Please Subscribe (2013) Film Review

Please SubscribeA documentary about the lives of YouTube celebrities sure sounds like it could be interesting.  I ended up losing interest about halfway through.  It tried several times to answer one question, why are these videos popular?  In the end there really is not a concrete reason.  Each “famous” YouTuber interviewed had no idea how their videos got so popular.  I use the term famous loosely as there was only one person that I recognized throughout the entire documentary, Dan Brown, the guy who did that great video on how to solve a Rubik’s Cube.  I guess it shows how much variety there is on YouTube.  When I think of top YouTube personalities, they are all gaming related.

This is how I learned to solve a Rubik’s Cube.

I can’t help but feel that this documentary would have been more interesting if it used people that I recognize, but that is a narrow-minded outlook.  The main issue that I have is that most of the YouTubers were vloggers.  I do not have a problem with vlogs, but it is just that vlogs by nature are already exploring behind the scenes of a person’s life so it seems redundant to spend time exploring the making of one.   I think it would be interesting however, to watch a YouTuber make a documentary using footage from his or her vlogs.

There is a false ending that feels out of place.  The credits roll and another ten minute interview takes place, followed by more credits.   Did the director forget about the interview and shove it in at the last minute?   Maybe it was done for comedic effect.  The final interview was interesting and should have been placed earlier in the documentary, certainly before the credit roll.

Please Subscribe is repetitive.  The time spent watching it is better spent on YouTube looking for new channels to subscribe to.  If you are interested in seeing a great behind the scenes/making of video, James Rolfe has a great video of how he makes an Angry Video Game Nerd episode.

Sizzling Bacon (2014) Film Review

“Sizzling Bacon” on Netflix was strange to watch.  Around four minutes in, the cook’s hands appear on the screen to flip the bacon.  The cook is never seen again.  What happened to him?  Did he die?  The ending suggests that something terrible has happened.   What other reason could there be to suddenly stop cooking the bacon before it has reached sizzling perfection?

Something just seems off about “Sizzling Bacon”.  Even after 16 minutes (possibly longer as the movie begins with the bacon already in the pan), the bacon still looks raw.  At first I thought that the footage may have been looped as the sizzling dies down and starts back up again near the 13 minute mark, but the bacon gradually changes appearance and does not convulse in any recognizable pattern.  There is a possibility that the events actually unfold backwards, but that seems too artsy for a movie about bacon.

“Sizzling Bacon” was slightly disappointing as the bacon on the cover is only used as a stock image in the movie for the opening credits.  Watch “Fireplace for Your Home” instead.  It is more pleasing to look at than two strips of uncooked bacon.

Rubber (2010) Film Review

A killer tire?  What will people come up with next?  Rubber has a crazy premise but it might be too weird for its own good.

The movie starts off with a police officer explaining how certain scenes from famous movies happened for no reason.  Just like the intro would suggest, many of the scenes in Rubber happen for no reason.  There is a subplot where people are gathered in a desert with binoculars to watch a movie which is actually the events of Rubber happening in real time.  It’s pointless.  I didn’t need to hear their reactions to the movie.  The worst part is that these scenes with the audience happen so frequently.   It is as if the director was trying to make Rubber longer than it had to be.  Maybe this should have been a short film.

The scenes that focus on Robert, the killer tire, are more tolerable.  If you are a fan of exploding heads, there are a handful of moments that make the film worth checking out.  If that doesn’t interest you, there is no reason to watch Rubber.

Men in Black Film Review

I have always been fascinated with the title “Men in Black”.  Something about it just feels right when you are saying it, just like “Gone in 60 Seconds” or “Zenon: The Sequel”.  The title lives up to all expectations, there are indeed men in black suits.  What else could you possibly want?  Aliens?  Giant guns?  A rap song by Will Smith?  This film has all of that.  Some of the special effects may not have aged well, but since the movie does not take itself too seriously, it just makes it more entertaining.  “Men in Black” is an energetic film and is great if you are looking for something easy to watch.

Elevator (2011) Film Review


The cover that Netflix uses for this movie is so misleading. It features a woman being dragged into an elevator by some sort of monster. There is no monster. The woman on the cover does not even appear in the movie. Elevator is about nine people that get stuck in an elevator after an insufferable ten-year-old stops it. It is revealed that one of them has a bomb and they must figure out a way to escape. It is not a deep psychological thriller like Netflix claims, but it does manage to hold your attention and it ends up being rather humorous.

