Tag Archives: Zackary Arthur

Mom and Dad (2018) Review

Time: 83 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1]
Cast:
Nicolas Cage as Brent Ryan
Selma Blair as Kendall Ryan
Anne Winters as Carly Ryan
Zackary Arthur as Josh Ryan
Robert T. Cunningham as Damon
Olivia Crocicchia as Riley
Brionne Davis as Tanner
Samantha Lemole as Jenna
Lance Henriksen as Mel Ryan
Director: Brian Taylor

Definitely something terrible is happening on in the peaceful suburban community as, one day to another, former loving and caring parents mysteriously turn into ravenous carriers of an unfathomable pandemic that targets their offspring. Suddenly, every son and daughter (not only in the neighborhood but also in the entire nation) must to run for their lives, as the rage-filled murderous intent is simply as unstoppable as it is inexplicable. Of course, Brent (Nicolas Cage) and Kendall’s (Selma Blair) teenage children are no exception, and before long, the simmering but usual familial tensions will take a completely different meaning. Kids, stop hiding. Mum and Dad love you so much.

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I was interested in Mom and Dad, mainly because its Nicolas Cage going absolutely crazy in a movie where he tries to kill his children, directed by one of the directors of Crank. It sounded absolutely nuts and I was on board with it. I wasn’t really sure what the actual movie would be like, I just knew Cage would be nuts and I heard that the movie is actually pretty good for the movie that it is, and that’s pretty much the case. Mom and Dad is an weird, insane darkly comic horror movie, which is quite entertaining and surprisingly works. Its two lead performances however are what makes it really work.

The first 20 minutes of the movie are setting up things before the whole “everyone tries to kill their children” epidemic happens. While the writing and dialogue can feel a little iffy, most of this is to establish the similarities between this situation and the troubled relationships between parents and kids. After that 20 minute mark though, that’s when the children murdering epidemic starts, and it doesn’t let up after that. There isn’t any clear explanation for why parents are killing their children, theories are thrown around and that’s it. That really worked for me personally, doesn’t overcomplicate the plot. The movie keeps things reasonably straightforward, the plot isn’t convoluted and the characters are really simple. The writing itself is basic enough but it works. The Crank movies at times can have some bad writing but for the most part you don’t see that in Mom and Dad (with the exception of one supporting character which was pretty much written to be a stereotype). Now it is worth noting that this is a dark comedy, because so much of what happens is so violent and over the top that it does much more than just border on hilarity, the humour is a big part of the movie. It’s not a straight up scary horror movie. It doesn’t take things too seriously but there is some subtext with the parents’ frustrations even before the epidemic starts, especially with flashbacks with Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair. While most movies (especially bigger movies) would have the parents be loving and all that before their rampage, they already establish them as being very unstable and not having the best of relationships with the children, which I think works well and makes it more effective. Mom and Dad is less than an hour and 30 minutes long and that really worked, there’s enough time to set up the characters and everything up before the epidemic starts, and after that point it’s entertaining right till the end. I will say though that a disappointing aspect was the ending. While I understand why they wanted to end on the note that they do, its rather abrupt and I wanted something a little more.

Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair are a big part of why this movie works. Sure the story concept sounds entertaining enough but it requires really convincingly unhinged performances to make it work, and they really brought it. They play both very convincing frustrated parents before the epidemic, as well as completely psychopathic parents who want to kill their children during the epidemic. Of course Nicolas Cage particularly stand out (as he would being Nicolas Cage), from the very beginning he’s crazy and has the movie goes on he just gets more and more crazy, and sometimes it can lead to some hilarious moments. I’m not going to reveal most of his big moments, but one of his stand out moments is when he screams the hokey pokey song while destroying a pool table with a sledgehammer. 2018 seems to be a comeback for Cage, with both this and Mandy. With that said, Selma Blair’s performance shouldn’t be overlooked either because she’s great as well. While Cage has a mix of being scary and funny, Blair comes across as being convincingly scary and unhinged. The kids of Cage and Blair played by Anne Winters and Zackary Arthur are okay, they serve their purposes well enough.

