Somebody’s got a new Ouija Board – Ouija: Origin of Evil

Before watching new movies, I generally try to find out if they’re worth watching without actually finding out anything about the movie itself. that is also generally how I try to write here about films – without actually telling anything about the story line. That is fairly tricky, if I aim to have blog posts longer than fifty words. With that in mind, where does Ouija: Origin of Evil fit in?

Ouija: Origin of Evil

Regardless, for me, that’s especially true with new horror movies. I don’t want to find out any twists in advance, but I also don’t want to be disappointed by less than mediocre horror flick. And a good twist is less likely than a bad horror film. I can’t (or won’t) tell you here about any twists, but Ouija was worth it. I did my basic checks: IMDB score, meta score, some super quick googling without reading any of the articles and fortunately ended up going to watch it in the cinemas, just like you should. And like you should with any good horror film. They’re obviously at their best in a big dark hall with massive screen and huge sound system.

Directed by Mike Flanagan, Ouija: Origin of Evil was a pleasant surprise then, as you can gather from above. I almost didn’t bother checking the film out due to not having heard anything positive about the previous Ouija board movie. The director’s name was probably the first clue. I was not familiar with the name and haven’t really seen his earlier films, but it soon became clear Mike knows what he’s doing.

The cast and acting is great, especially Annalise Basso and Lulu Wilson. Elizabeth Reaser, probably the more famous of the three, was ok too although not quite as memorable.

The looks and style of the movie follow the style and look of the genre, which just seems how these things work at the moment. The film mostly reminded me of the first Conjuring movie. But that’s enough, the name of the movie should be clue enough about what’s going to happen. I guess ‘Origin’ in the name refers to the fact this is prequel to the other fairly recent Ouija Board movie, which you can probably happily skip.

For those not too bothered about finding out a bit more, watch the trailer below:

It’s not like Nightcrawler, it’s Nocturnal Animals

So it’s another big hit with Amy Adams. I guess also another big one for Tom Ford, although I did not like Single Man quite so much as Nocturnal Animals.

Amy Adams in Nocturnal Animals

I may have already said that Arrival was one of the best films of 2016 and this one is not far off either. The Intro is absolutely stunning, unexpected, and visually and every other way amazing.

Once you get your head around the story, you may need adjust the way you are thinking about this movie while still watching. It’s like the movie forces you to watch it in a certain manner. Maybe just to start with the story is a bit confusing, but as soon as it makes sense, it is definitely something different. The pace feels fairly slow occasionally and builds up the story nicely along the way.

Amy Adams is great, but Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon pretty much run the show. Visually the film is really beautiful down to the last detail as you would expect from Tom Ford. At least based on his previous film, and his background, since he is fairly new to directing (and writing movies). Michael Shannon feels a bit over the top, Jake is more or less in a familiar type of role that he has no problems dealing with, and Amy Adams somehow manages to keep it all together. It’s not just the three of them, but the supporting roles are not quite so memorable, although they were all ok.

Somehow even with just one previous movie, you can tell from the looks and the pace of the film, possibly even the type of story and the mood, that this is a Tom Ford movie. yet the movie takes place in a completely different kind of environment.

Watch Nocturnal Animals trailer here:

Who lives down Cloverfield Lane?

Now this post will be super short. 10 Cloverfield Lane is probably best watched without knowing much at all about the movie itself so I try not to go to specifics here. In fact I really will not go into detail at all. What you see below is one cast member and that’s about all you get.

10 Cloverfield Lane

What you do need to know is that this film seems to divide viewers and not everyone likes this film. And since we can see her in the picture above, I will also add that Mary Elizabeth Winstead does a great job (as does the rest of the main cast).

It’s also probably safe to say a word or two about the director, Dan Trachtenberg. He has since then directed one of the better episodes of the scifi television series Black Mirror. But considering this is his only proper movie credit as a director, he’s really done a great job and we’ll probably hear from him again.

Since I’m avoiding talking about the movie, should also add that Mary Elizabeth Winstead is in another great television series, Fargo, later on this year. Personally I thought the first season was better than second, so I’m fairly anxious to see if third season turns out any good (or better).

Acting is great throughout, the atmosphere is perfect for this type of film, cinematography is ok. One thing I’m not sure about is the name of the movie, I’m not sure it’s the best choice, but I have also read about the process behind it, so I guess it made sense at the time. The movie was produced by J.J. Abrams and I suppose he had something to do with it.

And if you absolute must, then keep going but really, it’s best you just watch the film.

Watch 10 Cloverfield Lane trailer below

Sully – miracle hero without major obstacles

One of the very few slightly more unexpected moments of Sully are right in the beginning. And for a while seems a slightly more linear approach to telling the story has been ditched to try to hide the simplistic nature of the film.