Since the premise is so simple, I don’t want to reveal too much. Aside from the intro, the entire movie takes place in an elevator. There are a few things about the setup that left me kind of confused. The movie starts off with people arriving to a party that is at the very top of a 52 story building. Clearly taking an elevator is the only logical way to get there as walking up that many flights of stairs in formal attire would be a nightmare. It sounds like there was going to be a lot of people attending this party as there is someone waiting outside the elevator urging people to wait for it to get full before going up. I would imagine that it would take a few minutes for each trip to be completed for a building that tall so it is understandable that elevator travel be as efficient as possible. An easier solution would have just been to host the party on the ground floor. Other than that there are no plot holes that I found while watching this movie.

What makes Elevator pleasing to watch is the acting. None of the characters are bland or generic and you can feel the tension between them as their futures continue to grow bleaker. I really hope that this is intentional, but it feels like a dark comedy. Some moments are just too absurd for it not to be a dark comedy. Absurd is the perfect word to describe this movie. If you are looking for a crazy movie to watch, Elevatormight be just what you are looking for.

Upside Down Film Review

I stumbled across this movie while trying to find something to watch on Netflix. The premise sounded interesting, a story about a world that has dual gravity. How does dual gravity even work? Well, the movie attempts to create its own set of rules about how there are two twin planets, each with its own opposite gravity. Basically, objects are pulled by the gravity it originates from and will ignite after a certain time. This means that if an object was to cross between worlds, that object would now fall up instead of down. It sounds confusing, but the concept allows for some striking visuals. Unfortunately, Upside Down suffers from confusing storytelling and a lack of consistency between the rules of gravity it creates.

If dual gravity was not unique enough, Upside Down sets itself apart by being a romantic science fiction film. I did not even realize that was a genre. Anyways, the lovers in this film are Adam and Eden, played by Jim Sturgess and Kirsten Dunst respectively. They are from opposite worlds which are simply named Up and Down. They meet as children when they both happen to be walking up a mountain in their own worlds. Adam tries to bring Eden down to his world by using a rope. It works and they have a great time together, until they are caught by other people. For some reason, people from opposite worlds are not allowed to interact with each other and it is a very serious offense to do so. Adam attempts to return Eden to Up but she accidentally falls, causing a puddle of blood to rush from her head.

The film then jumps ahead ten years and we see Eden appearing on a TV show, working for TransWorld. I guess she managed to survive the fall. It did not seem likely that her body would be found in time, considering that she was on the top of what seemed to be an abandoned mountain. Maybe authorities from Adam’s world alerted Up about her body. Anyways, now knowing where Eden can be found, Adam also gets a job at TransWorld. The appearance of TransWorld was confusing at first as the film never made it clear that such a massive building exists. It is the only building that stretches across both worlds. I am still kind of confused as to what TransWorld actually does, but Adam is able to finish working on a face-lift cream that he has been working many years on.

With the help of his co-worker, Bob from Up, Adam is able to meet Eden again. Adam escapes the movie’s rules of gravity through the use of weights obtained from Up. This does not prevent Adam’s clothes from igniting, however and has to retreat back to Down. His clothes catching fire are the least of his worries as Eden suffers from amnesia and has no previous knowledge of Adam’s existence. Through a well-timed dream sequence, Eden suddenly remembers who he is, causing a lot of happiness between the two when they meet again.

Upside Down takes its time in developing the plot until the second half where the plot moves so quickly that the wonder of dual gravity starts to fall apart. Adam becomes a fugitive once people from Up realize that he is from Down. He gets threatened by TransWorld for not telling them the secret ingredient in his face-lift cream. Eden gets arrested for interacting with Adam. Bob gets fired and spends his time at home coming up with a way to cross worlds without weights. He also buys the patent to Adam’s cream. The film did not establish that there was even a patent for it and this line was said in passing, which is weird because it ends up solving one of the biggest problems Adam is experiencing. In the final scene, Eden reveals to Adam that she is pregnant and the film abruptly ends by explaining that the pregnancy changed the world and that people from Up and Down are now allowed to interact with each other.

The ending is so abrupt that it makes the entire movie feel like a joke. There is not a scene in the movie that would imply that Adam could even be the father of the child. How exactly did this child form equality between Up and Down? I don’t think there has been such an important child in film since John Connor from the Terminator series. It is probably the film’s way of trying to include biblical parallels. The movie sure does set itself up for one, I mean, Adam and Eden, it is so obvious.

The laws of gravity that make the movie so intriguing to watch are also ruined. There are inconsistencies throughout the film that make it even harder to understand how the gravity is supposed to work. In one scene while Adam is in Up, his tie starts floating. Unless he was wearing a tie clip, his tie should have always been floating. What about the skirts that Eden wears? You would think that they would be impossible to keep down. Another inconsistency is the drinks that Eden orders from a restaurant in Up. The drink floats up, meaning that it is from the opposite world. Matter from the opposite world eventually catches on fire. I just do not understand how she is able to drink without killing herself or how she was even able to swallow the drink in the first place without choking. I think I might be overthinking it, but if the movie took the time to try and create a logical set of rules, it should at least follow them.

