The Revenant Review

Leonardo dicaprio the revenant movie review

Inspired by true events can mean, “At one point guys wore beards”

The Revenant

Inarritu, DiCaprio, & Canada

A Few Of My Favorite Things

Holy shit, this fucking movie.

I just got back from seeing The Revenant.  I went into this movie expecting to blown away, I mean Inarritu, Dicaprio, 1800’s frontier, Canada… These are all things that are fairly incredible by themselves, but thrown in together it’s a recipe for magic, and magic is just what I saw. If you are expecting a straight up revenge flick save your cash, because that’s not what you’re getting here. This movie is a study in many things. man vs man, man vs nature, revenge, love, hate and loneliness are all at play in this film. Let’s dig in.

Hugh Glass

No Relation To George

The film is the story of 19th Century explorer Hugh Glass, who during a trapping expedition was attacked by a bear, and let me be the first to tell you, the bear attack is gnarly. I can think of no better word to describe its sheer brutality. I enjoy when filmmakers set brutal violence against a beautiful back drop. The attack itself it so intense and raw that the viewers can practically feel the bear’s breath on them, and this is a true triumph for director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Violence elevated to sublimity.

The action pieces are truly wonderful. My personal favorite was the Native attack at the very beginning of the film. It was incredible. Throughout the entire film the action is handled deftly. Oh, and there is NO BEAR RAPE. Whoever started that rumor was one sick bastard.

I took a moment during a break in the action to look around the theater. Every time the bear uses its claws to rip Glass’s skin to ribbons, the audience grimaced a little bit. I saw people with their jaws on the floor. One woman had her arms crossed, and was hugging herself while her maw hung open in disbelief. The girl who I saw the movie with was sitting with her hand over her face in animal terror. Her demeanor would change by the end of he movie when she began to gleefully guffaw during a gory fight scene, little psychopath. I was snapped back into the movie when the bear continued it’s onslaught of claws and jaws, the film doesn’t let you breathe for too long.

bear attack revenant dicaprio review animated gif

This is going to get ugly

Inarritu Made A Gorgeous Film

What stood out most to me about the movie was the incredible use of the landscape, and the cinematography.  Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu really used the environment to his advantage in this movie. As our characters get closer to civilization, Inarritu makes sure you see the landscape change to reflect that.  The inflexible wildness of the Rocky Mountains melt into vast prairies.

The film was mostly shot in Alberta, Canada, where I am from, and the film utilized some of my home’s best features to illustrate the story.  From the towering mountain peaks to the frozen rapids, the low prairies, and foothills,  Alberta is a mostly untouched landscape, and Inarritu really puts it on display in this film.  He puts the audience into this world.

Inarritu au Naturale

Inarritu only shot using natural light, meaning if the sun was right for a scene the actors and crew had to get that scene before the sun moved, or else try again the next day. It’s daring filmmaking like this that modern Hollywood is sorely lacking. Hopefully the success of The Revenant will rattle a few cages on the West Coast and give experimental and daring filmmakers a little more wiggle room. We don’t need anymore reboots. We need new ideas.

THE REVENANT long shot alberta canada prairie plains

It’s really pretty in summer guys I promise. Come visit. We need the tourists.

Just Like The Bear

This film  doesn’t so much jump out and grab you as it does slowly creep inside your mind, until you’re just  sucked into it. It somehow manages to make you feel cold, lonely and desperate right along with our protagonist.  Just like the bear, the movie grabs you and doesn’t let go.

Criticisms

Now that the praise is out of the way, there are a few negative points to be made about the movie. It is extremely long, (2 hours 36 minutes) and not the kind where you walk out and say, “it didn’t feel like it was that long.”  It feels like it was that long, but I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing.

We constantly see for lack of a better term Westerns like these that are action packed, running and gunning, for 2 hours. This is in no way, shape, or form, what it was like to live out on the frontier in the 1800’s. It was desolate and lonely, so I imagine there are very long stretches of time where one wouldn’t have any interaction with anybody, let alone get into 3 shootouts on the same day.  As such, the movie does crawl at points, but for me that just helped to drive home the point that Glass is really, and truly, alone. The movie wouldn’t hit as hard if he was running into people and doing important stuff every 10 minutes.

ACTING!

I can’t discuss this film without discussing the actors, and they were all around phenomenal. Leo DiCaprio was fantastic,which is no surprise as he usually is, but here he is a different kind of DiCaprio. He’s not only grizzled and desperate, but also the silent type. I think he may say less in this film than Tom Hardy did in Mad Max. I’m not sure but I bet it’s pretty close.

Speaking of Tom Hardy, he did a wonderful job as John Fitzgerald, our main antagonist and total dick, Tom Hardy played him slimy but at the same time emotionally and physically scarred. He played him as a man who has been deep in the shit, and this isn’t his first rodeo.

For me though one performance that stood out was Will Poulter as famed mountain man Jim Bridger, albeit a very young version of Bridger.  I really enjoyed his portrayal of Bridger as somebody who is brave, tries to do the right thing, but is young and scared.