Tom Hanks as Sully

Tom Hanks plays real life hero Chesley Sullenberger in Clint Eastwood‘s latest, Sully. Tom Hanks rarely acts badly and he does well here too, and compared with Wikipedia’s record of the real events, seems Clint Eastwood tried to stay fairly faithful to the ‘original story’, at least how it is remembered today.

One of the better parts of the film is probably Aaron Eckhart‘s role as Sully’s co-pilot. Apart from that, the film’s unavoidable and predictable outcome without any real glitches make it a bit uninteresting.

The film very much brings to mind Denzel Washington‘s Flight, which is not stuck following a true story, and thus has much more freedom with the story line. And perhaps rightly for that reason it is also much more interesting, even if it also has its own problems.

Sully was, however, still entertaining and maybe thanks to fairly short running time, Tom Hanks managed just about to keep the story together. I would have expected much more from Clint Eastwood though.

The miraculous nature of the real emergency landing, and the exceptional character of Chesley Sullenberger, are maybe those situations where real life is more amazing than fiction. However, a good film requires a bit more and that is what the film makers seemed to have forgotten. Or maybe they were just blinded by the real events.

I didn’t mean to sound quite so negative as I did watch the whole film and did mostly enjoy it. Do judge for yourself and at least check out a few trailers. If in doubt, read a couple of more reviews.

Watch Sully trailer below

Arrival takes communication to another level

Different film genres have different clichés attached to them; comedy is hard, old horror films were great. Arrival is science fiction, and science fiction covers so many different things that we avoid similar basic prejudices. But since science fiction always assumes something from the future, it also divides viewers between those who find it believable and those who don’t.


There’s been some great science fiction films lately, like Interstellar. And some find Gravity good too. Ex Machina, Her and the new Mad Max were also definitely worth watching, even if they were completely different type of films.

Denis Villeneuve is a relatively new director but he had definitely shown his strengths in the short span of time making films. The atmosphere and premise of Arrival is stunning, the visuals amazing, and direction of the actors is superb.

Amy Adams steals the show, how ever much Forest Whitaker’s strong persona tries to intervene. Jeremy Renner is great support, and the CGI is convincing enough, for sure.

Arrival is slightly slow, and the structure of the film (for obvious reasons after watching the film) is slightly confusing and might warrant a second viewing even. There seemed to be some minor inconsistencies in the plot, or maybe it’s just me. I’ll definitely put this on my list of films to watch a second time. A feeling like after watching Memento, or Fight Club. Not so much Sixth Sense.

Just like Denis Villeneuve, Amy Adams really is worth mentioning again, as she also starred in the completely different type of masterpiece, The Nocturnal Animals, released almost at the same time with Arrival. Hopefully will add review for The Nocturnal Animals soon to the site as well.

While always trying not to actually say much about the film itself, those of you reading this and who have not heard anything else about the film, just know that this is not one of those science fiction action films. If that’s the kind of entertainment you’re looking for, maybe check out Passengers instead (I have not seen it yet, but if I do, I will let you know my thoughts on it too).

Watch Arrival trailer below:

War Dogs or just plain puppies

I was somewhat surprised by War Dogs. (I almost wrote War Gods… that would be very wrong type of description.) Puppies describes it much better). Based on previews and trailers I had expected something of a Hangover type of crazy mess. But watching this film, sometimes you wonder if you’re watching a comedy at all. While I had no clue to start with, I was soon convinced the film is based on a true story after all.

War Dogs - Todd Phillips movie starring Jonah Hill, Miles Teller and Bradley Cooper

Jonah Hill is just right for his part, without him the film would be no good at all. In fact I think the film would be better if Jonah’s part was bigger, as now Miles Teller has considerable larger share of screen time. While he really is a good casting choice for this particular part, the part itself doesn’t carry its weight very well. Also,the whole family drama surrounding him fails at building the character properly, ending up just wasting time. Talking about waste, Bradley Cooper‘s part is small, more of a cameo, and while not bad, doesn’t really add much to the story and feels a bit forced.

Despite sounding negative, the film is fairly enjoyable. Nothing spectacular about cinematography, but it looks nice enough and locations are good. I tried to enjoy it as a comedy and while it does have its funny moments, I think the way it attempts to be something other than a comedy – being a true story and all – that kind of backfires on the film.

Looking back at it, it’s simply less funny that way, maybe because it’s attempting to follow a story that really isn’t that funny. In the beginning, when I spotted the familiar ‘based on a true story’ bit, the first thing that came to my mind was Fargo. The Coen brothers had it in Fargo – which was not a true story at all. Then again, being a true story doesn’t mean that it can’t be funny – just watch Jim Carrey’s I love you Phillip Morris.

Watch War Dogs trailer: