Tag Archives: Dermot Mulroney

Careful What You Wish For (2015)

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I was a little concerned I didn’t have enough material for my list of worst movies of the year, and so I decided to watch Careful What You Wish For, an “erotic thriller” about a teenager (Nick Jonas — apparently he was in some boy band with his brothers) who gets more than he bargained for during his summer vacation when he enters into an affair with the trophy wife (Australia’s very own Isabel Lucas) of a grumpy middle-aged douchebag (Dermot Mulroney). Sounds like Oscar material, right?

Sadly, despite seemingly possessed with all the elements of a terrible movie, Careful What You Wish For won’t be featured on my 10 worst movies list for 2015. I know, I’m as stunned as you are.

The movie starts off pretty much as you would expect. The teenager and his family head to their vacation home and he sees a beautiful woman moving in next door. Some casual flirting ensues and for contrived situations are created to give them opportunities to spend more time together and, most importantly, for the teen to take off his shirt, revealing a buffed bod at odds with his book-loving, virginal persona.

Up to this point, the film is as bad as any B-grade movie you might catch on late night television. It’s an erotic thriller that’s neither erotic nor thrilling. The performances are mediocre even though you can tell Jonas is really trying — Mulroney is clearly in it for the cheque, while it’s kind of sad watching Isabel Lucas relegated to these kind of roles (I think the last two films I saw her in were The Loft and Red Dawn). Perhaps its the Transformers curse. I mean, how many good roles have Megan Fox, Rachael Taylor and Rosie Huntington Whiteley had since?

Somehow, however, Careful What You Wish For redeems itself a little after a major turn in the story that’s not unpredictable but at least better than what I had been expecting. From there, the plot has a bit more intrigue and stops merely going through the motions. In the end, the film turned out to be a cautionary tale for me — don’t watch a movie expecting it to be one of the worst of the year. Instead, it wasn’t bad enough to be on the list, nor was it bad enough to be in the “so bad it’s good” category. Unfortunately, it was just another typical bad film.

2 stars out of 5

Movie Review: Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)

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The original Insidious was pretty good until falling apart in the final act. Insidious: Chapter 2 was so forgettable that I barely remember anything about it. And so it was expected that Insidious: Chapter 3 would be a complete waste of time, a greedy cash grab.

To my surprise, the third instalment of Insidious was much better than I anticipated. It’s still a formulaic modern horror in the same vein as its predecessors and most other horror flicks these days, but it’s a relatively well-executed one that offers some effective scares.

Part of the reason the film feels fresher than it ought to have been is because it’s a prequel as opposed to a sequel, so you don’t really need to have seen any of the other films in the franchise to follow what’s going on. The only returning character is Lin Shaye as medium Elise, and she gets much more screen time as we delve into her backstory.

The other pertinent factor is that the film marks the directorial debut of Aussie Leigh Whannell, partner in crime of director James Wan. The duo first came to fame thanks to Saw, which Whannell wrote and Wan directed. He also wrote the first two Insidious films as well as this third one, but with Wan going off to direct Fast and Furious 7, this marked the perfect opportunity for Whannell to try his luck at the director’s chair.

What I am trying to say from all this is that Whannell knows what he is doing from all those years working alongside Wan, and he understands the material inside out because has been writing the whole thing since the very beginning. Furthermore, it’s his first time directing, so he was able to throw in a lot of new tricks he must have been saving up.

The story is not that important but I’ll give a quick intro. A young girl named Quinn (Stefanie Scott) goes to see a medium (Shaye) about her deceased mother, and a subsequent reading unleashes a demonic spirit who attaches itself to Quinn and makes all sorts of scary stuff happen. It’s not original and doesn’t pretend to be.

Instead trying to impress with story, Insidious 3 is all about the scares. It’s one frightening scenario after another for most of the tight 97-minute running time, with a crafty mix of creepy situations, hair-raising atmosphere and familiar “boo” moments to keep audiences on their toes. We’re not talking groundbreaking horror here, but what it does is at least skilful and gets the job done. The creation of that awful feeling of dread and helplessness as something terrible is coming towards you is executed especially well.

It helps that Lin Shaye is wonderful as always and Scott does a convincing scare face. Dermot Mulroney, who plays her dad, is at least not annoying, which he very well could have been.

As with previous Insidious films, this one goes off the rails a little as it nears the end and falls prey to modern horror tropes, but in all this is a prequel that is better than the sequel and one of the better generic horrors on the market.

3.25 stars out of 5