Ted Bundy was one of the most notorious serial killers in American history, second to Charles Manson, committing a series of grisly murders of thirty plus women in the states of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Florida, Colorado, and Utah. His crimes were described by Judge Edward Cowart as “Extremely wicked, shockingly evil, vile, and the product of design to inflict a high degree of pain”, and he was executed in the Florida State Prison on January 24, 1989. Though he was a despicable human being with no regard of human life, what sort of separated him from other serial killers was how charismatic he was; no other person could take on the persona of Bundy like Zac Efron, an actor with enough charisma to carry a movie, which is exactly what he does in this scatterbrained biopic based on the memoir ‘The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy’ by his former girlfriend Elizabeth Kendall (Portrayed by Lily Collins).
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For the past month, it has been really hard to go on Facebook without running into a ‘Bird Box’ meme; you know, the image of Sandra Bullock wearing a blindfold while rowing a boat with two kids inside it? I have honestly never seen a movie as talked about/hyped up since Disney’s ‘Frozen’ back in 2013, let alone one from Netflix. I have heard of shows like ’13 Reasons Why’ and ‘Orange is the New Black’ going viral, but as far as Netflix original movies go, they are rarely discussed. I am glad that the hype train has given me the opportunity to check it out myself. From what I can tell you, ‘Bird Box’ is actually good, though I do not get the hype.
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For those wondering about ‘The Grinch’, it is not like the Jim Carrey/Ron Howard collaboration at all, it is bright, colorful, whimsical, and touching despite mostly being filler for a story meant to be short. In other words, it is definitely better. Though nothing beats Chuck Jones’ 1966 animated Christmas special that made the green mischief-maker a Christmas staple, Illumination’s take on Dr. Seuss’ spiteful-yet-beloved character is as sweet as a sugar cookie, even when it is not much.
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With the way ‘The Meg’ was marketed, you would not expect anything more than an action B-movie starring Jason Statham, yet surprisingly, a lot of effort and care has been taken to make sure Jon Turteltaub’s adaptation of Steve Alten’s science-fiction horror novel ‘Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror’ was as thrilling of a shark movie as it could be. Despite having humorous moments, audiences expecting B-movie fun will either be disappointed, or find themselves enjoying what they came for; depending on how they see it. As much of a B-movie lover I am, I walked in expecting nothing more than an entertaining, albeit disposable, bad shark movie fit for the SyFy channel, yet instead walked out of something much more. In fact, I could say that ‘The Meg’ is one of the best shark movies since ‘Jaws’!
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I hate to say this, but I actually missed ‘Wonder’ when it was released in theaters. Now that I have finally watched it when it was held at my city’s park a few Fridays ago, I must say that I regret not going out and seeing this movie on the big screen. ‘Wonder’ is a movie that manages to balance hopefulness, emotion, and humor all through its near two hours. Though it almost feels sidetracked at times, and one moment could come off as manipulative, ‘Wonder’ is never dull.
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I have never felt so much emotion watching a high school movie than I did after ‘Love, Simon’ – based on Becky Albertalli’s book ‘Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda’. It is one of the most realist, honest, sweetest, and heartbreaking films I have seen in a long time, even when it manages to feel cartoonish at times (No thanks to Tony Hale’s portrayal of a high school teacher looking to connect with his students). I still managed to see ‘Love, Simon’ for what it was; a walk in a closeted gay teenager’s shoes.
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While watching ‘Ready Player One’, you would immediately forget that Steven Spielberg’s newest visual spectacle was based on Ernest Cline’s novel. From a cinematic viewpoint, it is a big-budget action epic with so many blink-and-you-will-miss-it pop culture references, ranging from characters like The Iron Giant and Chucky to vehicles like the DeLorean, the bike from ‘Akira’, and Christine. Nerds will find themselves having a blast trying to spot every Easter egg, while movie-goers will no doubt enjoy the amazing virtual world Spielberg has brought to life. Thinking about it, ‘Ready Player One’ has something for everyone to enjoy.
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It is no surprise that ‘Fifty Shades Freed’ – A.K.A. the third and final chapter of the ‘Fifty Shades’ trilogy – is terrible. In fact, it is kind of expected from a trilogy based on ‘Twilight’ fan fiction. We have no one to unfortunately thank than author E.L. James for making porn disguised as an erotic romance involving BDSM. Had 2015’s ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ not been successful, we probably would not have received two more sequels. You might be wondering, why would I see a movie that I know is going to be terrible in the first place? Let’s just say that it is a matter of unfinished business; as they say “It’s a dirty job and somebody’s gotta do it!”
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I cannot guarantee that Netflix’s newest movie, ‘Gerald’s Game’ – based on Stephen King’s 1992 novel of the same name (and the third adaptation this year after ‘The Dark Tower’ and ‘It’) – is an easy watch; (as with most captivity thrillers) but if one were to get through a hodgepodge of ghostly visions, insanity, and a climax that I could describe as disturbingly and grotesquely unnerving for a film of its caliber, as I did, he or she will feel the epiphany of its themes in a way no horror movie has tried. Writer/Director Mike Flanagan (‘Oculus’, ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil’) makes ‘Gerald’s Game’ play out like a Bob Ross painting; it may not seem like much in the beginning, but once near completion, the picture is clear, and the beauty can be fully realized. It is amazing how something so simple can make you see things differently when all is said and done.
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