Review of Movie Titles
By: Jason Bechard

Hey, I Watched This! Reviewing Movies I've watched recently.

Hello again, Friends!

I'm back, with a mixed bag of reviews, of 2 flicks, each one recommended to me by my sons.

First up, recommended by my youngest son, Xander, Rapture-Palooza (2013).

Written by Chris Matheson (co-writer of the Bill and Ted films), directed by Paul Middleditch, and starring Anna Kendrick(yes, that Anna Kendrick), John Francis Daley(Freaks and Geeks, Waiting), Craig Robinson(yes, that Craig Robinson), and Rob Cordry (Hot Tub Time Machine).

Here's the IMDB synopsis, "Two teens battle their way through a religious apocalypse on a mission to defeat the Antichrist."

Kind of like Zombieland (2009) meets This is the End (2013). (Interesting fact, this rapture comedy was released 5 days prior to This is the End, and both films feature Craig Robinson!)

This flick is weird and wacky fun, with emphasis on the weird! Opening with a backstory narration by Kendrick, this take on the Rapture includes annoying locust bugs yelling "SUFFER" all the time, foul-mouthed crows that spout filthy comments, random flaming rock storms, and zombies(called wraiths?) that prefer Weed to human flesh. The people left behind seem to have adapted and moved on with their lives, midst all of this. Just plain weird. But a lot of silly fun.

The entire cast do exactly what you would expect of them, which is good, because what they all do, they do so well, but no one is stretching their acting chops here.

Kendrick is her usually adorable self, which I will take any day of the week. (I LOVE HER!) Daley is the typical boyfriend type, ready to fight for his woman, despite not being, in anyway, physically intimidating. Cordry is his usual slimy, dirt bag type. Robinson slides into all his filthy comedic glory as the Antichrist, doing all the silly sexy shtick he is known for. Sprinkle in a little Ken Jeong (which is always a plus) in a surprise role near the end, and a boatload of other popular comedy actors (Ana Gasteyer, John Michael Higgns, Thomas Lennon, Paul Scheer, Rob Huebel) in various roles, and you have a very funny cast, having a lot of fun, with a crazy bizarre story.

It's silly, slap-sticky, dirty humor, with fun cast. Not a great flick, but not horrible either. Just fun. If you prefer you rapture comedy movie to be a little more "real" and dramatic, watch This is the End (2013), but if you prefer slapstick and a lot of sexual innuendo, this is the rapture comedy flick for you!

I give Rapture-Palooza (2013), 3 out of 5 Stars.

The next review is really "shifting gears" for me. A purely dramatic film recommended by my older son, Talamon, Calvary (2014).

Written and directed by John Michael McDonagh (The Guard 2011), and starring Brendan Gleeson (a legend), Chris O' Dowd ( The IT Crowd, and a ton of other things), and Kelly Reilly(Flight, Sherlock Holmes (2009), Eden Lake).

Here's the IMDB synopsis, "After he is threatened during a confession, a good natured priest must battle the dark forces closing in around him."

I will admit, I don't watch these types of dramatic pieces all that often. I am more drawn towards the "popcorn fun" style of films. That being said, when I do experience this type of film, it is usually an engaging and emotional experience. Calvary(2014) is no exception.

This story is enthralling, following the daily routine of the priest, and his interactions with his congregation in their small town, all with the ominous death threat hanging overhead. The townsfolk all have their own little secrets and shames, which brings a few moments of levity, but not enough to upset the balance of the film's tone. An excellent character piece, with a splash of whodunit, makes for a really special film. Not quite like any other flick out there, and that's always a good thing.

Brendan Gleeson truly shines as Father James, but considering the role was specifically made for him, this is no surprise. Whether he's dealing with the town adulteress, an eccentric millionaire looking to repent, or his own daughter struggling with suicidal tendencies, his performance is purely genuine and heartfelt. One of his best performances, for sure. The rest of the cast are strong in their roles, as well. Particularly, Chris O' Dowd, giving a much more solemn and subdued performance than he's known for (usually witty comedy).

All in all, it's a slow and engaging story, that builds to a surprising final act, that really is rather unexpected, and is delivered with some truly fine acting.

An excellent film experience, I give Calvary (2014) 5 stars! I highly recommend you check it out.

Thanks again folks! See you next month!

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