This movie is directed by Brian Taylor, who was involved with directing the Crank movies as well as Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance alongside Mark Neveldine, and if you have seen these movies, you’ll definitely pick that up watching Mom and Dad. Now there aren’t crazy stunts being done or anything, but he does bring the style from his previous movies here, with the editing, cinematography and all that. Some of the crazy and wild camera movements might be a little too much for some people (here it’s a little incomprehensible at times), but for those who have seen the Crank movies, it’s much more tame in comparison. This movie does not hold back at all, especially with the violence. It is brutal, and really ballsy considering much of the movie’s violence shown is against children. With that said it’s not nearly as bloody as you’d think it would be, I can’t tell whether it should’ve been more bloody or if the less is more approach was better. The music used can get a little repetitive and annoying, especially during the intense and violent scenes.

Mom and Dad is a completely nuts, darkly comedic horror movie, that’s simple but effective. The unhinged performances by Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair really make the movie work as well as it does. If you’re a big fan of Nicolas Cage, this is a must see movie. If you’re up for a darkly comic and over the top made by one of the directors of Crank, this might be right up your alley. Just know that if you are going to watch Mom and Dad, don’t take it too seriously.

The 5th Wave (2016) Review

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Time: 112 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence & offensive language
Cast:
Chloë Grace Moretz as Cassie Sullivan
Nick Robinson as Ben Parish/ “Zombie”
Ron Livingston as Oliver Sullivan
Maggie Siff as Lisa Sullivan
Alex Roe as Evan Walker
Maria Bello as Sergeant Reznik
Maika Monroe as Ringer
Zackary Arthur as Sam Sullivan
Liev Schreiber as Colonel Vosch
Director: J. Blakeson

The human race stands on the brink of extinction as a series of alien attacks decimate the planet, causing earthquakes, tsunamis and disease. Separated from her family, Ohio teenager Cassie Sullivan (Chloë Grace Moretz) will do whatever it takes to reunite with her brother Sam. Fate leads her to form an alliance with Evan Walker (Alex Roe), a mysterious young man who may be her last hope. Forced to trust each other, Cassie and Evan fight for survival during the fifth assault from the invaders.

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The 5th Wave is yet another Young Adult novel adaptation and as I predicted, it wasn’t really good. It definitely had potential with some of the cast and the premise but all of that is wasted. The film is full of generic characters, a boring story, weak plot points, and plenty of dated YA clichés. Which is unfortunate, because this film could’ve actually been good.

Chloë Grace Moretz and Alex Roe star in Columbia Pictures' "The 5th Wave."

This film has an interesting premise. However most of the potential is wasted. The start of the movie wasn’t great but it wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be. There was too much narration and exposition, but it above what I expected it to be. And then at a point, over time the movie just got worse and worse. This movie is a typical generic YA Adaptation, with things like love triangles thrown in for some reason. This movie is also kind of boring, there’s not much to get invested in, the characters are bland and 2 dimensional, the story is not investing, it’s hard to care about what’s going on. Many elements of the film are also underdeveloped, like the aliens, their motivation for attacking Earth isn’t that touched upon. Also, the way the film ended was rather underwhelming. I guess they are trying to set up sequels (hopefully they won’t actually happen).

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Chloe Grace Moretz in the past has shown that she is very talented. Here though she really doesn’t have much to work with. Her character, like everyone else, doesn’t have much characterisation and feel very basic and simple. And yes, there is a romance, this being between her and Alex Roe’s character. I’ll just say that out of all the YA novel adaptations that exist, this has got to be up there with one of the worst romances. There’s also sort of a love triangle that is set up with them and Nick Robinson’s character, which would probably continue into the next films (if they actually happen). The thing is that the characters are so poorly written that really no one in this movie looks good. Not even Liev Schreiber gets a chance to be good, he ended up being this generic army guy, saying and doing very clichés things.

Nick Robinson and Liev Schrieber in Columbia Pictures' "The 5th Wave," starring Chloë Grace Moretz.

As for the direction, it’s nothing special. The special effects aren’t really anything unique, it’s fine, really nothing great, nothing bad but also not very memorable. The way the third act ended was underwhelming and a part of that is the action sequences, they weren’t anything all that spectacular. They weren’t horrendous but you don’t really end up feeling that tense (though its probably because the writing doesn’t give you much to care about).

Ron Livingston, center left, and Chloë Grace Moretz, center right, and Zackary Arthur, below center, star in Columbia Pictures' "The 5th Wave."

I have no idea how accurate the movie is to the books but on it’s own, The 5th Wave is yet another failed YA Adaptation which wastes its potential, talent and premise. This movie tries to set up sequels and but I’m not sure if that will actually happen, given that most people really didn’t like this movie. It might be entertaining for some of the action scenes and just how clichéd and crazy some of the decisions were, but aside from that, this movie is not worth watching really.