty of morals mixed in with the entertainment, even if some may be social constructs we shouldn't keep enforcing. Great watch.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Neighbor (2009)

Neighbor (2009)

Here's a real splatter movie, with gore similar to that of Hostel, and a villain as daunting as she is damaging, a really crazy lady.

Though the movie starts amply: a new girl comes into town, and bad things start happening... it really just centers around the one guy, and girl, and time skips make for a somewhat strange telling of the story.

The gore's realistic, and creatively sadistic. The setting's uncomfortable. Christian Campbell plays the guy, America Olivo the girl, and together... they do a pretty good job at crafting a pretty unsettling horror story, with both unexpected, expected, and unexplainable twists. Not sure it's a movie I'd recommend to anyone, but if this is what you go for then there you have it. There's plenty of shock value.

The one thing I'm missing is purpose, at least at the end, but the girl's as mysterious then as she is in the beginning, and her weakness still hasn't been used against her. For a moment you wonder if it's all in his mind, but then you realize there's much more to it than that. And yet: there's so much left untold! She moves on, to the next town, maybe, and to similar deeds... and I wonder if they planned a sequel.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Sex Drive (2008)

Sex Drive (2008)

Here's one a bit like American Pie, but better, with more crazy, and awkward, and embarrassing (well maybe not, but it provided many more laughs than the former, so in some way it was more/better), with a real love story amidst the booze and dues... all things considered I guess it's not all that different after all, but with a fresh set of characters, and craziness, and one long road trip instead of the traditional party theme it feels new. Also: Amish people.

Josh Zuckerman, Amanda Crew and Clark Duke play the main trio (though I guess the cover says that already), and their chemistry is perfect. They complement each other's characters, and all play a central part in the story. I was positively surprised to see Seth Green pop up in a surprise role too, and James Marsden as the crazy brother. Most names are ones I don't know, but they seem familiar, and perfect for the parts they play.

Since this is not a trilogy (or quadrilogy, quintilogy... however far they keep expanding it), the story feels a lot more wholesome than that one series I keep comparing it too. The premise is simple: A high school senior drives cross-country with his best friends to hook up with a babe he met online... but the way there is full of obstacles! Mostly entertaining ones. It's a movie without all that extraneous depth or emotion, but you do feel for the main character, and the ending... no spoiler. Great watch.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Musicalish #201

Time for something awesome! :D

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