Sunday Short Reviews

Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…

The Last Slumber Party
If you like to watch people wake up from a dream…only to discover they’re still in a dream and wake up again, then The Last Slumber Party is the movie for you. This is an awful rip off of classic slasher movies like Halloween and Friday the 13th, but with bargain bin production values and incredibly bad acting. You know a movie is bad when it’s only 80 minutes long and it still drags throughout its entire duration. There are some amusing details, like the fact that the writer/director is named Stephen Tyler, but unless you get your hands on the Rifftrax version of this movie, there is absolutely no point in watching it.
1 out of 5

The Equalizer
I had never seen any clips from the TV series The Equalizer before I watched the movie, so I was approaching this franchise completely fresh. What I got wasn’t a very remarkable movie, but an entertaining one nonetheless. Denzel Washington stars as a Home Depot employee with a mysterious past who is intent on helping people whenever he can. After he sees an underage prostitute (played by Chloe Moretz) being abused by her pimp, he sets out to put a stop to the sex trafficking operation, taking out their drug ring in the process and generally dismantling an entire criminal empire that has even corrupted the local police force. The crooks bring in their own gun-toting psychopath and his team of goons, and it all culminates in a massive showdown in a boobytrapped Home Depot. Overall, The Equalizer is an entertaining action movie, and it reminded me of other, similar Denzel Washington films like Man on Fire, where he played that One Good Man Against An Army character. The showdown at Home Depot is also a terrific sequence, and well worth watching the movie to see. My main complaint, however, is that the film has an overlong running time of two and a half hours, and easily an hour of that could have been cut without losing anything. The payoff of the final action set piece makes it all worthwhile, but I found myself checking the clock in the second act, wondering when things were going to pick up again.
3 out of 5

Whiplash views like Full Metal Jacket at a music academy with J.K. Simmons in the R. Lee Ermey role. This film does everything right and is filled with energetic cinematography, amazing drum skills, and top notch verbal sparring between Simmons and star Miles Teller. The story is uncomplicated – an aspiring jazz drummer is pushed to his limits by an overbearing instructor – but the devil is in the details. The way Simmons handles his character makes you both love and hate him, and even though he is being physically and mentally abused by his teacher, you completely understand why Teller’s character endures it. Anyone who has ever had an ambition to be the greatest in their field will connect with this story, and even if you don’t relate, you will find lots to enjoy in the performances, script and the music at the heart of it all. In a time when so many movies have bloated, two-hour-plus running times, I cannot describe how much I appreciated a film that’s ninety minutes long and never wastes a beat. Pun intended. Watch this movie.
4.5 out of 5

See you next Sunday for more thrilling short reviews!

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