Upside Down tries to do way too much in a span of two hours. The plot becomes too convoluted for its own good and becomes confusing for unnecessary reasons. Despite the amazing idea of dual gravity, I have a hard time recommending it. The visuals are incredible, but are the only worthwhile part of the film. I would suggest just watching the trailer just to get a snippet of the visuals without having to be letdown by the weak story.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home Film Review

Netflix is typically right when it comes to recommending titles that I may possibly enjoy. With a suggested rating of 4.1 stars, I decided to give Jeff, Who Lives at Home a watch. About mid-way through my viewing, I had a strong feeling that this recommendation was wrong. I tried to keep an open mind while watching the film, but I had a hard time connecting with any of the characters.

Unlike the name of the film implies, there is actually very little screen time showing Jeff living at home. At the start of the movie, Jeff is seen in his bathroom, rambling into an audio recorder about his most recent viewing of Signs. He appears to be obsessed with Signs and makes references to it multiple times throughout the film. Immediately, something feels odd about Jeff and it just gets worse as he gets a phone call from his mother who threatens to kick Jeff out if he does not buy the wood glue she asked for. It seems weird that Jeff’s mother would be upset about something as trivial as wood glue. Clearly, she is unhappy with Jeff still living with her, which just made me wonder why she even let it go on for this long in the first place.

The movie just gets stranger from there. His quest for wood glue keeps being put on hold as Jeff becomes distracted with people named Kevin. Eventually, he runs into his brother Pat, played by Ed Helms, and a second plot is created. Pat is concerned that his relationship is falling apart and uses Jeff to help spy on his wife. Nothing is special about this and it is not remotely funny. Another unfunny storyline is created with Jeff’s mother, Sharon, and her secret admirer at work. Sharon talks to her secret admirer using AIM. By this point, the film had lost all credibility to me. The movie tries to unite all of these stories with one of the most forced endings I have witnessed.

Maybe the ending was supposed to be some sort of joke. I guess the comedy just went right over my head. The movie failed to make me laugh. The idea the Jeff, Who Lives at Home is trying to impose, that everything it connected, is made all too clear. The characters were unlikable which in turn made the plot uninteresting. Jeff, who lives at home, should have stayed at home.


Tapped Film Review

A documentary about bottled water, it sounds simple enough.  Then you realize there are more issues with these bottles than just recycling.  You will quickly become thirsty, and have second thoughts about reaching over for your bottle of water.  Is this documentary convincing enough to stop you from using water bottles?  Maybe, but the information presented here is interesting, and at the very least you will learn how most companies get the water required to fill all of the bottles.
The effects used to present maps and statistics are nice.  With a movie about water, I would have expected the color scheme of these parts of the documentary to be in various shades of blue instead of relying on oranges and yellows.
The documentary mentions that if consumer habits continue the way they are today, then our water supply will be depleted.  It is not a stretch to say that this will happen.  The problem lies with how this idea is expressed, which is by mentioning droughts throughout the United States.  While it is a problem, it would have been interesting to see how our water usage affects the entire world, especially in locations which do not have easy access to clean sources of water.

Frightening statistics about the amount of plastic in samples of ocean water show the damaging effects that bottled water have for our health.  As one of the major issues being addressed in this documentary, a thorough job was done showing the various aspects that water bottles have on people’s health.  
Did this documentary make me change my water drinking habits?  No, they are too convenient.  Would I consider using a reusable bottle?  Perhaps, but that would assume I want to drink water at any moment of the day.  It was interesting, even if it was a bit more serious than I was expecting.  It only begs to ask what other common everyday items have such a huge impact on environmental health.

Airplane! Film Review

Have you ever been so bored that you wanted to kill yourself?  I guarantee you will not feel this way when watching Airplane!.  It is essentially like watching a live-action cartoon with the way background characters behave and the physics of the plane itself.  Plenty of well timed over-exaggerations are to be found here.  This film has no problem making fun of itself.  Combine the humor with the outrageous plot of war veteran Ted Striker having to land a plane due to a mysterious outbreak of food poisoning and you have a complete package of comedic gold.  Surely, I can’t be serious, but I am.  This film literally has everything, jokes, innuendos, romance, war flashbacks and even Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  His appearance should be a solid reason alone to see this film.  Over thirty years later, Airplane! is funny and is an excellent example of just how much movies with a PG rating could get away with back then.