I also found it incredible how much Bridger trips in this film. There’s a great scene where Bridger and Fitzgerald are dragging Glass to his shallow grave, before leaving him for dead. Bridger trips while dragging him then leaves him, and runs off, and there’s a close up of Glass’s face, and in the background you see Bridger run across the screen and trip again. It had me cracking up in my seat.

Great Movie. Oscar Material.

This was one of my favorite movies of the entire year. It’s an Oscar contender for sure. The Revenant is just a great experience. Everybody needs to see this movie, if not for the story, then the cinematography and scenery.

The Revenant is visceral and relentless. It hits you in the beginning and then keeps  hitting you over and over. Guys, I can’t stress it enough.  See this movie. The scenery is great, the cinematography is great, the story is great, and the performances are all top notch. All cylinders are firing in this movie, so go see it. See it on the big screen. It’s incredible and definitely worth the price of admission. Bring a friend, bring a date (ok maybe not a date), bring whoever, or go alone, just get your ass to the theater and see the movie, and take it all in, you won’t regret it, and if you do I’ll fully take the blame.

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Paranormal Activity: The Nope Dimension

paranormal-activity-ghost-dimension

The best part of the movie was the popcorn

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension Is Stupid

So readers, I’ve just returned home from seeing the sixth film in the Paranormal Activity franchise, The Ghost Dimension, and it is STAGGERINGLY BAD, but we’ll tackle that in a minute. First things first. I was a massive fan of the original Paranormal Activity. I found it original and frightening. It’s simple bare bones approach created boat loads of tension, and kept viewers wanting more. And it was all done with a $15,000 budget, and became the most profitable movie of all time (base on ROI).  Then Paramount bought the franchise for $350,000 (a fucking steal), and proceeded to piss all over it.

Money < Creativity

We got Paranormal Activity 2 which in my opinion was actually pretty decent, and Paranormal Activity 3, which was also not bad. Then the whole franchise went tits up with the dull Paranormal Activity 4 and the entirely unnecessary Paranormal Activity: the Marked Ones.

Now that we’ve gotten some of the history out of the way let’s move on to the meat of The Ghost Dimension, and be warned, spoilers follow.

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………………..last warning. No bitching.

Let’s Examine This Dumpster Fire

The movie starts off with the Fleeges; a happy husband and wife named Ryan and Emily, and their young daughter Leila. Ryan’s brother Mike, and yoga instructor, Skyler are around too but for no fucking reason other than to look hot.

Ryan and Mike discover an old camcorder in a box with a ton of tapes. You guessed it. The tapes depict the immediate aftermath of Paranormal Activity 3, and Katie and Kristi’s time with The Midwive (their grandmother (now mom’s) Devil worshipping cult).

Deus Ex Camera

This is no ordinary camera kids, this is a special camera that can capture things regular cameras cannot, including demons. The camera picks up the usual horror movie shit; sounds, objects moving on their own, and (in a nod to the Amityville Horror) Toby himself, who is apparently a slightly skeletal oil monster.

Once the Fleege family figure out they’re dealing with a demon, they call a priest in to help. Apparently their daughter,who is friends with Toby (just like Amityville), burying rosary beads and trying to burn bibles didn’t tip them off.  As what always happens in these movies, the priest tells them exactly what to do to keep the demon from growing stronger, and they, ya know, don’t listen. They’re told they need to ignore it, and try to stay calm, because the demon feeds off fear. In response to this expert advice the Fleege family scream, and run around and TRY TO FILM THE FUCKING THING.

Good Work, Guys

I swear, if I had a demon that fed off fear I would bombard that thing with so much fun, and happy shit, it would literally kill itself or just fuck off. I’m talking keggers every day, Rick and Morty marathons, orgies… people would be having so much fun in my house that demon wouldn’t be able to handle being on the same block, but movie people are stupid. I digress.

Let’s move on to the evil coven’s big plan, which has taken 6 movies to come to fruition. They need children, who are all born on the same day, month and year (6/6/6), This is so they can …wait for it… get one drop of their blood to make a body for the demon, so he can walk the earth and do some shit involving the Princes of Hell. As you have guessed by now, you clever readers you, Leila happens to have been born on that date, and the demon needs her.

Witches Be Hella Inefficient

What I don’t get is if the wtches just need a drop of blood, why did they need to murder tons of people to get it? Just stalk the kids. Kids fall, scrape themselves, and do dumb shit all the time. You don’t need covens, demon hauntings and multiple homicide to get it. Just follow them on their two wheeler.

scary movie review ghost dimension

Daddy, why does our movie suck?

The shit doesn’t really hit the fan until the last 20 minutes of the film.  That’s right, it takes that long for shit to go down. The Fleeges attempts an exorcism, to get the demon to fuck off. It doesn’t work, and all but mommy die in the course of about 5 minutes.

Mommy follows her daughter to what I assume is the ghost dimension, where she finds her daughter, and sees that Toby has succeeded and has a body. Toby kills her, takes Leila and destroys the camera. Roll credits, bad guys win again. It’s the feel good movie of the fall.

dark helmet spaceballs

Movie logic.

Lies, Lies, Lies

The biggest problem in this film is how it was advertised,  They said,”You’ll finally see Toby.”They said,”all your questions will be answered.” They said, “This is the final installment.” Well I say bullshit.

You by the time the credits roll

You by the time the credits roll

The amount of threads left dangling is mind boggling, especially for a final installment.

<RANT>

What the fuck happened to Katie? She doesn’t appear AT ALL in this movie. She’s mentioned in passing as being the real estate agent who sold the Fleege’s their house (which was been built on top of her burned down childhood home). In the first film she was pivotal. It made it seem like her family, and her in particular, are a focal point of the demonic happenings.I assumed going into the Ghost Dimension that she would play a pivotal role in Toby’s end game. I was sorely disappointed.

What happened to Alex, our heroine from Paranormal Activity 4?  Despite that being the worst of the franchise I still wanted to know what happened to Alex. Last we saw her she was running with Hunter from demonically possessed Katie. Alex jumps out a window, looks up and sees a witch horde coming toward her. She turns around and is attacked by demonic Katie before the camera goes black. Ok.  We know that Toby needs to spill the blood of a virgin and she is the virgin in question, but still, show us that! Don’t assume that everybody in your audience knows that, and for those of us that do know that, show us anyway you assholes! You’re not creating art, you’re churning out product.

Who the hell was Robbie (from PA 4)? The little kid served as some kind of demonic emissary, meeting and befriending young children in order to teach them about Toby.  Then he would deliver them to the demon. What’s up with that? Oh and he also serves as a surrogate son to the possessed Katie. Why him? why doesn’t he get fed to Toby?

We also never find out what happened to little Hunter, after the events of PA 4.  I guess he just rides off into the demonic sunset. If you recall, Katie took Hunter at the end of PA2 when he’s a baby, yet at the beginning of PA4 had he been adopted by another family. Why did the demon put him up for adoption when it needed him and already had him? Did he need the tax break? It makes no sense, nor was it explained.

We also never see what happened to Jesse, who at the end of PA: The Marked Ones goes through a demon door which can transport people to any time that has heavy demonic activity, like a demonic Tardis. Jesse jumps through  while possessed and kills his best friend on the same night Katie killed her boyfriend in the first PA.  I suppose he just disappears into the demonic ether never to be heard from again.

Which brings me to my final point which is the worst offense of all.  where the fuck was Ali Rey?!?!?!  She’s the step daughter of Katie’s sister Kristi, and the step sister of Hunter. Her parents were murdered gruesomely by the demon the night possessed Katie took Hunter. Ali was on a school trip and returned home to find her parents slaughtered and her baby step brother gone,

The last time we ran into Ali was in PA: The Marked Ones, when Jesse’s friends find her contact info and talk to her about the demon.  She has tons of information and appears to have spent years hunting it, and many, including myself was hoping that in the seven years between PA:2 and The Ghost Dimension, Ali would have come up with something. She could have been the one to come in and duke it out with Toby and get a win for the good guys, finally, but instead she isn’t seen, or even mentioned and the bad guys win, as usual.

Fuck Continuity. There’s Money To Be Made

As we mentioned earlier, The Ghost Dimension also boasted a look at Toby, the demon who has been plaguing families for six movies now. Instead what we got was a weird black oil monster, some flashes of a skeletal face as it blew past people and a cheap ghostly cgi shot only included so it could pop out of the screen for those who saw the film in 3D. Boo! (the bad kind, not the scary kind)

There were a few possibilities that could have been cool. For instance Leila had been drawing pictures of a multi eyed, horned, demonic goat creature, a standard depiction of most demons. This look could have been cool. it is classic spooky and mythologically accurate. In the first PA movie, Katie’s boyfriend Micah puts down powder outside their room and awakes to taloned footprints leading into their bedroom but not out. That was awesome, and eerie.  But no. Fuck that. This version of Toby looked nothing like the three pronged talon feet seen in the first movie.

this is what they meant when they said a look at Toby?!?!?!?

this is what they meant when they said a look at Toby?!?!?!?

In the end, guys, if you’re a die hard fan of the franchise, just looking for kicks, and don’t give a shit go see the movie. Some people liked it.  People who appreciate good horror should avoid this like the plague. They promised answers, they promised a look inside the world of Toby, but in the end they provide none of it.

If this is the finale it’s a sad day for the franchise. A finale should fire on all cylinders, empty the clip, and go down in a blaze of glory. It’s an opportunity to remind fans why they loved you to begin with. Instead, the Paranormal Activity franchise went out with a whimper, limping across the finish line. It’s bullshit. It’s simply setting us up for yet another sequel, probably one that will be released directly to Blu Ray and streaming services. In fact Ghost Dimension pissed off theaters by releasing the movie on streaming services on the same day as the theater release.

</RANT>

Instead of delivering answers Ghost Dimension  simply sets up for another sequel, which I hope for simply so they can get it right. Come on PA people, hire me, I have absolutely zero experience with movies or writing or directing but hey, I still probably have more than that room full of stoned monkeys that made the Ghost Dimension, and you’re in luck, I’m super available, and I’ll work for scale.