Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: LOVE AND MONSTERS

LOVE AND MONSTERS was just the fun, smarter than it looks, adventurous action flick that I needed this shitty year. It has wonderful creature design and special effects, a new and unique reason why the world turned into an apocalyptic landscape that felt refreshing the entire one hour and 50 minute runtime, sympathetic and likable characters, a fantastic performance by NOT Logan Lerman, but Maze Runner’s Dylan O’ Brien…just the works. It has the works, I don’t know what else to say about it other than this one complaint. And it’s the stupidest complaint in the world. Why in the fuck…are you available to buy the film from Amazon, Google, or Apple for $24.99 or you can rent it for $19.99, and you can only rent it on VUDU and FandangoNow for $19.99 and not buy? Why? Why the exclusivity bullshit in being able to purchase the film? Streaming services, DO NOT START THIS! Either you all offer just rent or you all offer rent and buy, this picking and choosing what services get what is the stupidest fucking thing to do to your customers in the middle of a fucking pandemic. Makes me sick to my stomach. I wanted to blind buy this film but I wanted it on the streaming app that I have the most movies on, which is VUDU. So you know what? Fuck you, I got a friend to pirate it so I could watch it for free. Granted, I loved this movie so much that I’m going to buy it in a couple of months when you guys finally get the nerve to get the regular purchasing rights, but what I had to do this weekend could’ve been avoided. Not offering both the option to rent or buy is going to really effect your sales numbers in the long run. Might want to think about that. Anyway, that is my only complaint about this movie and it isn’t of the content in the movie itself. That’s saying something.

IMDB describes Love and Monsters with the following: “In a monster-infested world, Joel (Dylan O’Brien) learns his girlfriend is just 80 miles away. To make the dangerous journey, Joel discovers his inner hero to be with the girl of his dreams.” The most lovely thing about this movie is that it takes place in a post apocalyptic world that is nice to look at. Since Joel reveals what happened to the world at the very beginning of the movie, I guess I can reveal it without it being too much of a spoiler, that way I can describe the way I liked this world in better detail. What happened was a giant meteor was about to hit and destroy Earth and everyone got together and shot a bunch of nukes at it and successfully blew it up. But all the radiation and chemicals from those nukes rained back down on Earth and mutated bugs, amphibians, plants, some sea creatures, you get the drift. So the world is overgrown with lush flora and fauna with bright colors and and pleasing topography. One of the better looking post apocalyptic movies that I can remember as of recently. The creatures are cool looking and menacing. To put it into perspective, Love amd Monsters is a more realistic Zombieland, but with no zombies and more natural, non-juvenile humor. It has some perfect, for the long haul, set ups, that have perfect payoffs, my favorite being this long running “did you get kicked out of your colony for stealing food?” gag that wasn’t overused with has a delicious climax payoff. While the movie does have some of the nervous wimp turned smart hero end of the world cliches (O’Brien plays a more likable version of Jesse Eisenberg’s character from Zombieland here), it is made up with some unpredictable character beats and fates, such as the dog that ends up tagging along with him, and two character’s that O’Brien runs into, Guardians of the Galaxy’s Michael Rooker, and a little girl played pitch perfect sarcastic by Ariana Greenblatt…who coincidentally played Young Gamora in Avengers: Infinity War.

It’s amazing that screenplay writer Brian Duffield is two for two for me in just a couple of weeks in 2020, as he also wrote one of my favorite films this year called Spontaneous that I reviewed about a week ago. He has a way with story details and dialogue which boggles my mind how they are so good, he needs to be given a lot more stuff to do. I think that with this, Spontaneous, and the first Babysitter movie on Netflix, he has more than proven his worth. I am not familiar with the director, Michael Matthews, as he’s only directed one other indie feature of which I haven’t seen, but his direction is good here, able to film the action beats without resorting to mindless shaky cam. I always appreciate no shaky cam. Dylan O’Brien is a hell of an actor, and while everybody does a good job here including Rooker and Jessica Henwick who plays the girlfriend that he’s traveling over 80 miles in a dangerous landscape for, this whole movie is the O’Brien show. He does not have one ounce of his character from Maze Runner here, and when he goes through the motions of his wimp turned into a determined but unlikely hero character arc, he doesn’t ever get too macho for his own good where it feels out place. Near the end of the film, not to ruin anything, but he is still plays it as a bit of a wimp, but one that just received a week’s worth of built up courage and confidence. You’ll see what I mean if you study his performance from the get go. If you are reading my review, you should watch this movie whenever you can. But don’t give into Paramount Pictures studio greed and only rent the damn thing for 48 hours for $19.99. It is definitely worth a $24.99 buy or a much cheaper rental in a couple of months, but only on the streaming platform you prefer. Don’t give into this exclusivity shit. I love this film and will eventually buy it when it comes to VUDU, but the studios doing this pick and choose platform option is a monstrosity within itself.

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Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: CHEMICAL HEARTS (Amazon Prime)

Good lord I can’t wait to go back to the theater tomorrow. If Unhinged is only half a percent better than Amazon Prime’s new original movie, CHEMICAL HEARTS, I’ll be relieved. This film is the definition of sappy depressing teen angst for the sake of being sappy depressing teen angst. It’s a simple story that doesn’t have any new real revelations and it has been done a ton of times in better, older films. It brings absolutely nothing new to the table. The acting is fine, yet when your movie’s best feature is the score and musical choices, you might have a problem. This is a teen romance drama that is adapted from a novel, of which I can guarantee you the novel has something deeper and more to say than this movie did. The film also has a few interesting things to say about the chemicals in our brain and body and the movie didn’t end the way I thought it was going to, but that was it. Everything else is just standard: boy is a virgin that hasn’t had anything exciting happen in his life; beautiful girl with a walking cane obviously has a damaged past and a couple of emotional secrets; she is resistant at first, they fall in love, yada yada yada, shit happens, some light at the end of the tunnel, the end. You. Have. Seen. It. All. Before. This film makes A Walk To Remember look like a masterpiece. Could the movie had been better if the novelist actually wrote a screenplay off her novel? Probably, but the director took a stab at it, and it feels like his heart wasn’t into it, the creative chemicals in his imagination on autopilot.

Does it mean anything when I say this is Riverdale’s Lili Reinhart’s best performance? Not really. She’s an okay actress, but she is too old to be still playing these high school characters. Especially after I saw her in Hustlers last year. Her and Austin Abrams, who plays the male protagonist, are the same age, but while he looks like he still has a year or two left of pulling off high school roles, she’s about two years too late. Per IMDB, it describes Chemical Hearts as: “A high school transfer student finds a new passion when she begins to work on the school’s newspaper.” That log line is a bit misleading as it is more about the boy’s story finding out her story than the whole movie being from her point of view. Either way, it is all just teen angst bullshit with cliched dialogue, other than the few lines about chemicals in our system, that you’ve seen and heard all before. It’s nothing new, so if you eat up that shit with each and every viewing, you are probably going to like this movie. Out of two movies about teen angst that release this weekend, the other, Words On Bathroom Walls, is much more worth your time. And the studio that is producing that movie knows that, as Words On Bathroom Walls is actually getting a theatrical release (even though it would’ve worked as a perfect video on demand release as well), while Chemical Hearts is just being dumped on Amazon Prime. This movie deserves that fate, as it wouldn’t have had any type of reaction if it had released theatrically like it originally intended to. It’s a poor man’s “insert another better romance drama here.” The thing is, I don’t know if it’s going to even have a good chemical reaction on Amazon’s streaming platform, as it is just a beaker of water really, with the burner set on low.